Mar 12, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Menendez: Biden could be "asylum denier-in-chief" from family detention policy

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said Sunday that he fears President Biden could become the "asylum denier-in-chief" if he restarts a policy detaining families that illegally cross into the U.S.

The big picture: Menendez's remarks come after reports this week that Biden was considering reinstating the controversial policy, setting off criticism from some Democrats and immigration activists.

  • The possibility of restarting family detention has been discussed in recent high-level meetings, sources familiar with the conversations told Axios' Stef Kight.
  • "If the administration does go down this path, I am afraid that the president will become the asylum denier-in-chief," Menendez said on NBC News' Meet the Press.
  • Biden halted the policy in 2021, which Menendez said was "the best part of the administration's immigration policy over the first two years."

What he's saying: "What we need is a comprehensive plan to deal with the border and what are the elements, the push and pull factors, that bring people to this country," Menendez said.

  • "We need to find legal pathways so that people don't surge to the border because they are fleeing," he continued.
  • "We need to work with Central America and the Mexican government to also be part of the solution," he said.

Go deeper... Biden's immigration moves could put huge population in limbo

Go deeper