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15 Democrats in the House of Representatives are calling on Biden to take cross-border action

15 Democrats in the House of Representatives are calling on Biden to take cross-border action

A group of House Democrats facing a difficult campaign cycle have called on President Biden to take executive action on the United States’ border with Mexico.

The lawmakers from Minnesota, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Michigan, among others, urged Biden in a letter first obtained by CBS News to “take further immediate action to restore order at the southern border and fix the broken immigration system.”

Mr. Biden has faced harsh criticism from Republicans and some within his own party over his approach to immigration and the border ahead of November’s general election. That dynamic is playing out as Biden faces former President Donald Trump, his presumptive Republican challenger, for another term.

In April, CBS News polls from three presidential battleground states (Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) showed that a majority of likely voters consider the U.S.-Mexico border an important factor in their vote for president.

Angelo Fernández Hernández, a White House spokesman, responded to the letter in an email, saying that “Republicans in Congress chose to put party politics above our national security, rejecting what border agents said they needed. ”

“We continue to call on Chairman Johnson and House Republicans to approve the bipartisan agreement to secure the border,” Hernández said, despite clear opposition from Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson on the deal.

Yet the collapse of a bipartisan border agreement in the Senate earlier this year offered Democrats an opportunity to counter long-standing attacks by the Republican Party on the issue.

The new letter, led by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Angie Craig, points to Republicans’ torpedoing of that deal as a sign that Biden must take action himself.

“It has become clear that the current situation remains untenable, but with Republicans playing politics on border security, it is time for your administration to act,” the letter said. “We urge you to use all tools at your disposal, including executive action, to better address security at the southern border, ban illegal fentanyl, and enable orderly legal immigration.”

Among the 15 Democratic House members who signed Tuesday’s letter are Rep. Elissa Slotkin, who is running for an open Senate seat in Michigan, as well as Reps. Susan Wild and Matt Cartwright, two Democratic incumbents in the presidential state of Pennsylvania. Fellow Reps. Susie Lee and Steven Horsford from the politically crucial state of Nevada also signed the letter.

The lawmakers noted in their letter that “all of our constituents, regardless of our congressional district, have felt the impact of the current border situation.”

Last week, the House of Representatives approved a Republican-led measure that in part denounced “the Biden administration’s open borders policies” on a bipartisan vote of 223 to 191. Thirteen Democrats joined 210 Republicans to support the effort in support — including Craig and three members who also signed Tuesday’s letter to Mr. Biden.

Similar criticism from the Republican Party also reached the House of Representatives earlier this year, with a small amount of Democratic support. However, most Democrats voted against these messaging efforts.

During the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats narrowly lost control of the House of Representatives, returning the chamber to Republican leaders for the first time since early 2019. However, the narrow Republican majority has often had problems since the takeover. Democrats would only need to win a small number of seats to regain control in this fall’s general election, and the border is likely to play a major role in House campaigns between now and Election Day.

Jack Pandol, the communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, responded to the letter by saying in an email that “extreme Democrats play Lucy with the football every election year – promising to close the border after the floodgates were closed the year before .” was opened.”

“It’s a pathetic charade that says more about Democrats’ political panic over their open-borders policy than about their willingness to end the crisis.” said Pandol.

Tuesday’s letter is the latest demonstration of how the border and immigration in general can be a contentious issue as Mr. Biden tries to maintain the enthusiasm of both centrist-oriented Democrats and more progressive-oriented voters.

In recent months, Mr. Biden has considered taking executive action to curb illegal border crossings, which rose to record levels last year. One of the moves If this investigation is investigated, the president would limit asylum by invoking an authority known as 212(f) that allows presidents to suspend the entry of foreigners when their arrival is deemed “detrimental” to U.S. interests is considered to. However, the government has not yet announced any new border measures.

The Biden administration recently issued a new regulations allowing large numbers of undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to enroll in Affordable Care Act health insurance.

At fundraisers in Texas in late March, Biden repeatedly accused Trump of bringing “chaos” to the border by leading an effort by the Republican Party in Congress to thwart the bipartisan border deal in the Senate. Biden has also criticized Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about immigrationafter the former president said undocumented immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country.”

CBS News reporters Aaron Navarro and Kristin Brown contributed to this report.