How would a President Newsom handle border, immigration policy?

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After a rough debate performance from President Biden, some Democrats have raised the possibility of him stepping aside for a new nominee, with California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s name being mentioned as a possibility — but how would he handle the border crisis?

Should Biden resign immediately, Vice President Kamala Harris would be the automatic successor. However, if Biden were to say he did not wish to serve a second term, the Democratic National Convention could elect a new 2024 candidate.

Newsom has been mentioned repeatedly as a potential presidential nominee, although he did not throw his hat in the ring for either the 2020 or the 2024 race. However, his name has been raised in conversations in the wake of last week’s presidential debate, where Biden was widely seen to have fared poorly.

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If he were to become the candidate to replace Biden, he could inherit a thorny situation at the southern border. While numbers have decreased in the last months, numbers are still high compared to the pre-Biden years, after which the U.S. has seen records repeatedly broken in terms of encounters.

Newsom would have some experience on this issue given he is a governor of a border state. He has also been vocal on the subject in a number of ways, and as a close Biden ally, would likely represent a continuation of the approach taken by the Biden administration. 

In April, he came out in full support of Biden’s efforts to get more funding and a comprehensive immigration reform bill from Congress.

“Let’s be clear: President Biden is doing all he can to fund border security and humanitarian efforts while Republicans in Congress are choosing border chaos for political gain,” he said.

Newsom supported a Biden-backed bipartisan Senate package this year which would provide more funding to border communities and cities receiving migrants, while putting some limits on entries at the border. However, he joined Biden in accusing Republicans of undermining reform efforts.

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His office has also previously pointed to California’s moves to provide more than $1.3 billion for humanitarian aid and related services to local communities since 2019. Awards to non-profits have allowed for over 500,000 migrants to be sheltered since 2021.

While he shares that funding-first focus, there are also signs that the governor could take more radical steps than President Biden.

This year, California became the first state to offer health insurance to all illegal immigrants, regardless of age, through Medi-Cal — California’s Medicaid program. The ambitious move, which built on previous moves allowing young adults and the elderly to access insurance, was predicted to aid more than 700,000 illegal immigrants in the state.

Newsom told reporters that it was based on a principle.

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“In California, we believe everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care coverage – regardless of income or immigration status,” he said.

However, he later took some heat from activists when he moved to stop paying for caregivers to the homes of disabled people living in the country illegally. The move was targeted to save about $94 million as the state faced a deficit.

Some outlets also noted that Newsom neither criticized nor praised a Biden executive order limiting asylum claims when encounters reach a certain level.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THE BORDER SECURITY CRISIS

Instead, he focused on criticizing Republicans, claiming that the “only thing they’re interested in is playing politics.”

Newsom has also taken an aggressive stance towards Florida’s efforts to send migrants to his state, suggesting he may continue the Biden administration’s strategy of suing red states that have taken immigration matters into their own hands. 

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Last year, when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent flights to California, Newsom suggested that he may file kidnapping charges against his Republican counterpart. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.