How Media Outlets on the Left and Right Covered Biden’s Immigration Order


President Biden’s immigration policies are a frequent target of conservative and liberal media outlets, often mirroring criticisms from Republican and Democratic elected officials. The reaction to his executive order on Tuesday, which limits asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, was no different.

Conservative media outlets criticized the policy as being too lenient and accused Mr. Biden of being slow to address what they see as a crisis. Some made misleading claims about the order.

Liberal outlets gave less attention to the news. Those that did give it significant coverage repeated a long-held frustration among progressives with Mr. Biden’s approach to the Southern border, saying the executive order was harmful to migrants and denouncing it as a version of the policies favored by former President Donald J. Trump.

Here is how a few of those outlets covered the news:

Mr. Biden’s executive order prevents migrants from seeking asylum at the border when crossings spike, one of the most restrictive U.S. immigration policies enacted by a Democrat.

But that didn’t go far enough for many conservative outlets, including Breitbart, which blanketed its site with stories that criticized Mr. Biden’s policies. Since he entered office in 2021, Mr. Biden has been repeatedly accused by the right-wing site of causing an influx of migrants crossing the Southern border.

The site’s headlines this week emphasized the particulars of Biden’s order, which cut off asylum access at the border starting on Wednesday. The order will lift if daily crossings drop to below 1,500 for a period of time, but will come back if they rise to 2,500.

“Joe Biden Issues Executive Order Permitting 2,500 Migrant Encounters at Southern Border,” read a misleading Breitbart headline on June 4. The executive order does not permit anyone to enter the country illegally; it sets new restrictions on asylum.

Another story published Tuesday highlighted the outlet’s longstanding promotion of the false far-right notion that liberal elites wants to “replace” white Americans, saying that the administration is “looking to add one migrant to the U.S. population for every two American births.”

The Daily Caller, a conservative website that has also consistently criticized Mr. Biden’s immigration policies, argued he could have done more to tackle this crisis earlier in his term.

In a story with the headline “Biden Unveils Immigration Executive Order After Months Of Insisting There’s Nothing He Could Do,” the site’s White House correspondent, Reagan Reese, said Mr. Biden “denied that he had the ability to take action on the border, instead blaming Congressional Republicans for the ongoing migrant crisis.”

Jason Hopkins, a contributor for the site, said the Biden administration had “made a concerted effort to undo many of the immigration policies” of his predecessor. (Mr. Biden did roll back many of Mr. Trump’s immigration rules at the start of his presidency, but has since shifted to a more conservative approach.) Mr. Hopkins also highlighted both liberal and conservative immigration experts who condemned Tuesday’s order.

Mr. Biden’s order does resemble a 2018 policy from Mr. Trump, which also sought to bar migrants from seeking asylum and which was blocked by a federal judge. That fact was not lost on some liberal outlets and commentators, who criticized Biden for following the previous administration’s approach on immigration.

Democracy Now, a progressive online radio and TV program, devoted 15 minutes of its hourlong show on Wednesday to Mr. Biden’s executive order, which host Amy Goodman said would “continue to codify the far right’s anti-immigration agenda.”

John Washington, who wrote a book contending for open borders, argued on the show that Mr. Biden’s tack to the right on immigration was not likely to succeed politically.

Democrats have “tried to lean right, concede their principles, and expect that they’re going to gain some political capital. But it doesn’t work,” Mr. Washington said.

The Raw Story, a liberal outlet that is frequently critical of Mr. Trump and Republicans, devoted little coverage to Mr. Biden’s executive order. On Tuesday, the site’s homepage led with an unrelated article about Joe Scarborough, the MSNBC host, holding back laughter on his show as he reacted to a Fox News interview with Mr. Trump.

An article on Tuesday that did touch on the order highlighted Mr. Biden’s break with the progressive wing of his party over the order. It ran with the headline, “Biden in hot water with AOC,” referring to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat.

An article for Mother Jones, a liberal website, kicked off with a quote from a proponent of freer borders: “Biden is now fully embracing Trump’s policies as his own.” In the article, reporter Isabella Dias pointed out that Mr. Biden’s order came at a time when border crossings had fallen since December.

“Despite calls from advocates and immigration experts to espouse an openly pro-immigrant agenda,” Ms. Dias wrote Thursday, Democrats and the Biden administration have “gradually ceded ground to the right.”



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