Biden touts ‘rule of law’ in polarizing speech, as border is overrun with illegal migrants

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President Biden, in a divisive speech taking aim at “MAGA Republicans” Thursday night, touted the importance of the “rule of law” — even as hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants hit the border each month, many of whom are released into the country.

Biden used the address, outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, to launch attacks against President Trump and his supporters while declaring that “equality and democracy are under assault.” He also said that American democracy only works if the “rule of law” is respected and slammed those who he claimed did not respect it.

“MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution,” Biden said, flanked by Marines and with a deep-red background behind him. “They do not believe in the rule of law.  They do not recognize the will of the people.”

“This is a nation that believes in the rule of law,” he said at another point in the speech. “We do not repudiate it.”


President Biden delivers remarks on what he calls the "continued battle for the Soul of the Nation" in front of Independence Hall at Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, U.S., September 1, 2022. 

President Biden delivers remarks on what he calls the “continued battle for the Soul of the Nation” in front of Independence Hall at Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, U.S., September 1, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

“American democracy only works if we choose to respect the rule of law and the institutions that were set up in this chamber behind me, only if we respect our legitimate political differences,” 

However, Biden spoke as an overwhelming and ongoing migrant crisis continues to ravage the border since he took office. Currently, around 200,000 illegal migrants hit the border each month. There have been more than two million migrant encounters this fiscal year alone, after a record-setting 1.7 million last fiscal year.

While some are expelled under the Title 42 public health order — which the Biden administration is seeking to end, but has so far been blocked by a federal court — most migrants are released into the U.S. ahead of a court hearing that can be more than a year away. Asylum hearings can take five to eight years to complete, and the vast majority are ultimately denied.

The Biden administration has stopped border wall construction, ended asylum agreements that would see illegal immigrants sent to closer Central American countries to claim asylum, and stopped the Migrant Protection Protocols — which kept migrants in Mexico for their asylum process.


Meanwhile, the administration has been narrowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement priorities to just recent border crossers, aggravated felons and national security threats — meaning the vast majority of those in the country illegally are not targeted for arrest or deportation. As a result, arrests and deportations have plummeted since Biden took office. A court order recently ordered the administration to halt the narrowed priorities.

Critics have accused the administration of not enforcing immigration law, including laws that require that illegal immigrants be detained on entry to the U.S. The Biden administration has claimed its mass-release policies are in line with U.S. laws, including allowing those who turn up at the border to claim asylum — even those who have passed through multiple countries, or have even flown to the continent from Africa and the Middle East. It has also claimed the border is “secure.”

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which calls for lower levels of immigration, tore into Biden for his touting of the rule of law on Thursday evening.

“If ever there was an administration that does not respect the rule of law, it is this one,” FAIR President Dan Stein said in a statement. “There is no more glaring example of lawlessness than the Biden administration’s gutting of immigration laws and border enforcement. This administration is not just refusing to enforce nearly every immigration and border enforcement law on the books, the president’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, in a series of policy memos, has put it in writing. Moreover, the Biden administration is defying a federal court order to resume immigration enforcement.”


Stein accused the administration of “openly” refusing to remove illegal immigrants unless they are violent felons or terrorists.

“Time and again, when immigration laws are at odds with their own political objectives, our laws get chucked in the trash can,” he said. “That is the hallmark of an authoritarian dictatorship, not a constitutional republic.”

Meanwhile, former Trump-era acting Director of National Intelligence Director Richard Grenell contrasted Biden’s statements with support of jurisdictions which refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.

“Joe Biden talks about the rule of law but supports Sanctuary Cities,” he said.


Meanwhile, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, whose office this week revealed that the head of Border Patrol had testified that encounters increase when there are “no consequences” for illegal entry, also accused the Biden administration of flouting the law on the border.

That testimony came as part of a lawsuit that charges that the agencies under Biden’s direction are failing to follow established federal law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act, that requires officials to detain illegal aliens at the border until they are sent back to their country of citizenship.

“Not only are they completely ignoring public safety immigration laws to the detriment to the security of our nation, they are also building new programs that are unlawful to bring more people over here that are illegal,” she said on Fox Business. “This administration is absolutely no question sacrificing the safety of our nation for politics.”

Fox News’ Kelly Laco contributed to this report.

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