JIM SHARPE

Is Biden using migrants as political pawns — in a game of checkers?

Jun 19, 2024, 2:00 PM | Updated: 6:32 pm

No matter the positive effects it may have on your friends, your family or even you — one has to admit that Democratic President Joe Biden was politically motivated to do what he did this week: announce executive actions that’ll give legal status and provide protection from deportation to hundreds of thousands of undocumented spouses of US citizens (and their children) — allowing them to apply for lawful permanent residency.

These moves by Biden will also provide a faster path for DACA recipients (undocumented migrants brought to the US as children) to obtain a work visa.

Now, you knew that Republicans like my friend, Arizona political consultant Stan Barnes, were gonna say Biden’s move was political. But others are too. 

Stan says it was a political move that was “too little, too late:” A Real Clear Politics average of polls has former President Donald Trump ahead of Biden in Arizona by about 4.5%.

  

But even if it’s not politically effective, it’s still political.

I mean, if an immigration attorney who was brought to this country as a child and currently lives in the legal gray area known as DACA feels like he’s a political pawn … you know it’s political.

“Oh, I’ve been feeling like a pawn from the moment I have a recollection. Whether it’s the Democrats or the Republicans, there’s always been false promises and scare tactics,” Sal Macias told Jayme West and me on Arizona’s Morning News.

He blames (and gives credit to) both parties. He says Democrat Bill Clinton — the man who was president when Sal was brought to America as a preschooler — signed a lot of the legislation that made it so hard to become an official American. And Sal points to Republican President George W. Bush as someone who wanted to get comprehensive immigration reform done. 

Of course, Bush’s dream was shut down by his own party.

It’s been a long time since either party has really done anything to change the law — like passing legislation as opposed to just handing down executive orders from the White House — which the next president has the potential to end.

“I remember being in fourth grade [in] 2000 when the Dream Act was first proposed,” Sal told me. “And here we are, 24 years later, still hoping that Congress can get it together. And unfortunately it seems they are being pushed the opposite way.”

Definitely feels very pawn-like.

But it’s not just undocumented migrants, the citizens who are married to the undocumented, and the Dreamers who have a right to feel like political pawns — so do the US citizens who live in our border communities. They watched Republicans back away from a bill that contained most of what they demanded — because Trump demanded they back away so that he could use the border issue as a path to get back to the White House.

While it’s not really a game (because it’s people’s lives we’re talking about), in the big chess game of presidential politics, it feels like Biden’s reelection team is playing checkers which just might lead to Trump making it to their side of the checkerboard — where he could declare, “king me!” 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

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Is Biden using migrants as political pawns — in a game of checkers?