Biden asked Congress to approve immigration reform to close the border with Mexico when it is “collapsed”

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The US president assured that the bill, the result of months of negotiations between conservative lawmakers and officials of his government, contains “the toughest and fairest reforms” to guarantee security

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, urged the Republicans in Congress on Friday to approve a bipartisan immigration control bill that would give him “a new emergency authority” to close the border with Mexico “when it is collapsed”.

In a statement, Biden assured that the bill, the result of two months of negotiations between conservative lawmakers and officials of his government, contains “the toughest and fairest reforms” to guarantee border security “that we have ever had in our country”.

“It would give me, as president, a new emergency authority to close the border when it is collapsed. And if I had that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill,” the president said.

Biden, who is running for re-election in November, urged the Republican Party to “take the border crisis seriously” and approve the bipartisan bill, while asking them to support the funds he requested to strengthen surveillance and processing of migrants.

Among the measures proposed by Biden are the hiring of 1,300 additional border patrol agents, 375 immigration judges, 1,600 asylum officials and more than 100 machines to detect fentanyl at the border.

Biden’s call came hours after the speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican Mike Johnson, warned that the immigration pact has no future in the lower house, where conservatives have a narrow majority.

“Since the day I became president, I have assured our colleagues in the Senate that the House would not accept any counterproposal if it did not really solve the problems created by the administration’s policies (on the border),” Johnson added.

The legislator reiterated that the solution to the border crisis is a bill that the Republicans in the House of Representatives passed last year and that makes it difficult to apply for asylum, resumes the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico and revives the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which forces those who seek to cross the border to wait in Mexican territory for the outcome of their procedures.

The senator from Oklahoma James Lankford, the main Republican negotiator in the border talks, has repeatedly urged lawmakers to refrain from making a final judgment on the bill until they receive the legislative text.

The US immigration authorities detained 302,034 migrants and asylum seekers at the southwest border in December, a record figure in the last three years, according to data published this Friday by the Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP).

The data for the month of December represent an increase of more than 20% compared to November, when the figure was close to 242,500 migrants under CBP custody.

The acting commissioner of CBP, Troy Miler, said in a statement that his agency continues to use all available resources to ensure border security. But he said they need support from the US Congress to approve more resources.

Given the high flow of migrants who arrived at the country’s southwest border in the last months of 2023, CBP was forced to reassign agents and suspend the process at several border port crossings in Texas, Arizona and California.

Source: Infobae