White House claims Biden can't close the border until Congress approves more funding

"We need the funding to be able to put in place border security measures that the President can utilize."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

During a Monday White House press conference, White House National Security Council spokesperson was grilled on why Biden has not used executive authority to curb the ongoing crisis at the southern border under his administration.

NPR’s Franco Ordonez asked, "President Biden talked about shutting down the border on the basis of national security. Are there not steps that he could use under executive authority, to —some measures, to kind of seal some of the border efforts?"

“He has said he’s willing to use executive measures and, you know, if he gets he gets the bill passed, if he gets border funding and includes those authorities, he’ll use those authorities.”

"Why wait until Congress," Ordonez asked, to which Kirby replied, “we need legislative support for border security measures, and we need the funding to be able to put in place border security measures that the President can utilize. He has done some things like putting US troops down there to alleviate some of the responsibilities, or administrative responsibilities of Border Patrol and, but we need this funding."

Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich asked, "John, I just want to clarify two of your previous answers in this briefing. Are you suggesting, in response to the border question, that the President is withholding executive action on the border until he gets the money that is part of this supplemental?"

Kirby replied, “No, I’m not suggesting that. I’m suggesting that the way forward, the proper way forward is to get the supplemental passed.”

Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin noted that "The same authority Biden used to reverse almost every Trump policy at the border" can be used to stem the crisis at the southern border.

As one of Biden’s first actions in office in 2021, he terminated the construction of the border wall undertaken by the Trump administration and redirected those funds elsewhere.

There were over 2.4 million encounters with illegal immigrants crossing the nation’s boundary and Border Patrol in the 2023 fiscal year. This was up from 2.3 million in the 2022 fiscal year, and 1.7 million in the 2021 fiscal year, according to CBP data

December 2023 set a new record for encounters, with 302,034 being recorded in the month. These statistics do not include those who get across the border undetected.

In fact, Biden has issued 16 executive orders and memos on the border and immigration.

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