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Biden continues to attack Trump for border policy that he is considering supporting: Report

By Sarah May
|
March 13, 2023

Recent reports suggest that the White House is considering reinstating a migrant family detention protocol to manage surging arrivals at the southern border, despite administration officials having long derided former President Donald Trump for implementing very the same practice, as the New York Post reports.

At issue is reporting from the New York Times indicating that the president is weighing the possibility of resuming detention of migrant families who come across the border illegally, a prospect that would represent a significant reversal in both policy and rhetoric for the Biden administration.

Biden considers reversal

According to the Times, Biden halted family detentions back in 2021 during a flurry of actions designed to put as much distance from himself and Trump on matters including immigration.

However, with the logistical realities likely to follow the administration's decision to end the Title 42 program that facilitated swift deportation of border crossers in roughly two months, the president is having to reconsider the move.

As such, the Times revealed that a number of high-ranking administration officials have been meeting to come up with methods of thwarting an influx of new arrivals, and family detention for a period of up to 20 days is among the ideas on the table.

Even so, the Department of Homeland Security maintains that no final determinations have been made, saying, “The administration will continue to prioritize safe, orderly and humane processing of migrants.”

Pro-migrant advocates cry foul

Relations between the Biden administration and pro-migrant advocates have been strained for some time, and the suggestion that family detention may make a return has only exacerbated those sentiments, according to The Hill.

Immigration attorney Leecia Welch declared the very idea of a resumption of family detention to be “heartbreaking,” as the Times noted.

“Ending the inhumane practice of family detention has been one of the only positive immigration policy decisions of the Biden administration,” Welch added.

Anthony Romero of the American Civil Liberties Union stated, as The Hill noted, “How we choose to respond to the children and families fleeing violence and persecution who come to our border seeking safety says a lot about who we are as a nation. Putting children and their parents behind barbed wire to deter them from seeking safety should shock the conscience of every American who believes in fairness, safety, and basic human dignity for all people.”

Democrats sound alarm

It is not just immigration activists who are upset with recent reporting about migrant detention, with a number of prominent lawmakers on the left voicing their disagreement with the notion.

“I'm alarmed by news reports that the administration is considering reinstating family detention policies,” said Democrat Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS-02). “Not only are these policies cruel and harmful to children, but they don't prevent families from traveling to the United States.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) expressed frustration about the proposal in general but also specifically with the fact that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus had to date not been consulted by the administration about the possibility of reinstating family detention.

“The lack of communication in immigration related policy decisions is an insult. It would be like making civil rights legislative ideas and thoughts without checking with the Congressional Black Caucus. It's not acceptable.”

Trump blamed for Obama-era rules

Another voice critical of the president's rumored deliberations is Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director of the National Immigrant Justice Center, who said, “The Biden administration has been rolling out Trump 2.0 policies for many months now. These cruel and inhumane policies are becoming this administration's legacy.”

However, as the Times itself noted in its reporting on Biden's contemplated move, use of the controversial policy actually gained steam during the Obama administration and was subsequently carried over by Trump.

Regardless of how heavily Biden campaigned in 2020 on the supposed need to roll back what he characterized as a Trump initiative, it now appears that the realities of unchecked migration and their impact on overwhelmed border communities have forced a reassessment of a policy employed at scale during his own vice-presidential tenure.

However, as Andrew Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies suggests, when it comes to Biden's position as a candidate or the stance now held by congressional Democrats and pro-migrant advocates, “deriding President Obama doesn't carry the same cachet among the smart set as using 'Trump-era' as an epithet.”