Joe Biden Faces Setback on Border Policy

Public discontent grows over U.S. immigration policy challenges

by Zain ul Abedin
Joe Biden Faces Setback on Border Policy
© Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Recent polling reveals growing concern among Americans about border security, a pivotal issue as the nation heads toward the presidential election. A new poll conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for Newsweek indicates a significant drop in confidence in the U.S.

government's control over its borders, highlighting challenges for President Biden as he seeks re-election amid intensified political debate over immigration policies. According to the survey, conducted on April 11, 2023, only 20% of eligible voters believe the U.S.

maintains control over its borders - a sharp decline from 34% in August 2023. This perception could bolster former President Donald Trump’s campaign, as he has consistently emphasized strict border control as a cornerstone of his platform.

The issue of immigration has increasingly polarized the electorate, with U.S. Customs and Border Protection reporting nearly 10 million migrant encounters from October 2019 to January 2024. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, underscored the issue on April 12, revealing that over half a million suspected undocumented migrants have been detained in Texas since 2021 under Operation Lone Star, his initiative aimed at curbing illegal crossings.

The poll results are stark: 63% of respondents do not believe the U.S. controls its borders, including 53% of those who voted for Biden in 2020. Dissatisfaction spans across all surveyed age groups, particularly Generation X, born between 1997 and 2002, 47% of whom also expressed concern over border control.

Immigration Reform Stalled

A growing dissatisfaction matches this shift in public opinion with the government's approach to illegal immigration; 52% of voters are dissatisfied with current measures. The data reflects a critical challenge for the Biden administration, which has faced setbacks in legislative attempts to address immigration issues comprehensively.

For instance, a significant $118 billion bipartisan bill intended to enhance border security and provide international aid was stalled in the House earlier this year. Experts like Thomas Gift from University College London suggest that immigration will dominate the upcoming election.

Gift notes that the failed immigration bill not only illustrates the legislative gridlock in Washington but also elevates the issue’s importance among voters. A recent Gallup poll supports this, showing that 28% of Americans now regard immigration as the nation’s most pressing problem - a substantial increase from previous figures.

Amidst this backdrop, the Supreme Court’s January decision, which affected Texas's border measures, and the support from Republican governors for Abbott’s stance, continue to fuel the debate. As political tensions escalate, the administration faces increasing pressure to articulate a clear and effective strategy for managing immigration and securing the borders. This task remains a top priority for a deeply divided America.

Joe Biden