Biden Unveils Border Plan That Permits a Million Entries a Year

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A new executive order from President Joe Biden would allow nearly a million illegal border crossings per year at the U.S. southern border.

The order, framed as an effort to secure the border, would allow the government to turn away migrants seeking asylum, but only if the seven-day average of daily migrant encounters exceeds 2,500 per day between points of entry. Migrant arrests are currently averaging more than 4,000 per day, meaning the order is expected to immediately go into effect.

If border encounters were to stay below the daily average threshold of 2,500, the country could see up to 912,500 migrant encounters in a year without triggering the tougher border restrictions.

The order would be paused if border crossings were to drop to 1,500 or below per day for two weeks. The last time crossings dipped below this rate was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in July 2020.

The order also includes several exceptions to the crackdown, including for migrants who use the CBP One app to apply for asylum, as well as unaccompanied minors, victims of trafficking, and those who face "an acute medical emergency."

Biden’s order comes after months of failed negotiations on a bipartisan border security bill. In an address on Tuesday, Biden said the order was necessary to overcome "Republican obstruction."

"Frankly, I would have preferred to address this issue through bipartisan legislation, because that's the only way to get the kind of system we have now, that's broken, fixed," Biden said.

Republicans argued Biden’s executive action is still far too weak to contain the crisis.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) labeled it a "joke," while Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said it was "too little, too late."

"When he signs this executive order, the only question anyone should ask is why didn’t you do this in 2021? Why don’t you do this in 2022? Why didn’t you do this in 2023?" Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said.

Left-wing Democratic lawmakers also criticized the order on the grounds that it does not do enough to help illegal immigrants.

"What you need is more resources, more legal pathways, modernization of the system—none of those things are happening with this," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.) said.

"I'm disappointed that this is a direction that the President has decided to take. We think it needs to be paired with positive actions and protections for undocumented folks that have been here for a long time," Hispanic Caucus chair Nanette Barragán (D., Calif.) added.

Other vulnerable swing-state Democrats, such as Sens. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) and Jacky Rosen (D., Nev.), declined an invitation to appear at Biden’s Tuesday White House event announcing the new restrictions.