(NewsNation) — Just 23% of Americans say the Biden administration is doing a good job dealing with the large number of people seeking asylum at the border, and more than three times as many disapprove.
Mexico’s top diplomat, Alicia Bárcena, said that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador wants to travel to Washington, D.C., in early November to meet with Joe Biden about immigration, development aid and drug trafficking.
The statement comes after a surge in migrants moving through Mexico forced the closure of some U.S.-Mexico border crossings and led Mexico’s largest railway company to halt about 60 train runs because so many migrants were hopping aboard freight cars. Most appear to be Venezuelans, and many said they had crossed through the jungle-clad Darien Gap that connects Colombia and Panama.
Former acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf joined “The Hill on NewsNation” on Monday to share his perspective on the matter.
Wolf said the solution starts with empowering the Border Patrol to “do their job.”
“I would restart certain sections of the border wall system. I would restart Remain in Mexico, I would restart our asylum agreements with three countries in Central America. I would let ICE officers do their job, start to remove individuals. … All of this sends a signal that it’s not OK to break our laws. And you’re gonna see some of those numbers start to drop. Unfortunately, what we have with the Biden administration is the complete opposite.”
The total number of people who were granted asylum in the U.S. increased during former President Donald Trump’s time in office from 2016 to 2019 before plummeting during the pandemic, according to DHS data.
But the president doesn’t have unilateral authority to turn away asylum seekers, as evidenced by the numerous Trump-era border policies that faced challenges in the courts.
Some of those rules were specifically intended to stem the influx of asylum claims but were eventually overturned for violating immigration law.
In 2018, for example, the Trump administration issued a policy that made asylum seekers ineligible if they attempted to cross the border between ports of entry. That was later struck down by a federal judge.
Annual refugee admissions, which are set by the president, fell under Trump.
The backlog of asylum cases pending in U.S. immigration courts has risen since Biden took office and currently sits at more than 980,000, the most on record.
The Associated Press and NewsNation’s Andrew Dorn contributed to this report.