President Joe Biden, who overturned seventeen executive orders through executive orders on his first day alone, claims he lacks the power to close the border. By spring 2021, he had used his pen to overturn 21 of Trump’s executive orders. But Biden has claimed that he lacks the authority to stem the influx of illegals into the nation.
As President, he is constitutionally required to do so. The Constitution grants the president the responsibility to ensure that laws are faithfully executed, implying that he has the authority to enforce existing laws on immigration and border security.
Congress has entrusted the president with certain powers through statutes like the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which regulates the admission, removal, and status of non-U.S. citizens. The INA empowers the president to suspend the entry of any class of aliens if it’s deemed detrimental to the national interest. Historically, presidents have used this provision to impose travel bans or restrictions.
The president’s role as commander-in-chief further allows him to deploy troops or resources to the border for national security, subject to limitations set by the Posse Comitatus Act, which restricts military involvement in domestic law enforcement without congressional authorization.
Furthermore, the president can issue executive orders, which carry the force of law, to implement or adjust immigration and border security policies. This is how former President Donald Trump accomplished his successful border policies despite a contentious Congress.
There are two significant flaws in Biden’s claim that he is powerless. The same pen he used to overturn former President Trump’s highly effective border control executive orders can reinstate them. And notably, the pen was used to thwart a SCOTUS decision regarding student loan “forgiveness,” something widely regarded as outside the president’s scope of authority.
During his presidency, Trump used the power of the pen to enact several executive orders to tighten border security and boost existing laws. One significant order, Executive Order 13767, mandated the immediate construction of the border wall and authorized the recruitment of additional border patrol agents, the expansion of detention facilities, and the reinforcement of immigration enforcement.
That same day, Trump signed Executive Order 13768, which authorized the removal of undocumented immigrants with criminal backgrounds or posing public safety while threatening to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities that declined cooperation with immigration authorities. Another directive, Executive Order 13815, revamped the refugee admissions program and imposed stricter measures on refugees from certain countries.
And, contrary to Democrat’s “caged children and separated families” argument, Trump signed Executive Order 13841 to halt the separation of families at the border, reversing the zero-tolerance policy that prosecuted all illegal border crossers. The order instructed the Department of Homeland Security to keep families together, except in cases where separation was deemed necessary for the child’s welfare.
Now, unnamed officials from the Biden administration have revealed that the President has suddenly remembered that he has a mighty pen at his disposal and is considering taking executive action to address illegal migration at the southern border.
While critics feel that the potential executive action may not have as significant an impact on border security as a congressional bill would, officials stress that “taking no action is not an option,” describing the proposed executive measures as a backup plan.
But Biden’s backup plan does nothing to deter illegal immigrants at the border and benefits those who already snuck across. Some of the laughable proposals include alternatives to detention, such as ankle monitors and community support, for migrants awaiting immigration hearings. Additionally, the plan involves increasing the number of immigration judges and asylum officers to expedite asylum claims processing, fast-tracking the pathway to citizenship.
The order will tackle migration’s “root causes,” like violence and poverty within the countries that illegals are fleeing. Meanwhile, there would be an increased focus on enhancing border facilities, including improving health, hygiene, and safety services while upholding “human rights and legal obligations.”
Biden has been hesitant to use the power of his pen, not because he lacks the authority to do so, but because he fears the backlash against his already tanking re-election campaign. If Biden grabs the pen, it won’t be to sign an Executive Order deterring illegal immigration. It will be to draw a welcome sign for illegal immigrants worldwide.