Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak share immigration dilemma ahead of crucial elections - Hindustan Times
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Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak share immigration dilemma ahead of crucial elections

Jun 05, 2024 01:52 PM IST

Explained: Why immigration will be a major headache for US President Joe Biden and UK PM Rishi Sunak in election this year

As the U.S. and UK approach critical elections, both countries are battling immigration challenges that have become central issues for their respective leaders.

Why immigration will be a major headache for US President Joe Biden and UK PM Rishi Sunak in election this year
Why immigration will be a major headache for US President Joe Biden and UK PM Rishi Sunak in election this year

Both US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are facing immense pressures from voters concerned and opposition leaders about border security and the impact of immigration on national resources.

Biden's immigration woes linger

In the United States, President Biden has taken a hardline stance by implementing executive actions to limit asylum at the US-Mexico border. This change in policy is a significant departure from his earlier campaign promises to restore asylum protections dismantled during the Trump administration.

Biden aims to address the unprecedented influx of migrants, which has dominated public concern and become a potent weapon for his political adversaries, particularly former President Donald Trump. On the other hand Trump is using immigration as fodder to portray Biden's policies as ineffective and calling for more stringent measures. He has even called for mass deportations and heightened border security .

Polling data also underscores Biden's immigration headache. According to Gallup, immigration has consistently ranked as a top concern for American voters, often surpassing economic worries. 56% Americans believe Biden's handling of immigration has negatively impacted the country. Even among Democrats, there is division, with many expressing dissatisfaction with the current administration's approach.

Rishi Sunak battles small boat concerns

Across the Atlantic, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is similarly embroiled in immigration controversies as he gears up for the upcoming election. Sunak has promised to cut immigration levels, seeking to distinguish the Conservative Party from the opposition Labour Party, which leads in the polls.

The Conservative government has introduced stringent measures to reduce net migration, which remains high despite Brexit's promise of tighter border controls. The latest figures show net immigration at 685,000, a slight decrease from the previous year's record but still significantly higher than pre-Brexit levels .

Sunak's policies have targeted specific categories of immigrants, including international students and care workers, by implementing stricter visa requirements and salary thresholds.

These measures aim to reduce the overall number of migrants and address public concerns about the pressure on housing, education, and healthcare systems. The debate over immigration in the U.K. also includes the contentious issue of asylum seekers crossing the Channel in small boats. Sunak's plan to send these asylum seekers to Rwanda has faced legal challenges and remains unimplemented, adding to the complexities of the immigration debate .

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