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Tags: joe biden | border security | immigration | trump | asylum

Biden to Governors: Executive Action on Border Possible

Friday, 23 February 2024 09:08 PM EST

President Joe Biden told the nation's governors on Friday that he's exploring what executive actions he can take to curb illegal immigration across the southern border after a bipartisan deal collapsed in Congress this month.

The president seemed to express frustration at the legal limits of his authority to act unilaterally.

Biden played host to members of the National Governors Association in the East Room of the White House, where he implored them to urge their representatives in Congress to resurrect the bipartisan proposal that collapsed. He also sharply criticized Republicans for backing away from the agreement after former President Donald Trump lobbied in opposition to the deal.

"Over time, our laws and our resources haven't kept up with our immigration system and it's broken," Biden told the governors, lamenting that "petty politics intervened" to kill the deal.

Later, during a private question-and-answer session with the governors, he indicated he was looking at what his options are for doing something by executive order.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, the Republican chair of the association, told reporters that Biden didn't specify what actions he is considering, but he said the president noted he was confronting the limits of what he can do without Congress.

"He did say that he has been working with his attorneys, trying to understand what executive action would be upheld in the courts and would be constitutional, and that he seemed a little frustrated that he was not getting answers from attorneys that he felt he could take the kind of actions that he wanted to," Cox said.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Democrat vice-chair of the group, said governors got a "general sense that they're looking into whatever they can do on the executive side. Again, keeping our expectations realistic, that's going to be more limited than a congressional solution."

Polis said Biden cited federal courts overruling some of Trump's immigration actions, and a desire to avoid a similar fate with any action he took.

"And so there was a frustration that that would occur under under his leadership as well, under any president, absent a change in the law," Polis said. "A lot of the steps we need to take simply aren't legal under current law."

Cox added Biden mentioned declaring an emergency at the border, which in theory could unlock additional federal funds that would be needed to execute any new border crackdowns.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to comment on the private conversations.

Among the actions under consideration by Biden is invoking authorities outlined in Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which gives a president broad leeway to block entry of certain immigrants into the U.S. if it would be "detrimental" to the national interest.

Trump, the likely GOP presidential candidate to face off against Biden in November, repeatedly leaned on the 212(f) power while in office, including his controversial ban on travelers from Muslim-majority nations. Biden rescinded that ban on his first day in office through executive order.

But as White House officials contemplate various unilateral options, they have faced resistance from Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys, who have been hesitant on greenlighting any executive actions on immigration that would promptly be blocked in court, according to two people familiar with the deliberations. The DOJ declined to comment.

For instance, Trump used the 212(f) authority to issue a directive that said migrants who arrive between ports of entry at the southern border would be rendered ineligible to seek asylum. But that was halted in the lower courts and the Supreme Court, with a 5-4 ruling, didn't revive Trump's proposed ban. Still, any similar challenge now could be different because one of the justices who ruled against Trump in the case, the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was replaced by Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


Newsfront
President Joe Biden told the nation's governors on Friday that he's exploring what executive actions he can take to curb illegal immigration across the southern border after a bipartisan deal collapsed in Congress this month.
joe biden, border security, immigration, trump, asylum
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2024-08-23
Friday, 23 February 2024 09:08 PM
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