Biden Begins To Lean Moderate on Immigration

A court ruling requires the Biden administration to detain migrants at the border, but it’s reportedly considering a detainment policy anyway.

By Hudson Crozier

Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that President Joe Biden’s policy of finding “alternatives to detention” for illegal border crossers violates the law. The ruling requires the Biden administration to detain migrants at the border with rare exceptions. The government has one week to appeal before it takes effect.

Why it matters: The Biden administration is overwhelmed at the southern border. Even with the pandemic-era Title 42 rule still in place, the administration has only expelled around 328,000 of the more than one million migrants encountered at the border in fiscal year 2023. As Title 42 is set to expire in May, the administration is already considering a return to mass detainments rather than allowing so many illegal aliens into the country.

Still, Biden continues to pour hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into nonprofit legal services for illegal immigrants to avoid deportation. This accounts for most of his border-related spending.

2024 analysis

Big picture: The president has slowly become stricter on border security through policies such as asylum and parole programs. Detaining migrants would be his largest shift yet as Biden once condemned former President Donald Trump for doing the same, and Democrats aren’t happy about it. By shifting his support to a stronger border, Biden is positioning himself as a moderate ahead of the 2024 election.

The GOP primary: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who will likely run against Trump in 2024, has been emphasizing “Biden’s border crisis” in his rhetoric and legislative plans. Yesterday’s court ruling was the result of a lawsuit by Florida’s attorney general, and DeSantis capitalized on the victory as “another example of Florida holding this administration accountable.” DeSantis is attempting to build a reputation as an advocate of strong borders as the 2024 GOP primary looms.

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