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IN FOCUS - June 7, 2024

The border will be on the ballot in November.


On Tuesday, by a party-line vote, legislative Republicans approved referral of the Secure Border Act, which is modeled after a Texas law currently tied up by court challenges. If approved by voters and cleared by the courts, the proposal would make illegal immigration a state-level crime and empower state and local police to make arrests in certain circumstances.


Also on Tuesday, President Biden issued an executive order to stem a surge in illegal crossings. Biden’s order closes the border and prohibits anyone from crossing illegally to seek asylum if the number of crossings has exceeded an average of 2,500/day for seven consecutive days. Record-breaking illegal crossings under the Biden administration have surpassed that level for many months.


That the legislative referral and presidential EO came almost simultaneously is telling - not just of the political potency of illegal immigration during this election year, but also the President’s acknowledged vulnerability on the issue.


Biden hopes his executive action will slow the number of migrants traveling to the border and drive the issue from the headlines before the election. It is a balancing act, however, as he takes heat from open-borders advocates on the Left and critics on the Right who say his order is too little, too late.


Additionally, the order gives credence to something Republicans argued all along - that the administration had authority to act … with or without legislation.


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