President Joe Biden yesterday defended his immigration policy in the face of the crisis caused by the massive arrival of undocumented minors to the border with Mexico and assured on the other hand that he intends to stand for reelection in 2024 when he is 81 years old.
During the first press conference of his term, Biden also doubled his vaccination goal against Covid-19 during his first 100 days in power, underlining that before May, 200 million doses will have been administered throughout the country, compared to the 100 million that it initially promised.
"It is ambitious, twice our original goal. No other country in the world has come close to this," the president boasted.
It was practically the only mention of the pandemic in a session that lasted one hour. There were no questions about that global health crisis, which has left more than 545,000 dead in the United States.
Instead, the ten journalists who managed to ask Biden focused on the immigration situation at the border and the president's relationship with China, North Korea, and the country's Congress.
The migration crisis
"I cannot guarantee that it will solve everything, but I can tell you that I am going to make things better," Biden said of the exodus to his country of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants, mostly from Central America.
The president argued that undocumented immigrants' massive arrival is not because they believe that he is a "good guy" and is going to let them stay in the country, but to seasonal factors.
This happens every year. In January, February, and March, Biden alleged that there is a vital rise in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months.
In that sense, "nothing has changed" regarding the government of former President Donald Trump, Biden argued, even though many minors and families who arrive at the border do so guided by the hope that the new government will allow them to stay in the country.
Biden said he could not do much more than emphasize that the border is closed to the "vast majority of the undocumented," except for minors and some families, whom his government is not immediately deporting and whose centers are overcrowded.
The idea that I'm going to say is that when an underage minor arrives at the border, we let him crave. I am not going to do that. No US president has said that before, except Trump.
Biden also scrutinized Mexico for "declining to host" some refugee families who were promptly dismissed by the United States due to pandemics, in a clear source to a Mexican law that has caused the neighboring country not to accept certain expulsions in part of the border, in South Texas.
"We are negotiating with the president of Mexico. He said I think we are going to see a transformation. All should be ready to be restored.
His plans for 2024
The president also made headlines when asked if he will run for reelection in 2024, an issue on which he had avoided being clear until now, amid rumors that he would give the baton to his vice president, Kamala Harris, due to his old age.
"My plan is to run for reelection. Biden replied, That's my intention, "although he later explained that it's tough for him to make long-term strategies because you never knew what could occur in three and a half years.
Biden added that he wants Harris to remain his running mate but was visibly irritated by the question of whether he thinks it would be his turn to run against Trump again.
He just said I don't know or if there would be any republican party until then.
The president left the door open to reform filibusterism, a maneuver that allows the minority party in the Senate, in this case, the Republicans, to block the voting of projects by requiring that 60 votes be gathered first.
Many Democrats argue that without ending that mechanism, Biden will not be able to fulfill many of his more progressive campaign promises, such as immigration reform, fighting the climate crisis, or strengthening gun control.
The US president vowed to act against "sick" attempts by the Republican opposition to restricting the right to vote by passing laws in the state parliaments they dominate.
At the international level, Biden assured that he is "prepared for some kind of diplomacy" with North Korea but conditioned it to "denuclearization its ultimate goal" and issued a warning after recent Pyongyang missile tests.
He warned there would be an answer if they prefer an escalation.
And there was also another warning to China, with whom he admitted that his country has a "tough competition."
Its principal goal of China is to become the first country, the most valuable, and the most influential in the world. That will not happen under my mandate," said Biden, who considered that his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, "does not he has only one democratic bone in his body. "
All in an appearance in which Joe Biden admitted that he would not fulfill his commitment to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan before May.
We will leave. The question is when, said the president, who made it manifest that he did not suppose US troops would reside in the country next year.