Migrants along the Rio Grande
A migrant group walks along the Rio Grande, near Eagle Pass, Texas, while looking for a gap in barbed-wire fencing. AFP

While negotiations are advancing in the Senate for the U.S. government to redouble measures aimed at containing the illegal flow of migrants across the border with Mexico, both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have hardened their positions on border control.

On Friday, Biden called on the Congress to approve a bipartisan proposal aimed at addressing what has become an immigration crisis at the border with Mexico. The president stated that he is willing to close the border if the proposal is passed.

"What's been negotiated would —if passed into law— be the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we've ever had in our country," Biden said. "It would give me, as President, a new emergency authority to shut down the border when it becomes overwhelmed. And if given that authority, I would use it the day I sign the bill into law."

In response to Biden's statement, former President Trump said on his social network Truth: "A bad border deal is far worse than no border deal!" In a different posting on Truth, Trump said: "Just 3 years ago we had the strongest and safest Border in U.S. History. Today we have a catastrophe waiting to happen," and resorted to his usual claims that "terrorists are pouring in, unchecked from all over the world."

While lawmakers have not reached an agreement in the Senate, it has been reported that negotiators are preparing to grant the government the power to significantly restrict illegal border crossings. According to sources 'familiar with the matter,' CNN reported that the agreement would be introduced next week and would include new measures for asylum applications, potentially shortening the processing time in some cases to six months.

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