Nov 30, 2022 - Podcasts

President Biden plans a border policy overhaul

Title 42 — the Trump-era public health policy that allows the U.S. to turn migrants away at the border — is set to end shortly before Christmas. Now, Axios has learned that the Biden administration is considering some drastic measures to replace it.

  • Plus, Democrats could change which states go first in the 2024 presidential primaries.
  • And, a big U.S. win at the World Cup.

Guests: Axios' Stef Kight and Josh Kraushaar.

Credits: Axios Today is produced by Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Alexandra Botti, Lydia McMullen-Laird, Amy Pedulla, Fonda Mwangi and Alex Sugiura. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at [email protected]. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

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NIALA: Good morning! Welcome to Axios Today!

It’s Wednesday, November 30th.

I’m Niala Boodhoo.

Here’s what we’re covering today: Democrats could change which states go first in the 2024 presidential primaries. Plus, a big U.S. win at the World Cup. But first: President Biden plans a border policy overhaul…that’s today’s One Big Thing.

NIALA: Title 42 is set to end shortly before Christmas. That's the Trump-era public health policy that allows the US to turn migrants away at the border. But the Biden administration is already considering some drastic measures to replace the policy Axios has learned. Stef Kight got the scoop last night and joins us now. Hey, Stef.


NIALA: So what kind of policies are the Biden administration considering to replace Title 42?

STEF: Well now that we're expecting the end of Title 42 just next month, you know, the administration is really looking for other ways to slow the number of people arriving at the border and ways to ensure that we can have a humane process when people do arrive at the border. And what's interesting is while they are looking at more legal pathways, including maybe expanding a program that they've started for Venezuelans that offers them parole while also pushing them back if they cross illegally. There are also a few policies that they're looking at that are very similar to Trump policies that were often criticized and very controversial at the time. One of those policies would be an asylum ban, essentially, which would refuse people access to asylum if they arrive at the border. And do not first try to come to the US through one of these legal pathways, or without trying to gain protection in one of the countries they've traveled through. Some of the details of that plan are still in flux, and this would likely start with, just being targeted at single adults crossing the border. The fact that the Biden administration is considering some of these approaches that include policies that would attempt to deter people from coming to the border at all, really is an indication of the Biden administration's desperation to really get a handle on the unprecedented level of migration at the US-Mexico border.

NIALA: Steph, you and I have talked about Title 42 quite a bit this year. Can you remind us what the situation at the border currently looks like and what the status of Title 42 is right now?

STEF: As of right now, title 42 is still being used by border officials to quickly expel migrants who illegally cross the US-Mexico border, that's still happening at very large numbers. Generally, the situation at the border has sort of remained unchanged from the past several months where we are seeing higher than usual numbers crossing or at least attempting to cross every month. And you know, some people have pointed to the fact that Title 42 and the ability for border officials to quickly turn back people has kind of added to these high numbers as people are trying to cross multiple times more frequently. Um, still we really are seeing unusually high numbers at the border that seems to indicate a shift in what the normal numbers are going to look like at the border moving forward.

NIALA: Are there nationalities that this is affecting more?

STEF: One thing that is very interesting about the trends at the border is the way we've seen demographics shift. You know, historically it's been a lot of Mexican nationals arriving at the border starting in around 2014, we saw a rise in Central American nationals coming to the border from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. But lately, we've increasingly seen higher percentages of people coming from even further away. And some of those places include Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti. And in particular, people coming from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba pose unique difficulties because it's very difficult for the US to return those people to their home countries because of the frosty diplomatic relationships between their governments and our government.

NIALA: All of this is happening as House Republicans are gearing up for investigations into how the administration has handled the border. What's the goal with that?

STEF: Yeah, Republicans have made it really clear that immigration is going to be a big focus for them when they do have control of the House even, you know, if those margins are very slim and slimmer than they anticipated. And you know, even minority leader McCarthy has made clear that Mayorkas himself, the DHS secretary will be a target of those investigations the issues at the border, the large numbers of people coming to the border and some of the chaos around, you know, agencies and resources being, stretched pretty thin has been a big political talking point for the right. So we can expect to see that to continue moving forward.

NIALA: Stef Kight covers immigration for Axios. Thanks Stef.

STEF: Thanks Niala.

NIALA: In a moment, why New Hampshire and Iowa could lose their coveted spots in the presidential nominating process.


Democrats could change which states go first in the 2024 presidential primaries

NIALA: Welcome back to Axios Today! I’m Niala Boodhoo.

Iowa and New Hampshire have traditionally been the first caucus and primary to pick a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. But a three day meeting of the DNC starting TOMORROW could completely change that - in a move party leaders are hoping will prioritize diversity.

Axios Senior Political Correspondent Josh Kraushaar is here with the big picture, Hey Josh!


NIALA: Josh, why is changing the primary calendar such a big deal?

JOSH: Well, look, the rules, in which both parties set the process, can have a large impact on the nominees come 2024. And look, if President Biden runs again, this may not be quite as significant, but if we have a wide open, Democratic primary, the rules and bylaws committee of the DNC makes really is gonna dictate the process and could benefit some candidates over others.

NIALA: So how does that process look now?

JOSH: I think our listeners will be familiar with sort of the traditional first in the nation, Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire, and a little more recently we've had Nevada and South Carolina in that early state mix. But, what we're gonna likely see, with this meeting and some changes potentially to the process is that Iowa's gonna lose a lot of power, lose a lot of influence, especially after what was a very chaotic 2020 presidential caucus. We don't know if Iowa's gonna have any role at all. But, you know, Iowa is probably gonna be the biggest loser from the DNC's meeting. And then the bigger question or the more significant question that still hasn't been answered is New Hampshire versus Nevada. New Hampshire has treasured its status as the first in the nation primary, but Nevada is a more racially diverse state, and it's a state that is probably one of the biggest battlegrounds, especially after looking at the 2022 midterm results in the entire country. So they're making a very, very aggressive push to be the first primary in the country. If Nevada ends up supplanting New Hampshire, there'll be a lot of angry New Hampshire voters that have treasured this decades long position as the first in the nation primary.

NIALA: When I was in Las Vegas this summer, I know talking to the culinary union folks, this is something that they were very interested in. Why is it so important to be first?

JOSH: Look, you set the tone for the entire nominating process. Now, Niala, in reality, a lot like Iowa, doesn't have the greatest track record of picking presidents. It didn't support Bill Clinton into the ‘90s. We don't even know who won the Iowa caucuses, but it certainly wasn't Joe Biden in 2020. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney struggled badly in 2012. There are plenty of examples where the first of the nation caucus isn't representative of a larger party interest, but it does set the tone.

NIALA: Are Republicans talking about similar changes?

JOSH: Well, Republicans are not. They are, as things currently stand, gonna keep Iowa as the first in the nation caucus. And, this has become a very partisan process, where Nevada has the opportunity to an early state primary because a Democratic controlled legislature was able to change the state's caucuses to become a primary system. So, you could have a situation in 2024 where Democrats have a different group of states that hold the early primaries than the Republicans.

NIALA: Josh Kraushaar is Axios’ Senior Political Correspondent. Thanks, Josh.

JOSH: Thanks Niala.

A big U.S. win at the World Cup

NIALA: President Biden was on the road in Michigan yesterday, talking about his plan to create jobs and grow the economy. After he spoke to a crowd in Freeland, he made a surprise return trip to the mic for a special announcement…about the World Cup.

JOE BIDEN: USA, USA. That's a big game, man. Well, I spoke to the coach and the players. I said, you can do this. They went, ah, they're gonna, they did it. God love ‘em.

NIALA: The United States delivered a major win beating Iran, 1-0. Here’s forward Tim Weah after the game on Fox, he called it a “beautiful day.”

TIM WEAH: You know, I always say it's US against the world cause no one believed that US can play good football and you know, we're just here trying to show the world.

NIALA: The US men's soccer team is now headed to the next phase of the tournament, which is sudden death. They’ve got a rough road ahead though - against the Netherlands on Saturday.

That’s it for us today! Remember to leave us a review on Apple and tell your friends about Axios Today – and you can always text me and the team at (202) 918-4893 with questions, comments, and story ideas.

I’m Niala Boodhoo - thanks for listening - stay safe and we’ll see you back here tomorrow morning.

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