The Border Is a Hot Spot

To appeal to Republicans, Biden has proposed a $13.6 billion budget to increase security on the border with Mexico.

The situation on the border between the United States and Mexico is one of the hot spots in U.S. domestic politics, as well as for the Mexican government.

The candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have made border security a priority and have raised the possibility of deploying the military, including special forces, to fight drug cartels in Mexico.

At the same time, there is a legislative fight over the budget and the military aid that President Joe Biden is seeking for Ukraine, with $61.4 billion allocated to Ukraine and $14 billion to Israel. To appeal to Republicans, Biden has requested an additional $13.6 billion to increase security on the border with Mexico. But the price the Republicans are now demanding goes far beyond spending, implying the possibility of policy change, particularly with reference to the asylum policy.

A summary of the issue shows that Republicans want the Department of Homeland Security to renew construction of the border wall in the Southwest, increase the salaries of Border Patrol agents, reform the country’s asylum laws, crack down on the humanitarian conditional release of illegal immigrants and deny asylum to immigrants who cross safe third countries before arriving in the U.S.

In an address to the nation a month ago, Biden pushed for aid to Ukraine and Israel and mentioned the border enhancement measures. In connection with this, the administration announced that it would waive more than 20 regulations to move forward with the construction of 32 kilometers (20 miles) of the planned border wall in Texas.

Biden’s request to Congress for funding includes funding for 1,300 additional Border Patrol agents and for more than 100 Non-Intrusive Inspection Systems to detect fentanyl.

For the Republicans, however, this is just the beginning. It appears that their objective is to create an image of a weak and incapable Biden by highlighting the problems at the border. The Republicans blame these problems on the Mexican drug cartels and their impact in the U.S. through deaths caused by the illegal fentanyl trade and its presumed influence on human trafficking.

Some interpret this to mean that President Biden probably will accept some changes to current asylum policies to bring them more in line with the Republicans’ more restrictive proposals. However, Republican policies focus more on the number of agents and arrests and the huge delays in processing asylum petitions.

The reality is that border security and immigration will be important issues, if not the primary issues, in the Republican primaries and during the first half of 2024, and one of the hallmarks of their U.S. presidential campaign next year.

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