U.S.

Biden Looks to Change the Conversation on Immigration and Crime

For years, Republicans have assailed President Biden and Democrats for policies they say are too lax on curbing immigration and tamping down on violent crime.

This week, with a trip to the border planned and remarks delivered next to police chiefs assembled at the White House on Wednesday, Mr. Biden is trying to change the conversation, saying he is making progress on those very issues despite Republican intransigence.

In remarks at the White House, Mr. Biden said that a stimulus package passed without Republican support during the coronavirus pandemic had made $350 billion available to local communities across the United States. There was flexibility with how the funds could be spent, but Mr. Biden has pressed repeatedly for them to be used to bolster local law enforcement efforts.

“Thanks to my American Rescue Plan, which I might note, not a single person on the other team voted for, we provided $350 billion — $350 billion — that was available to deal with these issues,” Mr. Biden said, referring to Republican inaction on his signature legislation. “On top of that, we’re hiring more U.S. attorneys, recruiting more U.S. marshals, investing more in technology and training to clear the court backlogs, solve murders and deal with apprehending violent fugitives.”

Mr. Biden appeared intent on pushing back against Republicans who have used crime and immigration to say that policies favored by the president and many Democrats have only led to an increase in crime, some of it fueled by undocumented immigrants. The president has gone on the offensive over both issues, and recent crime data has provided Mr. Biden with a boost: Homicides and shootings declined nationwide in 2023.

But those numbers remain higher than they were before the coronavirus pandemic, and coverage of mass shootings, including in large cities like Chicago, continues to dominate the news.

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