Biden plans executive order to shut down border once crossings reach 4,000 per day — despite saying he needs Congress to act

BySocial Links forJosh Christenson and Social Links forJennie Taer

President Biden is planning executive action that would allow him to shut down the US-Mexico border once the number of migrant crossings reaches 4,000 per day, a source close to the White House told The Post Wednesday.

The order would match a provision in the bipartisan border bill that failed to pass the Senate in February, which gave the president authority to expel migrants when border crossings reached the same daily average.

The legislative proposal would have given the homeland security secretary discretionary authority to carry out removals — but would have made deportations mandatory when illegal entries surpassed 5,000 per day over a one-week period.

A federal government source confirmed to The Post that an executive order to limit entries was coming, though it was unclear when it would be announced.

The White House declined to comment.

In March, the most recent month for which statistics are available, southwestern border authorities stopped an average of more than 6,300 migrants per day — a figure which does not include so-called “gotaways” who escaped detection and arrest.

The US Border Patrol currently has more than 10,000 migrants in custody nationwide, according to internal Customs and Border Protection data exclusively obtained by The Post.

Five Border Patrol sectors have exceeded their migrant holding capacity, with the San Diego region keeping 1,675 migrants in facilities that can only hold a total of 1,000 individuals.

A spokeswoman for House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) — who has repeatedly called on Biden to take action on the border — said the executive order would “prove” the president “doesn’t need Congress to pass legislation to take action on the border.”

In January, Biden insisted that lawmakers had to approve the border bill before he could take further action to limit illegal immigration, telling reporters he had “done all I can do.”

“Just give me the power. I’ve asked from the very day I got into office,” he said at the time. “Give me the Border Patrol, give me the people, the judges — give me the people who can stop this and make it work right.”

However, the president has changed his tune since public polling has consistently shown that he faces an uphill battle for re-election in November, with illegal immigration and enhanced border enforcement ranked as a top concern for voters.

The administration recently introduced new restrictions  for asylum interviews taking place at the southern border to allow officers to quickly remove migrants who don’t have a “credible fear” of returning to their home country from the US.

“We’re examining whether or not I have that power,” Biden, 81, told Univision’s Enrique Acevedo last month of another order reportedly under consideration that would raise the “credible fear standard” for asylum seekers.

The president had also mulled executive action to ban migrants from being granted asylum if they cross the border illegally between ports of entry — and remove others at designated entries when crossings met an unannounced threshold, Politico reported in February.

Meanwhile, congressional Democrats have shifted their own border messaging.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is also considering resurrecting the failed border legislation, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Post.

In February, the bill came up short of the 60-vote filibuster threshold by 11 votes — five of whom were Democrats.

“The status quo cannot continue,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “The only way we’ll solve this issue is with real, bipartisan action, not partisan talk.”

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“Apparently it’s time to give the commander-in-chief kudos on his handling of a crisis that still lets nearly 5,000 people cross our border illegally in a day,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said wryly in his own floor speech.

“Of course, President Biden does have the authority he needs to start rapidly undoing the damage of the historic crisis that unfolded on his watch,” added McConnell, who voted against the Senate border bill.

Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), who also voted against the bill, called the move “a cheap election year ploy” since “Biden has lost all credibility on the border.”

“Democrats have completely failed on the issue for the past three and a half years and will have to own that failure in front of American voters,” Schmitt told The Post.

“Chuck Schumer should spend his time convincing Biden to reinstate the successful Trump policies Biden reversed like Remain in Mexico that created a five-year low in illegal immigration.”

Axios first reported on Schumer discussed bringing the border bill back to the floor during a Senate Democratic caucus lunch meeting last week.

“Senator Schumer and Senate Democrats already have a House-backed bill that has bipartisan support which will solve the southern border catastrophe engineered by the Biden Administration, but they’re letting it collect dust in the Senate,” Johnson also told The Post in a statement.

“The End the Border Catastrophe Act, which includes core components of H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, would institute Remain in Mexico, reform the parole and asylum laws, and build the border wall,” Johnson added.

On Friday, the campaign arm for House Democrats also released a memo encouraging members to go “on the offensive” against Republicans “who joined [former President Donald] Trump in killing a bipartisan border deal so that they could campaign on the border.”

Trump, 77, has promised to roll out the “ largest mass deportation effort ” in US history if he wins election to another term Nov. 5, removing “nearly 20 million” illegal immigrants who they say are currently in the US.

By October, more than 8 million migrants are expected to be living illegally in the US, according to a court docket of asylum cases involving non-citizens released into the interior by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.