Jan 8, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Border Dem says Biden policies a "Band-Aid," urges Congress to act

President Biden's efforts to alleviate the border crisis are "just temporary Band-Aids," Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, emphasizing that the situation needs to be addressed via legislation from Congress.

Why it matters: Escobar's remarks come as Biden is set to make his first visit to the border on Sunday.

Driving the news: Last week, Biden unveiled a new policy intended to curb illegal border crossings.

  • The new policy leverages the pandemic-era border policy Title 42 to limit migrants' ability to qualify for asylum at the southern border if they didn't first pursue legal pathways before attempting to enter the U.S. and would allow up to 30,000 migrants to be rapidly expelled each month.
  • The policy also allows up to 30,000 migrants to enter the U.S. per month via humanitarian parole. Applicants must apply from their cellphone, have a U.S. sponsor and go through a vetting process.
  • Last month, the Supreme Court forced the Biden administration to continue Title 42, which allowed for the immediate expulsion of some migrants, while legal challenges unfold.

What they're saying: "The administration, in the absence of any legislation from Congress, has very few tools available. I'm a staunch opponent of Title 42," Escobar said, saying the controversial border policy had driven up encounter numbers and human trafficking at the border.

  • Because Title 42 has been kept in place for the time being, the Biden administration cannot switch to the policy it used before it, called Title Eight, which Escobar described as "much more punitive."
  • "All of these executive branch efforts really are just temporary Band-Aids, whether it's Title Eight, whether it's Title 42, if we need to make sure that Congress acts."

The big picture: While the "vast majority of refugees" arriving at the border do have cellphones, Escobar said, more State Department outreach and education are needed to reach those without cellphones and ensure that migrants understand what the asylum process is.

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