On his first day in office, President Biden sent a bill to Congress to “restore humanity and American values to our immigration system.” Nearly three years later, he is considering sweeping restrictions on migration in exchange for aid to Ukraine and Israel.
It is the latest sign of how drastically the politics of immigration have shifted in the United States, where polls suggest there is growing support, even inside the president’s own party, for border measures once denounced by Democrats and championed by former President Donald Trump.
But it is also a gamble for Mr. Biden, who risks walking away from some of the most deeply held principles of the Democratic Party and angering key parts of his core constituency, such as progressives and young voters.
“There’s no doubt there’s been a shift on this partly because of the influx of these migrants in these big cities,” said David Axelrod, a top adviser to former President Barack Obama. “There are limits to where he can and should go but this is almost a gift to have, under the cover of this broad package, to be able to do things that were perhaps tougher to do before.”
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