Will Biden Mention Immigration During Tonight’s State of the Union Address?

POTUS has opportunity to signal end of open-borders policies, but will he pivot?

By Robert Law on March 1, 2022

President Joe Biden will deliver his first State of the Union Address tonight, a little more than 13 months after his inauguration. Tonight’s prime-time speech to the country comes amidst a backdrop of Biden’s plummeting approval numbers, including an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll where 56 percent of respondents consider the president’s first year a failure. With the midterm elections eight months away and the prospects for Democrats currently looking bleak, Biden has an opportunity to pivot away from the unsuccessful policies that defined his first year in the Oval Office. The question is, will he?

One constant throughout Biden’s term has been notable disapproval of his administration’s immigration policies. To date, more than two million illegal aliens have been encountered at the Southern border while removals fell by more than 70 percent in FY 2021. The Biden administration has granted, or extended, amnesty-lite (read: work permits, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses) to approximately 500,000 illegal aliens through an abusive application of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), increased the number of temporary low-skilled foreign workers, and ended a Trump administration merit-based H-1B rule in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act; steps that have made it harder for Americans to recover economically from Covid-19.

Yet, Americans hoping to hear a Clintonesque “the era of open borders is over” pivot likely will be disappointed based on a survey of news articles predicting the topics President Biden will cover in his speech. According to the Washington Post, Biden will claim he’s “building a better America” while discussing his administration’s handling of Covid-19 and the attempt to pass the Build Back Better “human infrastructure” bill. The Wall Street Journal says Biden will discuss another “I” issue — inflation — as well as tout his recently announced nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. CNN similarly indicates the president will highlight steps to revive the struggling economy, including “eliminating barriers to good-paying jobs”. It seems unlikely that this talking point means reducing immigration levels to create a tighter labor market that fuels higher wages for workers. Reuters also notes that Biden will highlight a four-point “economic rescue plan” to address inflation, supply chain problems, and rising healthcare costs.

All of these articles expect Biden to spend a notable amount of time on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, despite most Americans opposing direct military action. Not a single one of these articles referenced immigration in any capacity. The Biden administration is struggling on many fronts, and ignoring one of the most important issues to the American people would not appear to be a successful strategy to regaining public support or achieve Democrats’ desire to retain control of Congress come November.

Topics: Politics