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As Title 42 is lifted, Biden says border officials ‘need more officers’


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has defended his decision to send 1,500 troops to the U.S. southern border ahead of what is expected to be a historic wave of migrants as Title 42 Covid restrictions expire on May 11.

“I’ve asked this Congress for help in terms of what they need at the border. They need more agents,” Biden said in an interview with Stephanie Ruhle, host of “The 11th Hour on MSNBC.” “They need more people to eliminate people.”

The newly sent troops are “there to free border agents who need to be at the border,” Biden said. “And we have another thousand people coming; they are judges of asylum, to make judgments to get things done.

Under federal law, active duty troops cannot directly enforce US laws, including immigration laws. Democrats and Republicans slammed the move, calling it political theater and accusing the president of having had years to devise a response.

The deployments come as the number of attempted crossings is expected to increase when use of Title 42 ends next week. Pandemic-era politics allowed the Biden administration to quickly deport people from the country under a health rule implemented by Donald Trump during the coronavirus emergency.

Speaking to Ruhle on Friday, Biden argued that a legislative response was needed and that it was up to Congress to pass an immigration bill.

There is an economic case at stake, Biden agreed.

“Bingo,” Biden told Ruhle. “We need these farm workers.

The President also called for a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants who entered the country illegally as children under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and who may one day face eviction. American companies argued that ending DACA would hurt the economy.

The president also addressed his fitness for office as he embarks on a re-election campaign as the oldest president to hold the position.

“I have gained tremendous wisdom and know more than the vast majority of people,” the president said. “I have more experience than anyone who has ever run for office. And I think I’ve proven that I’m honorable and effective,” Biden, who will turn 82 shortly after Election Day in 2024 and who would leave office at 86 if re-elected, said. past dismissed concerns about his age. , responding “Look at me” or asking the public to weigh it against a Republican alternative.

“I have acquired a lot of wisdom and I know more than the vast majority of people. I have more experience than anyone who has ever run for office.”

President Joe Biden

Still, polls show Biden’s age remains a vulnerability with voters, with a majority of Americans telling NBC News they don’t want him running for office again.

The president suggested bad press was to blame for surveys that show him underwater with the public.

“All they heard was negative news. Everything is negative,” Biden said. “It’s number one.”

But the president has indicated he hopes that may change as his administration increases spending on legislation passed in his first two years in office.

“A lot of what we’ve been able to do will only come into play now,” Biden said. “It’s one thing to say that we are going to rebuild this bridge which is collapsing. It’s another thing to have it built yet. And everything is just beginning.

Biden also offered a defense of Vice President Kamala Harris, saying he didn’t think she was getting enough credit for her work.

“I just think Vice President Harris didn’t get the credit she deserved. She was the California state attorney general,” he said. “She was a United States senator. She’s really, really good. And with everything going on, she hasn’t gotten the attention she deserves.”

Separately, Biden said he was ready to negotiate with Republicans on the national budget, but not on the debt ceiling, which could be hit as early as June 1 and trigger a default and possibly catastrophic economic reactions.

“I think we need to make it clear to the American people that I’m prepared to negotiate in detail with their budget. How much are you going to spend? How much are you going to tax? Where can we cut?” Biden said.

Biden said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was led by extreme factions in his caucus.

“He’s an honest man,” Biden said of McCarthy. “The MAGA Republicans have really put him in a position where to stay president he has to be okay with things that he may believe but are just extreme.”

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.