President Joe Biden’s administration is confident of its immigration policies as Republicans push back on them and a new poll shows a majority of Americans disapprove of how the border crisis is being handled.
Ninety-six percent of Democrats, 62% of Independents and 23% of Republicans said they approve of Biden’s work so far, an Associated Press–NORC poll released Monday shows. His overall approval is up 2% from an AP poll released in March with a 63% rating.
While these numbers were positive, Biden’s polling for his handling on the immigration crisis showed a far different result. Overall, 43% of those polled approve of Biden’s handling of this issue and 54% disapprove. Among Republicans, a whopping 87% disapprove of his handling and just 11% approve. Independents largely voiced disapproval as well, with 55% disapproving and 41% approving.
Despite these low approval numbers on immigration, the administration is continuing to back its policies and efforts at the border. A White House spokesperson told the Daily Caller that the president is pushing an immigration system that echoes what the American public wants.
The spokesperson said that the administration still has a ways to go in solving the issues, but cited examples of progress as a reason for positivity. The White House, in defending its border policies, has often turned on former President Donald Trump’s administration as reason for some of the ongoing challenges. When Biden took office, for example, he pushed to end a Trump-era policy on family separations and began the process to reunite some families as of May 2021.
Multiple Republican lawmakers told the Caller they aren’t surprised by the Biden administration’s struggling numbers on this issue.
“The American people agree that there is a crisis at our southern border, which President Biden refuses to admit. Illegal immigrants are flooding into the United States because of Biden’s open border policy,” Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn said.
Republican Sens. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, John Thune of South Dakota and Dan Sullivan of Alaska echoed Blackburn’s lack of surprise.
“Having recently seen the border crisis firsthand – a crisis of this administration’s own making – I’m not surprised that a majority of voters disapprove of the president’s handling of this issue. The Biden administration’s actions ignited a growing humanitarian nightmare on our southern border, and as long as they continue to implement policies that give the impression of an open, porous border, people are going to keep flooding into our country,” Thune said.
“While President Biden may still be enjoying a honeymoon period on many issues, Americans are beginning to see clearly that Democrats have caused a total catastrophe on the southwest border,” Republican Georgia Rep. Jody Hice told the Caller. “I’ve been to the border many times over the years, but my most recent visit last week was absolutely shocking. I have never seen the border in such a state of chaos, and the American people know that Joe Biden is entirely to blame for this fiasco.”
Like the White House, many Republicans cited Trump’s policies in discussing the border crisis with the Caller. Republicans, however, say the opposite, accusing Biden of worsening immigration by undoing policies from the previous administration.
“Under the previous administration, we found a workable solution to our border problems, working with the Mexican government to process asylum seekers in Mexico, while building a border wall to disrupt drug smuggling and human trafficking by violent cartels,” Lummis said, calling for the president to reinstate some of Trump’s policies. “Under President Biden, we are undoing all of that hard work. President Biden’s rhetoric and executive actions are sending a message to cartels and migrants that you don’t have to follow the law, because we aren’t going to enforce it.”
Republican Montana Sen. Steve Daines suggested that Biden has “single-handedly created the crisis at our southern border by reversing President Trump’s immigration policies.” Republican Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty told the Caller he also believes “the border crisis is a crisis of the Biden administration’s own making,” referring to the president’s policies as a “knee-jerk desire to reverse” laws from Trump.
“Rather than a strategy to solve the crisis on the border, the administration is implementing a messaging strategy to avoid responsibility. It’s clearly not working and the crisis is getting worse,” Republican Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said.
Some Republicans said they’re willing to work with the new administration – an effort Biden has consistently pushed towards — to find a viable solution.
“There is a crisis at the border, and the policies of the Biden administration helped make it worse,” Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn said. “On something as important as this, it seems like a logical area for Republicans and Democrats to work together to try to take steps to address this crisis. I hope the president will work with us and be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
Sullivan said he and other Republicans are ready to work with the administration on addressing the issues. But many seemed frustrated at what they believe is a lack of response from the president and those in charge of the border crisis — a common theme among Republicans that the Caller spoke with.
Americans understand that the Biden administration created this crisis through its words and actions. The ongoing surge at our border puts not only migrants at risk, but also the hard-working Americans tasked with protecting our citizens and borders,” Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said. “President Biden and Vice President Harris seem more interested in empty rhetoric than taking action to stop this raging crisis.”
The White House spokesperson said data indicates the administration’s efforts are working and aides, like White House press secretary Jen Psaki, have recently begun to note the decrease in unaccompanied minors being held at Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities.
While less children are being housed in CBP facilities, more have been transferred to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facilities, according to April 29 data from the agency. The number of unaccompanied minors in these facilities increased 89.9% in one month while minors held by the CBP decreased by 83.4%. (RELATED: Number Of Migrant Children Detained In HHS Facilities Nearly Doubled In April)
The administration has also pointed towards ending the Muslim ban and canceling contracts rerouted from the military for wall construction as among the positive efforts in creating what it has described as a more humane border policy system.