Chaos Amid Further Polarization Unfolds in the US Congress over Border Security
As US Congressional history suggests, Republicans and Democrats have continued to degrade and downplay their rivals for political gain.
In a US Congress which is already divided on partisan lines, further chaos unfolded on the subject of border security. Senate Republicans with their conservative, myopic worldview have resisted advancing a bipartisan proposal tabled by the Biden administration which seeks to clamp down on illegal border crossings from the border with Mexico. Such resistance prompted President Joe Biden to seek executive action to deter illegal border migration yet the question on border security remains- why have Republicans chosen to thwart a proposal which they have long advocated for and what purpose does it serve?
For skeptics, the answer is a clear one. On national security, the Republicans have opted for political wrangling and point-scoring instead of principle. US far-right neo-cons led by Donald Trump went against Senate negotiators who had otherwise sought to placate skeptics of the Border Security Bill and released the text of the proposal, claimed that the border policy proposal is grossly insufficient. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell failed to move forward with his conference to support a $118 billion package of border enforcement policy, funding for Ukraine, and aid to the Zionist regime in "Israel" and other American allies across the world. This Trump surge indicates how American US policymaking continues to be hijacked by spoilers in the Republican party and neo-cons which have opted to defang the Biden administration and push their bigoted agendas instead. This chaos is also indicative of where US politics is headed.
As US Congressional history suggests, Republicans and Democrats have continued to degrade and downplay their rivals for political gain. For the Trump faction of the GOP, this Border Security proposal became an ideal opportunity to rob Joe Biden of his weak Presidential standing among the American people. For American nationalists, both on the left and the right, the proposal to add $20 billion in additional enforcement on the US border with Mexico is ideal and fits in perfectly with Trump’s rallying cry of ‘building the wall’ during his campaign promises and presidential statements. Yet in this case, Congressional politics is more about seeking electoral gains rather than religiously adhering to party stances.
For the Pro-Trump Republicans, this was all about vociferously denouncing the proposal as not ‘hard enough’ and pointing at how Joe Biden previously loosened restrictions on migrants which otherwise required migrants and asylum seekers to wait in Mexico prior to the processing of their applications. Republican opposition to the bill is also directed at Biden’s lenient policies allowing migrants to enter the United States legally due to humanitarian reasons. All this points at a clear strategy to strip off Biden of any potential electoral gains in the upcoming 2024 elections and damage his credibility in the eyes of the American electorate.
The Republicans have essentially linked American national security with Biden’s potential bipartisan victory in the upcoming elections of which the latter has to be prevented at all costs. This explains why Majority Leader in the House of Representatives Steven Scalise who takes decisions on when the House votes, decided to not bring the Biden administration’s proposal to the floor. Similarly, House Speaker Mike Johnson stated that the bill is ‘dead on arrival’ if it ever makes it to the House. Such views eclipse those of Mitch McConnell who has been pushing for negotiations over the proposal but has been prevented by his fellow Republicans without the latter examining the details of the bill.
This chaos is ironic as the subject of immigration remains a major consideration for voters on both sides of the aisle in the United States particularly as underemployment reaches alarming levels in 2024. The influx of migrants which are fleeing persecution, drug cartels and violence remains a political talking point for the average American and is a frequent subject for Congressional bickering. What cannot be denied however, is that Mitch McConnell sought to include border security in the overall American national security funding package yet Democrats were quick to seize on this in 2024 by embracing the idea of stricter border enforcement. However, by picking up on Biden’s vulnerabilities, the neo-cons in the GOP are seeking to exploit the President’s declining approval rates and his controversial foreign policy to cement themselves as frontrunners under the Trump administration.
Yet, those who are critical of the Biden administration would argue that the chaos in the US Congress on border security is of his own doing. By the end of 2023, Biden’s approval rating stood at a dismal 37.7% which is the lowest of his predecessors since Harry Truman in 1948. Part of his unpopularity is his administration’s relentless military aid spending including bypassing Congress in late 2023 on $147. 5 million of weapons sales to "Israel". His lack of acumen in addressing some of America’s most pressing economic challenges has also threatened his position. On the other hand, Trump’s rise despite legal challenges presents an existential challenge to the Biden administration.
For immigrants and asylum seekers, this latest political fiasco will have long term implications. For those fleeing violence, poverty and crime in Mexico, contending with draconian policies from both the Democrats in power and the Republicans which are possibly in waiting, is now a reality. The chaos in the US Congress however, is reflective of a mindset of opportunism and rivalry. This is not a recipe for successful policy making.