Joe Biden in front of a barbed wire fence

Andrea Austria / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

Right-wing media ignore GOP stonewalling in order to blame Biden and Democrats for lack of action on the border

Right-wing media are claiming President Joe Biden isn't trying to address immigration issues or “defend the border,” even though the president has upheld many of former President Donald Trump's border policies alongside his own and offered further significant concessions on border policy that congressional Republicans have rejected.

  • Republicans have blocked the Biden administration’s border plans

    • At the beginning of December, the Senate GOP voted against a large aid package that tied foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan to expansions in border security. [Politico, 12/6/23]
    • The House GOP has refused to compromise on their draconian bill H.R. 2, which would dramatically reduce asylum claims, slash services to migrants, and end protections for migrant children. The White House calls many of these demands non-starters and the House GOP is refusing to budge. [The Hill, 1/4/24; CNN, 1/3/24]
    • The Biden administration has attempted to compromise on some elements of immigration policy by focusing on deterrence — even drawing criticism from immigration advocates — but Republicans, who separately also promote deterrence, have continued to stonewall and block Biden’s proposals. [The Hill, 12/12/23; NBC, 12/22/23; The Hill, 1/8/24]
    • Data from the Cato Institute suggests that a second Trump administration would have yielded similar numbers of border crossings and deportations. The institute notes that this is largely due to the Biden administration upholding many of the Trump administration’s policy directives, calling it a “testament to the extraordinary lengths to which the Biden administration has gone to sustain high removal rates,” despite a higher number of arrivals. [Cato Institute, 1/5/24; The Guardian, 1/22/23]
  • Despite the lack of cooperation from the GOP, right-wing media have placed sole responsibility for the border on the Biden administration and Democrats

    • Former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tom Homan said that Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) negotiating with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the border was like “talking to an arsonist how to put out a fire.” He also claimed if Democrats were serious about securing the border, they would accept and implement H.R. 2. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 1/8/24]
    • Fox anchor John Roberts claimed that the “tools and resources” the Biden administration is asking for “would do nothing to stem the flow of migration.” Fox contributor and chief political correspondent for the Washington Examiner Byron York claimed, “Joe Biden actually opened the door in 2021.” [Fox News, America Reports, 1/5/24]
    • Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer told Fox anchor Martha MacCallum, “There is something about being a Democrat in this modern era that means you want people to come to America illegally.” He said, “I don’t think Joe Biden can break away from the left wing of the Democrat party.” [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 1/5/24]
    • National Review’s Michael Brendan Dougherty claimed that “Democrats have committed themselves” to “this policy of malign neglect of the border.” Dougherty also wrote that “Joe Biden has nobody to blame for this but himself” for increasing migrant encounters at the border. [National Review, 1/5/24]
    • Judicial Watch posted on X (formerly Twitter), “The Biden admin impedes Border Patrol agents from fulfilling their duty of securing the border by prohibiting consequences for most individuals crossing into the U.S illegally & instead practicing a mass release policy.” [Twitter/X, 1/5/24]
    • Breitbart’s Joel Pollack criticized Biden for his “dereliction of duty” and “violation of his solemn oath” because he “won’t defend the border.” [Twitter/X, 1/5/24]
    • After the Biden administration sued Texas for implementing a law that would allow the state to circumvent federal immigration laws, Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin called it “the Biden administration's latest effort to try and stop Texas from securing its own border.” Melugin then fearmongered about “masses of African men crossing illegally.” [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 1/4/24]
    • On Outnumbered, Fox contributor Joe Concha said it would be an “impeachable offense” if there was a “terror attack in this country as a result of someone coming across the U.S. southern border.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 12/27/23]