Biden says he’ll shut down the border if deal gives him authority

President Joe Biden on Friday urged Congress to pass a bipartisan bill to address the immigration crisis at the nation’s southern border, while vowing to shut down the border the day he signs it into law.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Biden’s Friday evening statement comes after a week of hectic negotiations, as negotiators try to salvage monthslong talks to reach a border deal and unlock aid for Ukraine. The White House on Thursday continued to engage in talks and signal optimism for a deal, even as House Republicans say a deal could be dead on arrival.

The border has long been a vexing issue for the Biden White House. The president has seen record levels of migrant crossings since taking office in 2021, further inundating a border already heavily strained by irregular migration and an overwhelmed asylum processing system.