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Immigration

Report: Biden quietly telling Mexico to curb surge of migrants

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The Biden administration has been quietly urging Mexico to increase its efforts to stem the flow of Latin American migrants, according to a New York Times report Thursday.

This report came the same day that the administration announced plans to share millions of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses with Mexico and Canada.

At Thursday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the United States was planning to send 2.5 million doses of the vaccine to Mexico and 1.5 million to Canada, adding that it was “not finalized yet, but that is our aim.”

During a video call this month with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President Joe Biden asked him whether more could be done to help solve the problem of the migrant surge at the border, Mexican officials and another person briefed on the conversation told The Times.

MORE ON THE BORDER: Biden’s message to migrants: ‘Don’t come over’

The pair also discussed the possibility of the U.S. sending Mexico some of its extra vaccine doses, a senior Mexican official told the newspaper. Mexico has publicly asked the Biden administration to send it doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“Both governments cooperate on the basis of an orderly, safe and regular migration system,” Roberto Velasco, director general for the North America region at Mexico’s foreign ministry, said in a statement, referring to the engagement between the two countries on migration and vaccines, according to The Times.

However, Velasco said there was no quid pro quo for vaccines: “These are two separate issues, as we look for a more humane migratory system and enhanced cooperation against COVID-19, for the benefit of our two countries and the region.”

MORE ON THE BORDER: Mayorkas grilled about testing migrants for COVID-19

A Biden administration official declined to comment on discussions with Mexico, but noted to The Times that both countries shared a common goal of reducing migration by addressing its root causes, and said they were working closely to restrict the flow of migrants to the border.

Mexico has agreed to boost its presence on its southern border with Guatemala to impede migration from Central America, one of the government officials said, according to the newspaper. Local Mexican officials too, The Times reported, say their country has lately increased efforts to stop migrants on the northern border with the U.S. also.

MORE ON THE BORDER: Arizona AG: Biden ‘incentivizing’ migrants ‘to break the law and come here’

As The Times noted, there were indications that Mexico’s commitment to stopping migrants might have decreased in the final months of the Trump administration, who would threaten tariffs against Mexican products unless the country acted more to stem the flow of migrants.

Between October and December of last year, the number of Central Americans detained by Mexico dipped, while arrests by the U.S. rose, according to Mexican government numbers and data gathered by The Washington Office on Latin America, a research organization that promotes human rights.

“The likelihood of the outgoing Trump administration threatening tariffs again was low, so there was an incentive for Mexico to go back to its default state of low apprehensions,” said Adam Isacson, a border security expert at The Washington Office on Latin America, according to The Times.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Elections

GOP bill proposes extra measures to ensure noncitizens are unable to vote in federal elections

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GOP members of both the U.S. House and Senate introduced a bill to add safeguards to ensure that non U.S. citizens who are already prohibited from voting in federal elections, do not do so. The bill seeks to amend the National Voter Registration Act to require documentary proof of United States citizenship to register to vote.

The Center Square reports that It would require states to obtain proof of citizenship – in person – when registering an individual to vote. Applicants would have to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote in person, when applying for a motor vehicle license, and when applying to vote by mail. The bill lists accepted citizenship documentation and requirements for voter registration agencies.

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, led a coalition of 49 Republicans to introduce the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act in the U.S. House. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, with several cosponsors, introduced the same bill in the Senate.

Citing the border crisis and the greatest number of foreign nationals illegally entering the country in U.S. history, the measure’s supporters expressed alarm that instead of being deported, many are being registered to vote.

“There is currently an unprecedented and a clear and present danger to the integrity of our election system,” House Speaker Mike Johnson said. “And that is the threat of non-citizens and illegal aliens voting in our elections. In the last five and a half months or so, I’ve been to over 101 cities doing events all around the country in more than half the states. The first or second question that I’m asked in every public forum is about election security. Americans are deeply concerned about this. And it doesn’t matter where you live or whether you’re in a blue state or a red state, everyone’s concerned.”

Johnson blamed President Joe Biden and his administration’s policies for for what he described as widespread concern about election integrity.

“… we now have so many non-citizens in the country that if only one out of 100 of those voted, they would cast hundreds of thousands of votes,” the speaker added. “And since our elections are so razor thin in these days that we’re in, just a few precincts in a few states decide the makeup of Congress and who is elected to the White House. This is a dangerously high number, and it’s a great concern to millions and millions of Americans. It could obviously change the outcome of our elections, and this is not an empty threat or concern.”

It is already a federal crime for non-citizens to vote in a federal election. Despite this, Johnson said, “no current mechanism to ensure only those registering or voting are actually citizens. … If a nefarious actor wants to intervene in our elections, all they have to do is check a box on a form and sign their name. That’s it. That’s all that’s required. And there’s a very small chance that illegal would get caught [because] states do not have the election infrastructure in place to confirm what they’ve said.”

Johnson said noncitizens “can simply go to their local welfare office or the DMV and register to vote there,” adding that “states are currently prohibited from asking someone to prove that they’re a citizen when they use the federal voter registration form.”

He also gave examples of “a growing number of localities” that are “blurring the lines for non-citizens by allowing them to vote in municipal local elections.

“You might not know this, but non-citizens are voting,” he warned Americans. “Democrats have expressed a desire to turn on citizens and voters. That’s what this open border has been all about.”

Roy said the proposed SAVE Act “would thwart Democrat efforts to cement one-party rule by upholding and strengthening current law that permits only U.S. citizens to vote in Federal elections.”

Lee said the bill should “pass right away” and unanimously in both houses of Congress. “The only reason to oppose this … would be if you want noncitizens to vote.”

It also would create a new program requiring the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration to share information with state registration systems. States would be required to identify noncitizens attempting to register to vote by accessing data in DHS’ Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program and the SSA’s Social Security Number Verification Service. The information would be compared with data from state agencies that supply state identification cards or driver’s licenses.

The bill also would require states to remove non-citizens from existing voter rolls and increases federal penalties for those who register non-citizens to vote in federal elections.

 

 

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