Trump and Biden Head to Border Amid Speculation of ‘Bold’ Executive Action on Immigration

Parsing Immigration Policy, Episode 144

By Mark Krikorian and Andrew R. Arthur on February 29, 2024

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President Biden and former President Trump are both scheduled to visit Texas border towns today, just as polling reveals widespread dissatisfaction with the president’s handling of the border and immigration. With the failure of the Senate border bill and growing concern over the record number of border crossers, news reports suggest President Biden may announce executive actions that would stem the border crisis his policies created.

This week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy welcomes guest Andrew Arthur, the Center’s resident fellow in law and policy, who discusses one executive action that has been floated – barring aliens who enter illegally between ports of entry from being able to apply for asylum. Such a measure would replicate a previous regulation, the “Circumvention of Lawful Pathways” (CLAP) rule introduced in May 2023, that was designed not to lower border crossing numbers, but rather to “reduce wait times and crowds at U.S. ports of entry and allow for safe, orderly, and humane processing.” The rule faced legal challenges, notably in M.A. v. Mayorkas and East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Biden. A judge in the latter case, however, suggested that the administration may be talking tough to appease a public anxious for border action while not fighting vigorously to defend his own asylum rule.

Arthur ponders whether such a ‘sue-and-settle’ scheme is now being hatched by the administration and advocacy groups. Could the president be floating tougher border rules in a political effort to appeal to voters, knowing that left-leaning advocacy groups will sue, allowing his administration to engage in settlement negotiations killing the rule if it is too unpopular with his base?

Mark Krikorian, host of the podcast and executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, quotes circuit Judge Lawrence Van Dyke, who wrote in his East Bay Sanctuary Covenant dissent, “it looks like the administration and its frenemies on the other side of this case are colluding to avoid playing their politically fraught game during an election year.”

In his closing commentary, Krikorian draws attention to security vulnerabilities at the Southwest border. He highlights the massive increase in Chinese nationals crossing in the San Diego area, where in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2024, 15 percent of all Border Patrol apprehensions were from China.


Mark Krikorian is the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.


Andrew Arthur is the Resident Fellow in Law and Policy at the Center for Immigration Studies


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Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a "Conehead" on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes".