Wyoming Delegation Says Biden’s Border Order A Desperate ‘Election Year Stunt’

President Joe Biden’s aggressive executive order Tuesday clamping down on the southern U.S. border has angered congress across the board — Democrats and Republicans. Wyoming’s delegation says Biden “panicked” by making an “election year stunt.”

Leo Wolfson

June 04, 20246 min read

Biden and delegation 6 4 23
(Getty Images)

Even though leading Democrats and other progressive-leaning groups are criticizing President Joe Biden’s Tuesday executive order on immigration as too harsh, Wyoming’s Republican congressional delegation remains unimpressed with the president’s border enforcement.

U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis, and Rep. Harriet Hageman all call Biden’s executive order an election year ploy and an effort to appear tough to voters who see him as weak on immigration.

“Unfortunately, this executive order looks more like an election year stunt than a sincere, long-term solution to address our border crisis,” Lummis said.

Barrasso and Hageman agreed and said Biden is going through the motions to try and appease voters.

“Joe Biden and the open-border Democrats are terrified that voters will hold them accountable for the crime, the drugs and the terrorists that are flooding into the United States,” Barrasso said in a Tuesday press release. “With the election only months away, the White House is panicked. They should be.”

When Biden took office in January 2021, he made 94 border-related executive orders, many of which reversing the policies of former President Donald Trump’s administration.

“He and his bureaucrats broke the border wide open and have allowed over 11 million illegals to enter the country,” Hageman said. “He has enabled barbaric human trafficking to occur and enough fentanyl to cross the border to kill every human living in America. Now, because he is trailing in the polls and has a dismal approval rating on this critical issue, he has gone through the motions of ‘taking action’ on the border.”

Hageman said the order will still allow nearly 1 million border crossings a year.

Many polls suggest Americans have become more conservative on the issue of immigration, with members of both parties showing support for border measures once denounced by Democrats and embraced by Trump as the number of people crossing into the country has reached record levels.

What It Does

Biden’s executive order will shut off access to asylum for migrants who cross the US-Mexico border illegally. Unless they meet certain exemptions, they’ll be turned away to Mexico or returned to their countries of origin.

Senior Biden administration officials told reporters Tuesday the order will be lifted when there's an average of fewer than 1,500 encounters a day at U.S. ports of entry. According to Customs and Border Protection, there were 179,725 encounters by Border Patrol agents along the southern border in April, which averages to 5,991 encounters per day.

“Despite the strengthened consequences in place at our border through the Lawful Pathways rule and the related measures that have led to record returns and removals, encounter levels are exceeding our capacity to deliver those consequences in a timely manner due to the outdated laws and limited resources we have available,” the executive order proclamation reads.

Lummis said she wishes Biden made his order earlier.

“For months, President Biden has tried to shift the blame, saying he could not fix the crisis at the border, and it was up to Congress to address this problem,” she said. “What we are seeing today is what I have said all along — President Biden could take executive action to halt border crossings if he actually wanted to stop the flood of illegal aliens entering our country each day.”

Immigration And The Election

Immigration has been one of the major hot-button issues for the 2024 election.

Even in Wyoming it’s become a significant topic, with the Legislature granting $750,000 to the governor’s office to reimburse local law enforcement agencies that assist at the southern border in the most recent legislative session.

The issue is a key weakness for Biden's reelection chances, and the president is eager to rewrite the blame for record-high immigration levels on Republicans.

At a Tuesday press conference, Biden came out of the gate attacking Republicans, saying he would rather solve border issues through bipartisan measures, but blamed former President Donald Trump and other Republicans lawmakers for blocking a bipartisan deal twice this year.

“Donald Trump told them to,” Biden said. “He didn't want to fix the issue. You want to use it to attack me. That’s what he wanted to do. It’s a cynical, an extremely cynical political move.”

Hageman is thankful the bipartisan deal was blocked.

“It is also worth noting that within the disastrous so-called ‘bipartisan’ border security bill proposed by the Democrat-led Senate, twice the number of asylum seekers would be allowed to enter each day,” she said. “Thank heavens that awful legislation died before ever coming to the House of Representatives.”

The executive order has been met with both praise and protest by Democratic lawmakers.

Many Democrats Don’t Like It

There was no audience in the room as Biden gave his executive order remarks Tuesday, likely representative of the divide within his party over the border plan. However, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham was there, who Gov. Mark Gordon has collaborated with on various projects for the Western Governors’ Association.

According to CNN, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said he was “disappointed” that the Biden executive action doesn’t include a path to legalization for migrants, but also said the president had no choice.

The American Civil Liberties Union told CNN on Tuesday it will sue the Biden administration over the new executive action. Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said Biden’s asylum ban is very similar to one brought under former President Donald Trump that was blocked in federal court in 2018.

"We successfully sued President Trump,” Gelernt said. “We think it remains illegal. And so we will challenge that in court.”

Trump Not Impressed Either

The Trump campaign and Republican National Committee also blasted the order.

Former Trump White House senior adviser Stephen Miller made several inflammatory claims on a call with reporters, calling the new action from Biden “pro-child slavery, pro-child trafficking, pro-child sexual servitude.”

Miller was the architect of some of the Trump administration’s most controversial immigration policies such as a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings that led to children being separated from their parents.

Trump has sharpened his immigration focus since leaving office, describing the migrant crisis as an “invasion” by dangerous criminals, who in some cases “are not people.” Some of his policy proposals include mass arrests, detention and deportation.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at leo@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter