President Biden used his State of the Union address on Tuesday to double down on calls for Congress to approve a massive amnesty for illegal immigrants, while at the southern border The recent drop in numbers was mirrored by the historic highs seen during his administration. Met with cries from some Republicans to “secure the border.”
“Let’s also come together on immigration and make it a bipartisan issue once again,” he said.
The Biden administration has been rocked by the migrant crisis at the southern border, now entering its third year, with a record 2.3 million refugee arrivals and nearly 600,000 “getaways” in fiscal year 2022. A record 251,000 immigrants arrived in December alone.
Republicans have blasted the administration over the crisis, accusing it of rolling back Trump-era border security policies and immigration enforcement. But the administration has blamed the hemisphere-wide crisis and targeted Republicans for not agreeing to funding and reform measures proposed by the administration.
Live Updates: State of the Union Address 2023
On Tuesday, Biden cited an increase in Border Patrol staffing and an increase in fentanyl seizures at the border, which officials said were improving concerns.
“We now have a record number of officers working to secure the border, arresting 8,000 human traffickers and seizing more than 23,000 pounds of fentanyl in the past several months alone,” he said.
He also noted border measures introduced last month, which expanded the humanitarian parole program for Venezuelans to include Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua if they do not cross illegally. 30,000 per month if they do, have an existing sponsor in the US and fulfill other conditions.
The Title 42 exclusion was also expanded to include these nationalities.
Number of refugees fell to 150,000 in January, lowest since start of 2021: sources
Sources tell Fox News that there were about 150,000 matches in January, which would be the lowest number since February 2021.
“We launched a new border project last month, reducing illegal immigration from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela by 97 percent.”
But Biden repeated his previous calls for Congress to pass an immigration reform bill. The bill was unveiled on Biden’s first day in office in 2021. At the core of the bill is an eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in the U.S. before Jan. 1, 2021 — as well as immediate green card eligibility for farmworkers, Temporary Protected Status recipients, and some who came to the U.S. as minors, what activists call “Dreamers.”
The bill would also designate refugee processing sites in Central America, increase the number of immigration judges and open several additional avenues for legal immigration — including “recapture” of unused visas from previous years. , clearing the visa backlog, and increasing diversity. Lottery Visa Program. The legislation would also provide additional funding for border technology and expand anti-trafficking efforts in Central America.
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Republicans opposed the legislation because of its inclusion of amnesty for illegal immigrants, and it showed no sign of gaining Republican support — but the administration continued to push the bill.
Biden reiterated those calls on Tuesday, though he said he would accept a smaller plan — but one that would still include at least a partial amnesty and funding for the border.
“America’s border problems will not be solved until Congress acts. If we don’t pass our comprehensive immigration reform, at least pass my plan to provide equipment and officers to secure the border. And a path to citizenship for Dreamers. Temporary status, farm workers, and essential workers,” he said.
In response to the remarks, some Republicans were heard calling for “securing the border.” Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy appeared to silence the rowdy members.
Later in the address, Biden highlighted the fentanyl crisis that is killing tens of thousands of Americans every year. Officials have said that fentanyl is manufactured in Mexico with advance use from China and then transported across the land border to the United States.
“Fentanyl kills more than 70,000 Americans a year. Let’s take a major step forward to stop the production, sale and trafficking of fentanyl, with more drug detection machines to inspect cargo. Coin and bullets and powder can be stopped at the border,” Biden said before making the call. Cooperation with couriers and increased penalties for smuggling.
The mention of fentanyl prompted Republicans to shout, “It’s your fault,” and renewed calls from some Republicans to “secure the border.”
“You got it,” Biden said.
Fox News’ Bill Malugin contributed to this report.
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