Iowa politicians address Biden administration’s management of U.S. southern border


There is no bi-partisan response to the increase of immigration at the U.S. southern border. There are only Republican or Democratic responses.

Josue Aceves

Since the start of Biden’s presidency, Republican politicians have been critical towards the way the Biden administration has managed the influx of immigration at the southern border. 

According to Pew Research Center, unauthorized immigrants have been stabilizing at 10.5 million since 2017. They have also found that the rising share of immigrants from Central American and Mexico who have overstayed their visas has increased from 37 percent to 63 percent.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds co-sponsored an amendment to Biden’s National Defense Authorization Act that will block illegal immigrants from being provided $450,000 in taxpayer money for settlements. 

Reynolds was one of the eight Republican governors to visit the U.S.-Mexico border to criticize the Biden administration. 

“Over the past eight months we have seen illegal immigration just soar and, in fact, it’s becoming migration,” Reynolds said after visiting the border in early October.  

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protectiontotal enforcement actions at the southern border increased from 526,901 to 1,956,529 from the 2017 fiscal year to the 2021 fiscal year.  

U.S Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) joined his Republican colleagues during a press conference over the ongoing immigration situation and its consequences for the U.S. 

“This is a problem for all 50 states in the United States,” Grassley said. “And when illegal drugs come into Iowa from across the border, it’s because the president isn’t enforcing the laws.” 

The Biden administration is having difficulty getting policy traction as they are trying to appease both the Republican party and the Democratic party, Mack Shelley, Iowa State University chairman of the department of political science, said.

“When comparing the Trump and Biden administration, the Trump administration was more exclusionary while the Biden administration has a mixed approach,” Shelley said. 

U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) came out to support managing the influx of immigration in a bipartisan manner. Miller-Meeks is one of the few representatives who want to focus on issues such as preserving unused visas and granting permanent legal status to documented dreamers. Miller-Meeks has also sponsored two bills that would help legal immigration.

“Right now, I’m not seeing a willingness to tackle that in a bipartisan fashion,” Miller-Meeks said. “I do see willingness to tackle these small parts.”

Ryan Hurley, president of College Republicans United and a junior majoring in marketing, said in an email statement regarding the comments made by Iowa politicians that the College Republicans United are looking forward to working with Iowa politicians to focus on the problems with mass legal migration. 

Lily Fiihr, communication consultant for the Iowa State Democrats and junior majoring in political science, said that politicians have to look at the root cause of what is happening in the countries people are looking to flee from in order to live in better conditions.

“The Iowa State democrats hope the U.S. can process immigrants more easily and that we could take a step back and see what the country can do to fix immigration at its core,” Fiihr said. 

“The Biden administration is stumped by a need to try to respond to fear and loathing strategies that do work on a large part of the electorate,” Shelley said. “But they also have to be responsive to much of the democratic party base which is disproportionately Hispanic and focused on trying to help people rather than to keep them out.”