Senator Alex Padilla
Senator Alex Padilla Patrick T. FALLON/AFP

President Joe Biden's immigration crackdown announcement has been met with mixed reactions from high profile Latinos, mixing both praise and criticism.

He's had the support of several mayors across border towns that have seen most of the arrivals first hand, as well as officials from border areas and those who consider inaction a political liability as a result of different polls showing that to be the case for the incumbent.

However, he has also received criticism. One of the most high-profile Democrats to speak against him is U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, who said that "by reviving Trump's asylum ban, President Biden has undermined American values and abandoned our nation's obligations to provide people fleeing persecution, violence and authoritarianism with an opportunity to seek refuge in the U.S."

Padilla, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, also said that the "asylum ban will fail to address the challenges at our border just as it did under the Trump administration." "It will lead to people with legitimate asylum claims being prevented from seeking safety and returned to harm," added Padilla, who instead called for "smart and strategic investments" to address the "root causes of migration and open lawful pathways to migration."

Moreover, Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS, the country's largest Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, said that "this specific executive action is a one-note political 'flex' on enforcement that, without other necessary elements, will do little do address the many gaps and workarounds when it comes to security on the border."

Murguía acknowledged that Latinos, "like the majority of American voters, are frustrated with this lack of action on the border," but emphasized that is the reason why "it's so critical that he use his authority to advance a fair and balanced approach that includes providing immigration relief for the undocumented with deep family and economic roots in the United States, the most widely supported immigration measure in our analyses of Hispanic voters."

"We acknowledge, though, that Congressional neglect has made the situation at the border far worse, and the President has a narrow space for action. We also recognize that while this approach falls short of our country's interests and needs, President Biden's policies stand in stark contrast to other even more extreme proposals out there. We will continue to advocate for an immigration system that is consistent with our interests, needs, and values that will ensure the future economic prosperity of our nation," Murguía concluded.

In contrast, Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego said that Biden's announcement "is a step in the right direction, but we still have more work to do." "We need to hire more border patrol agents, fix our broken asylum system and keep our communities safe," he added.

Texas Representative Henry Cuéllar, on his end, said he's been "advocating for these measures for years because they will bring relief to our border communities who have been on the frontline of this humanitarian crisis."

Biden's announcement imposes heavy restrictions to asylum claims once arrivals reach a certain threshold. The decision, in the making for months, will go into effect when the number of encounters between ports of entry reaches 2,500 per day, senior administration officials told The Associated Press.

The measures are set to be in effect until two weeks after a seven-day average shows daily encounters at 1,500 people per day or below. During this period, migrants who don't express fear of returning to their home countries will be immediately deported and could face punishments including a five-year ban from reentering the country. Those who do express fear will need to reach a higher threshold to be allowed in.

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