‘We are appalled.’ Menendez, Booker call out Biden administration’s new immigration transit ban
New Jersey’s two Democratic senators are going against the Biden administration on new border policies.
Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker held a Capitol Hill news conference on Thursday to say that President Joe Biden’s new transit ban rewrites immigration law without consulting Congress.
“We are appalled to see President Biden replicate President [Donald] Trump's immigration strategy,” Menendez said.
“We can do better. We must do better,” said Booker.
Among the other members of Congress joining Menendez and Booker were Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Cori Bush.
The representatives took Biden to task for new restrictions on asylum seekers at the southern border and expanded enforcement of a pandemic-era health restriction used by the Trump administration known as Title 42.
“Does anybody seriously believe the administration is doing this to prevent COVID-19?” asked Bush.
Nearly 80 members of Congress signed a letter to the president asking him to back off a proposal that asylum seekers apply for protection in a transit country before making their way to the United States.
“Now anyone who tells you the only way to secure our border is to punish asylum seekers is lying,” Menendez said.
The White House did not immediately comment on the letter. The new measures do include new legal pathways for Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans coming to the United States.
Biden has faced criticism from Republicans and Democrats for his handling of the humanitarian crisis at the border. Democrats say the president should live up to his campaign promises.
“This is the time in our country where we should be setting an example for humanity,” said Booker.
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration to stop the new protections for asylum seekers from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Nineteen other states have joined in on that lawsuit.