Biden Said He Couldn’t Take Action On The Border; Report Indicates He’s Doing It Anyway
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks while meeting with the Joint Chiefs and Combatant Commanders in the Cabinet Room of the White House May 15, 2024 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Joe Biden is reportedly preparing an executive order to shut down the U.S. southern border if encounters cross a 4,000-a-day benchmark.

The executive order, first reported by the New York Post, is similar to a provision in an immigration bill that failed to pass the Senate in February. That legislation would have put in place a trigger authority for the president to close the border if encounters averaged 4,000 per day over one week. Closing the border would become mandatory at an average of 5,000 per day or if encounters hit 8,500 in a single day.

The White House has repeatedly faulted Congress for the ongoing immigration crisis and claimed that congressional action is necessary before the president can close the border. Republicans have challenged the White House’s claim and said that the president has enough authority already to act on the border.

Despite the White House’s message, public opinion on Biden’s handling of the border has sunk deep underwater as illegal immigrants have flooded the country. Immigration is the second most important issue to voters in swing states, according to a New York Times/Sienna poll released this week. The president’s approval on the issue is just over 33%, however, and 29 points behind his roughly 63-point disapproval rating, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average of the president’s handling of immigration.


In 2019, Jeh Johnson, who served as Homeland Security secretary during the Obama administration, said that a daily encounter average of 1,000 per day would overwhelm Border Patrol. At 4,000 per day, he said the border would be in “crisis.” Johnson said he would start every day looking at apprehension numbers from the day before.

“And I’d look at them every morning, it’d be the first thing I’d look at. And I probably got too close to the problem, and my staff will tell you if it was under 1,000 apprehensions the day before, that was a relatively good number, and if it was above 1,000, it was a relatively bad number, and I was gonna be in a bad mood the whole day,” Johnson said at the time. “On Tuesday, there were 4,000 apprehensions. I know that a thousand overwhelms the system. I cannot begin to imagine what 4,000 a day looks like, so we are truly in a crisis.”

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