President Joe Biden speaks at Earth Rider Brewery, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, in Superior, Wis.

Joe Biden vows to ‘shut down US-Mexico border’ if Congress OKs bill

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President Joe Biden vowed to take immediate action to “shut down” the U.S.-Mexico border if Congress approves a proposal under negotiation in the Senate as he urged lawmakers to pass a bipartisan bill “if they’re serious about the border crisis.”

Biden, in a statement released Friday night, said what’s being negotiated in the Senate would be “the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve ever had in our country.”

He said the proposal would include new presidential authority to “shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed.”

“And if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law,” Biden said.

Biden’s statement sought to save a bipartisan border deal on the verge of collapse after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., acknowledged privately to other Republican senators this week that opposition from former President Donald Trump − the 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner − puts the party in a dilemma.

The demise of a bipartisan border deal would deny Joe Biden the chance to claim a victory in addressing surging migration at the southern border − a topic that Republicans have hammered Biden over throughout his presidency.

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Donald Trump reiterated his opposition to a border deal in a Saturday morning post on his social media website Truth Social.


In an unusually blunt assessment last week, Biden told reporters the border is not secure amid record surges in migration, calling for “significant policy changes” with the asylum system and executive authorities to control the border.

Biden is seeking a deal for a $110 billion supplemental spending package in Congress that would include border measures to bring Republicans on board to back more funding to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia.

Under the package discussed in the Senate, the Department of Homeland Security would be granted the power to shut the border down when migrants seeking to cross without prior authorization exceed a daily average of 4,000 over a one-week period, CNN and other media outlets reported.

And if migrant border crossings surpass an average of 5,000 a day, the Department of Homeland Security would be required to close the border to migrants crossing illegally and not at ports of entry. According to CNN, certain migrants would be allowed to remain in the U.S. under the proposal if they are fleeing torture or persecution in their countries.

“Securing the border through these negotiations is a win for America,” Biden said in his Friday statement. “For everyone who is demanding tougher border control, this is the way to do it. If you’re serious about the border crisis, pass a bipartisan bill and I will sign it.”

Yet even if an agreement is reached in the Senate, any proposal would likely face Republican resistance in the House.

Speaker Mike Johnson, who said he has spoken to Trump regularly about border talks, warned in a letter Friday that a Senate bipartisan border and immigration deal is likely “dead on arrival” in the House. And on Saturday, Johnson released a statement arguing that Biden can stop migration without Congress’ help: “He can and must take executive action immediately to reverse the catastrophe he has created.”

Johnson reiterated the Democratic-controlled Senate should take up the House’s strict, hardline border and migrant policy bill passed last year, referred to as H.R. 2. He said the measure already “contains the core legislative reforms that are necessary to actually compel the Biden Administration to resolve the border catastrophe.”


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