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The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

2024 election gripped by U.S. border surge

Courtesy of Office of Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb
14 Republican Governors visit the U.S. border at Eagle Pass, Texas, on Feb. 4.

Immigration has continued to reign as a buzzing political issue in the 2024 election season due to the record number of immigrants crossing the Southern border, ongoing wars abroad and political suspicion from both the left and the right regarding recent immigration policies. However, neither party seems able to agree on a solution that appeases both sides. Recently, a deal lumping border security with aid to wars abroad was contested by the GOP, and House Republicans have also charged President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas with responsibility for the current influx of immigrants. 

Mayorkas has faced impeachment charges coming from House Republicans regarding immigration policies. They have accused him of failing to enforce U.S. immigration laws and then lying about it, but these accusations were quashed after a majority vote opposed the impeachment trial on Feb. 6. Mayorkas would have been the first Cabinet official to be impeached, and though the movement failed, the incident represents the growing importance of immigration in the current political climate.

“The attempts made to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas are less than surprising,” Mattie ’25 said. “We have seen time and time again GOP officials in Congress attack certain Democrats with the intention of villainizing the party and nothing more.” 

The tension surrounding immigration has been intensified by both the Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas war, resulting in increased numbers of refugees seeking entry to the U.S. Recently, the bipartisan Senate deal that would have sent aid to Ukraine and enacted stricter controls on the Mexico-U.S. border to pacify right-wing Senators was struck down by Senate Republicans claiming it “meaningless,” according to The Associated Press. This failure at compromise left Democrats struggling to forge the scattered remains into an aid package for Ukraine that is no longer tied to a border deal. 

The world of immigration policy has always been a slippery slope, but with the issue becoming increasingly contentious, it is proving to be central in the 2024 presidential race, especially among right-wing candidates. As the Republican primaries unfold, both former Ambassador Nikki Haley and former President Donald Trump are taking strong stances against immigration. Both candidates consistently explain their devotion to this issue and how they plan to solve it in order to gain votes. Despite Haley being a first-generation immigrant with parents born in Punjab, India, she has vowed to close the border while supporters rally behind her dictum: “Catch and deport.” 

“I think we need to do whatever it takes to actually stop this inflow of illegal immigrants because America is acting like it’s Sept. 10, and we better remember what Sept. 12 felt like,” Haley said in an interview with the Des Moines Register when referencing the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

During her time as South Carolina governor, she enacted some of the harshest immigration laws in the country, which she has not failed to highlight in the race to become the GOP presidential nominee.

Trump and Haley have both criticized Biden for his policy. During Biden’s term, immigration has reached an all-time high, with annual immigration across the southern U.S. border surpassing 2 million for the second consecutive year. Rather than tightening border security, Biden has created more legal protections for immigrants seeking new lives, earning him immense backlash from the right.

“Biden has the power to end the border crisis without Congress,” said Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik on X. “He just doesn’t want to.”

Amid an array of problems at home and abroad, Republican candidates seem to be vying for the strictest pledge on immigration, yet both parties are struggling to find a bipartisan way to cope with the issue. History and Social Sciences Department Head Mabel Wong attributes the parties’ inability to come to a consensus on immigration to nationalistic attitudes that may come with conversations surrounding the topic. 

“Borders play a very important role in the identity formation of any country,” Wong said. “Borders, both literally and symbolically, demarcate who is in and who is out, who is ‘us’ versus who is ‘them.’’’

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Stella '25, Co-Editor in Chief
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