Biden’s border order: impractical policy, pragmatic politics

IT IS INDICATIVE of America’s putrid politics that President Joe Biden’s plan to crack down on migration at the southern border is meant not necessarily to succeed, but to convince voters that he is trying to succeed. On June 4th Mr Biden revealed an executive order that will theoretically allow him to deny asylum to migrants who cross illegally when their number is high.

The administration has been mulling executive action since Senate Republicans, at Donald Trump’s behest, torpedoed a bipartisan bill they had helped to craft. The order borrows ideas from that bill. It would bar those who cross between ports of entry from receiving asylum when encounters of migrants at the southern border exceed an average of 2,500 a day. That threshold would be easily met. Asylum-seekers would then be turned back into Mexico or deported until apprehensions fall below 1,500 a day. The order reflects a markedly conservative turn for Mr Biden, who telegraphed openness to migrants when he took office in 2021.