Democrats Kennedy & Williamson clash with Biden on immigration

In the upcoming 2024 presidential elections, Democratic challengers Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson have different views on the issue of immigration than incumbent President Joe Biden.

Kennedy believes that the root cause of the immigration crisis is the US policies that create desperate conditions in other countries, such as the War on Drugs, unpayable debts, and neoliberal extraction of resources.

He plans to change these policies as president to solve the border crisis in the long term.

“I was taught from an early age about the often desperate plight of the immigrant and the blazing hope that America held out to them,” said Williamson. “The immigrant story of today contains no less richness, variety, and contribution than it did a hundred or two hundred years ago.”

“Although there are certainly reasonable changes that need to be made in our immigration policies, the idea that we have a crisis is simply a canard,” said Williamson. “Calling our border situation a crisis is simply a means of distracting Americans from seeing who and what is really leeching our resources, who and what is really undercutting our power, and who and what is really stealing our democracy.”

On the other hand, Biden’s policies are seen as Trump-like, with his proposed new rules making all people ineligible to claim asylum at the southern border unless they follow a strict set of guidelines.

RFK Jr., Marianne Williamson, and President Joe Biden
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Marianne Williamson, and President Joe Biden are presidential candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in 2024

These guidelines require asylum seekers to use a smartphone app called CBP One to schedule an appointment to enter the US at an official border crossing, and they must prove that they have sought asylum in another country before arriving at the US border.

This policy is called a “transit ban” and was adopted by Trump. US law clearly states that anyone physically present in the United States, irrespective of their status, can apply for asylum, but the Biden administration’s new rules contradict this.

The CBP One app has also been plagued with problems, such as facial recognition software that has difficulty registering people with darker skin. Additionally, not everyone has a smartphone with internet access, and reservations are scarce, especially for families.

Senator Ed Markey has called on Homeland Security to cease using the app, as it raises troubling issues of inequitable access to asylum and has significant technical problems and privacy concerns.

Despite opposition from members of Biden’s own party, the administration argues that these changes are necessary to manage the unprecedented numbers of people arriving daily at the southern border due to the climate emergency and political instability.

The problem, however, is that Trump-era thinking still frames the debate on immigration, and Biden’s policies have relied on the “Remain in Mexico” policy, locking up migrant children, and keeping the border closed by invoking Title 42.

Kennedy’s stance on immigration highlights the need to change US policies that create desperate conditions in other countries, which ultimately drive immigration.


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