Catch up on GZERO's coverage of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 78)
Scroll to the top

US immigration wars look ahead to 2024 election

Migrants stand near the border wall after having crossed into the US from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Migrants stand near the border wall after having crossed into the US from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

It's been a big week for US immigration politics.

First, the Department of Justice late Monday followed through on its threat to sue Texas if Gov. Greg Abbot refused to remove a controversial floating barrier along the Rio Grande. Then, on Tuesday, a federal judge in California struck down the Biden administration's new rules for asylum-seekers (yet also issued a stay and gave the government 14 days to appeal, so the policy remains in place until then).

If you're a Republican — particularly an immigration hawk — you probably think that President Joe Biden is weaponizing the DOJ to stop Texas from keeping undocumented migrants out and that a liberal California judge wants to toss a policy that has helped curb illegal border crossings. But if you're a Democrat, Abbott's wrecking ball-sized buoys are an inhumane gimmick that violates federal laws. And if you're a progressive Dem, Biden making it so hard for people to seek asylum in America is illegal and not the only reason arrivals have plummeted.

The battle lines are drawn ahead of the 2024 election. Although arrivals dropped with the demise of Title 42, expect this to be a major campaign issue since Americans still give the president a very low 32% approval rating on immigration. With Congress gridlocked and the Republican-led House targeting Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden hopes to escape a border crisis with his signature sticks-and-carrots approach to immigration: deter migrants from entering illegally but offer them a legal pathway for asylum.


Subscribe to GZERO's daily newsletter