Joe Biden said he wants the authority to “shut down” the border, but current and former Department of Homeland Security officials are expressing concern about the president’s claims.
According to a report by NBC News, current DHS officials said Biden’s move was “strictly political” as he faced criticism from Republicans for his border policies.
In the past days, Biden has presented the idea of shutting down the U.S. – Mexico border as part of a deal in Congress that would unlock money for Ukraine.
“It’ll [the bill] also give me as president, the emergency authority to shut down the border until it could get back under control.” said Biden “If that bill were the law today, I’d shut down the border right now and fix it quickly.”
But the bill doesn’t actually give Biden the ability to completely shut down the border, since trade would continue and citizens and legal residents would be able to cross.
According to the Associated Press, the bill under consideration would give DHS the authority to “shut down” the border if more than 5,000 migrants cross illegally over a five-day average. Migrants would still be able to apply for asylum at ports of entry until crossings dropped below 3,750 per day.
Currently, the border sees as many as 10,000 crossings per day, and Border Patrol agents apprehend and process migrants, releasing about 85 percent of them in the U.S.
Mexico has also agreed to take back 30,000 Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Haitian and Cuban migrants per month.
“You can’t shove back 8,000 migrants a day without the Mexicans’ approval,” a former DHS official said. “What you would create is frantic surges in the weakened parts of the border.”
The other former DHS official said that some Customs and Border Protection officials are upset with Biden about shutting down the border because it could lead to more turmoil and not a solution.
“It seems to be strictly political,” the second former DHS official said. “CBP and Border Patrol are pretty upset at this point.”
Both officials said that Biden’s proposal is really similar to those measures during Trump’s Title 42, and that didn’t succeed.
Biden’s statement comes after he faced a wave of criticism over his border policies. Some have said that this bill is part of a political plan to gain more voters and secure the deal that would unlock more money for Ukraine.
The deal has been in the works for months, but now it’s starting to fall apart, largely because Trump said the bill would be a “gift” to Biden.
Senate negotiator James Lankford, R-Okla, said that after months of pushing the border security bill and pledging for a deal to get Ukraine aid, “when we’re finally getting to the end,” Republicans said at the end; “‘Oh, just kidding, I actually don’t want a change in law because of the presidential election year.’”