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What’s the current state of the union?

Listening to President Joe Biden give this annual presidential speech last night, it appears to be a roller coaster of high highs and low lows. There’s economic growth and prosperity, and there’s also the risk of democracy crumbling.

Biden’s sweeping address was a mishmash of many issues − including the economy, reproductive rights and U.S. involvement in foreign wars − that are weighing on the country in the lead-up to the presidential election.

Biden also called for immediate congressional action on a bipartisan immigration bill that failed to pass the Senate this year, but that he says is necessary for addressing surging border crossings.

There’s a reason why immigration has become a top concern for Americans, explains immigration legal scholar Jean Lantz Reisz of the University of Southern California. And there are also clear limits to what the president alone can do to respond to immigration challenges.

“The president’s power regarding immigration is limited to enforcing existing immigration laws. But the president has broad authority over how to enforce those laws,” Reisz explains in today’s top story.

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Amy Lieberman

Politics + Society Editor

President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address on March 7, 2024. Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

Biden defends immigration policy during State of the Union, blaming Republicans in Congress for refusing to act

Jean Lantz Reisz, University of Southern California

A rising number of Americans say that immigration is the country’s biggest problem. Biden called for Congress to pass a bipartisan border and immigration bill during his State of the Union.

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The Conversation Quiz 🧠

  • Here’s the first question of this week’s edition:

    Joe Biden and Donald Trump nearly swept the Super Tuesday voting, but Trump failed to carry one state and Biden failed to carry one territory. Which state and territory were they?

    1. A. Georgia and Guam
    2. B. Vermont and American Samoa
    3. C. California and the District of Columbia
    4. D. Maine and Puerto Rico

    Test your knowledge