Border Rush Has Trampled Joe Biden’s Immigration Policy, Say Critics

US President Joe Biden stands alongside Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas (L) after signing executive orders related to immigration in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, February 2, 2021. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden has lost control of his migration policy as the growing number of determined, cellphone-linked migrants push their way through the border and drag down his poll ratings, say GOP critics.

On Wednesday, Biden put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of slowing the great migration into the United States: “The Vice President … agreed to lead our diplomatic effort and work with those nations to accept returnees, and enhanced migration enforcement at their borders — at their borders,” Biden said in a March 24 statement [emphasis added]. “We’re already talking to Mexico about that,” he revealed.

Two days later, Harris’s spokeswoman said she would focus on issues other than enforcement, such as “root causes.”

“This is an amazing dismissal by a vice president of her president in a very public fashion,” said Ken Cuccinelli, who served as deputy homeland security chief under President Donald Trump. “I cannot ever remember seeing this happen before.”

In Biden’s first presidential press conference, on March 25, Biden appeared to reverse his administration’s border policy, saying that all migrant families should be sent back into Mexico: “They should all be going back, all be going back,” he said.

That dramatic statement was met with silence throughout the D.C. establishment and media, while Biden’s deputies continued to allow almost 90 percent of families to cross the border.

Biden also hinted in his press conference that he would change policy on “Unaccompanied Alien Children” (UACs) in border shelters, saying, “I asked my team …  [to] focus on the most vulnerable immediately,” Biden said.

But no policy change was announced by Monday.

Biden also said that officials must ensure that the UACs are not handed over to traffickers, saying “there has to be some certitude that [they are handed over to] the … mom, dad, or whomever. And there’s ways to do that … [by] seeking harder data, from DNA to birth certificates, which takes longer.”

Two days later, the Wall Street Journal reported, “The Biden team is looking to speed releases despite concerns that the vetting problems could recur, according to people inside the administration, in a sign of their urgent desire to move children out of government care faster.”

GOP leaders are puzzling over the apparent confusion in the White House.

“Either President Biden believes in open borders, or the people that he has put in charge of his immigration policy … don’t have any sense,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) told Fox News Channel March 28.

But “everything the White House says is purely for American consumption,” counters Ken Cuccinelli, who served as an acting deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security under President Donald Trump. “Their only political concern is the radical [pro-migration] base … They actually want large numbers of illegal aliens to come into the country,” Cuccinelli said.

“Not only is Biden not in control, but he’s not in sync with the rest of his [pro-migration] administration,” a GOP staffer told Breitbart News. “This is why [his staff] don’t let him out of the house,” he added.

The contradictions exist but are not important enough for Biden to care, said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. For example, the contradiction with Harris was likely caused by Biden going off-script in his public statement to talk about the popular demand for “enforcement,” he said. But Harris shrugged off Biden’s gaffe, he said, adding:

The question is, what kind of President does Biden want to be? His whole goal in life was to have “President” before his first name, that’s it. And so what does he care what the immigration policy is?  … He’s just mouthing the sounds that he thinks are appropriate.

I don’t know that there is anybody in charge. It’s just that on immigration, all of the staff have a broad take that whatever Trump did was bad. But now it’s blowing up in their faces and so they’re not quite sure how to deal with it — but I don’t think Biden is really part of that picture.

There is much evidence that Biden and his progressive deputies triggered the border rush, despite insistent denials from Biden’s allies.

“Expectations were created that with the government of President Biden, there would be a better treatment of migrants,” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said March 23. “This has caused Central American migrants, and also from our country, wanting to cross the border thinking that it is easier to do so,” he added.

Starting on the 2020 campaign trail and accelerating after January 20, Biden and his deputies tacitly encouraged the still-growing wave of migrants. After the inauguration, they quickly demolished President Donald Trump’s diplomatic deals with Mexico and the Central American countries, told U.S. enforcement agencies to stand down, promised an amnesty to all migrants who could claim they were in the United States on January 1, and pushed a migration bill that would dramatically expand the already massive flow of foreigners into Americans’ jobs, housing, and schools.

“Every action that they’ve taken has suggested that ‘If you come and if you get here, you will find a way to find work and find opportunity, and be able to stay here forever,’” the former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a March 24 interview with the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Pompeo added:

When that’s the case, [migrants] are not going to listen to American messaging. They’re going to listen to the text message or the WhatsApp, or the email or the phone call they have with their cousin or their family member or their friend who’s here and says, “Come, take the risk, it’s worth the try.”

But Biden’s White House is now zig-zagging as the tide of migrants rises and the polls show growing public opposition.

The border meltdown is bad for Biden’s polls, it distracts his attention, and it threatens his ambitious legislative agenda. GOP senators are already citing the border crush as a reason to not even talk about legislation to provide illegal migrants with citizenship.

So Biden is starting to talk about policy changes — including a possible multi-layered deal with Mexico.

A March 18 report by the New York Times said:

Anticipating a surge of migrants and the most apprehensions by American agents at the border in two decades, Mr. Biden asked President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico in a video call this month whether more could be done to help solve the problem, according to Mexican officials and another person briefed on the conversation.

The two presidents also discussed the possibility of the United States sending Mexico some of its surplus vaccine supply, a senior Mexican official said. Mexico has publicly asked the Biden administration to send it doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Mexico wants Biden to pay for any curbs on migrants. On February 27, for example, Obrador said he would like to send 600,000 to 800,000 temporary workers to the United States each year. “It’s better to manage the migration flow, legalizing it to provide guarantees to workers, so they don’t risk their lives, so their human rights are protected,” Lopez Obrador said.

The U.S. did send a shipment of more than two million vaccines to Mexico. On March 29, Mexico’s foreign minister suggested the U.S. pay $2 billion into a fund run by the Mexican government.

“There is no evidence that the negotiations with Mexico are going anywhere,” a Hill staffer told Breitbart. “It’s possible they’re doing it privately, and they’re not sharing it, but everything they’re sharing publicly is not real negotiation,” the staffer said.

Still, Biden — or his White House staff — is likely to extend Trump’s Title 42 anti-epidemic rule. The rule is bitterly opposed by pro-migration groups — and disliked by Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden’s zealously pro-migration homeland defense secretary.

“I expect that [extension] decision will be made with our health team in the lead,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said March 23. “Obviously, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. 1,400 people are still dying in our country every day. I don’t think we’re at that point in the process.”

The Title 42 rule allows Biden’s deputies to tell the public that they are excluding migrants — even though they are quietly accepting almost 90 percent of women and children. The rule also allows them to tell their pro-migration base that the disease requires them to exclude some migrants.

The White House has also bumped Mayorkas out of a visible role in the migration talks with Mexico and the Central American countries, said Krikorian. Instead of giving the lead to Mayorkas, he said, the White House staff put their people in charge of the outreach, including Roberta Jacobson, the special assistant to the president and coordinator for the southwest border.

Biden’s team has also announced a top-level role to Harris — but she seems determined to minimize her visibility. On Friday, her White House spokesperson revised and extended the president’s remarks to exclude “enforcement,” saying, “the president asked the vice president to take on the diplomatic effort, with Mexico and countries in the northern triangle to address the root causes of migration.”

On March 29, Politico posted a long article that tried to describe Harris’s leading role in the migration debate, but it failed to sketch any policies or fixes that she might promote. One of her aides set the bar very low:

“The problem cannot be solved by one person or in four or eight years, as has been proved by the litany of past failures by people of good will and talent,” a person close to the vice president who is unauthorized to speak to the press said. “But that’s not bad for her necessarily because any improvement over the status quo should be a win.”

Krikorian said:

The [White House] people actually running the White House took immigration policy away from Mayorkas. But none of that has to do with [decisions by] Biden — he’s just wandering around in his slippers, waiting for the pudding snack in the afternoon, while the people who actually run things fight among each other [in the White House].

That leaves Mayorkas much freedom to push pro-migration policies at his Department of Homeland Security.

For example, Mayorkas is rapidly building up the facilities that are needed to provide many migrants with the legal paperwork they need to stay in the United States.

Mayorkas is now allowing almost 90 percent of mothers and children through the Title 42 healthcare curbs at the border. “We are using it as a Title 42 authority was intended, and not as a bludgeoning tool under immigration law that the prior president used,” Mayorkas said.

The Washington Post reported on March 28 that his officials are planning to welcome up to 800,000 family migrants by October 2021. The number could easily exceed 1.5 once the record flow of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and the hard-to-count adult illegal migrants are added to the yearly total.

The task of processing the family migrants is allowing a rapid climb in the number of adults sneaking across the border. Many of those illegal aliens will reunite with their wives and children in towns and cities around the nation.

Mayorkas has taken numerous steps to encourage legal and illegal migration. For example, he stopped the Trump flights that transported the arrested single male migrants to their home countries. Now the migrants are simply being pushed back into Mexico, where they can try again. “That’s the wonderful thing now,” Lucio Portillo, a 44-year-old Honduran migrant, told the March 24 Wall Street Journal. “You have the opportunity to bat again and again — that’s better for us,” he said.

Mayorkas is also preparing a regulation that will help many more migrants push through the asylum, UAC, parole, and refugee side-doors in the nation’s immigration laws, which bring in about one million people per year. “We know how to secure the border, we know how to care for children, and we know how to build legal and safe pathways to the United States that the law provides,” Mayorkas said mid-March.

Mayorkas “uses the word ‘inhumane’ with respect to enforcing immigration law.” said Cuccinelli. “If that’s your starting point, then you have told everyone you’re not going to enforce the law.”

Mayorkas and his allies are so pro-migration that they are unwilling to take even minor steps to mollify the public, said Cuccinelli.

“The politically easiest thing they could do is ratchet up the deportations of [foreign] criminals — they could emphasize criminals who are committing domestic violence or abusing children — but they are not doing that,” he said. “Those people are all protected — [Under Biden’s rules] if you’re not a convicted rapist or a murderer or terrorist, you stay.”

Many Democrats deny their creation of the migrant rush. “It wasn’t like on Jan. 20, the floodgates opened, and everybody came in,” a White House official told Huffington Post. Under Trump, he added, “these numbers have been increasing. It’s just that they were deported.”

And Biden’s rhetorical efforts to curb the border surge are half-hearted, said Krikorian. For example, he repeatedly expressed sympathy for migrants during his press conference and repeated the Cold War claim that Americans’ homeland is a “Nation of Immigrants.” Biden said:

When my great grandfather got on a coffin ship in the Irish Sea, expectation was: Was he going to live long enough on that ship to get to the United States of America? But they left because of what the Brits had been doing. They were in real, real trouble. They didn’t want to leave. But they had no choice. So you got — we can’t — I can’t guarantee we’re going to solve everything, but I can guarantee we can make everything better. We can make it better. We can change the lives of so many people.

Amid the turmoil, business advocates for more migration have been notably silent about the turmoil in the White House.

On March 29, however, a spokesman for Mark Zuckerberg’s FWD.us advocacy group of investors declared the group’s support for the White House’s easy-migration policy. In an op-ed for USAToday, he told progressives that their only choice is to either stick with Biden or become a Trump ally:

Cruelty doesn’t equal strength and it certainly isn’t an effective long-term border strategy. So we are left with a binary choice: return to Trump’s failed policies, or embrace a new approach. Biden has a plan to finally take action on the root causes of migration and to fix our long broken immigration system. He should continue to follow through on it.

Investors are not concerned about the fine details of immigration policy. They just want more bodies — more legal or illegal workers to hold wages down, more renters to push up real-estate values, more K-12 children to boost government spending, and more diversity to fracture public demands for higher wages.

FWD.us is likely the biggest business group now pushing for more migration into the United States. On March 19, the group announced its advocacy chief was taking a job in the White House as “Senior Advisor for Migration.”

The group’s wealthy West Coast investors have had stakes in a wide variety of companies — Uber and DoorDash, for example. So they gain from any inflow of any migrants — skilled or unskilled, diligent or dullards, toddlers or terminally ill, saints or scholars, dropouts or graduates.

“Who is screwed the worst by this? — American poor people,” said Cuccinelli. He explained:

They are dumping illegal labor into the low end of our labor market. At the end of 2019, Donald Trump achieved the lowest poverty rate in American history, 10.4 percent.

Deregulation and tax cuts were great for the economy, but that doesn’t do it for poor people. What really pushes poor people forward is when you do those sorts of economic stimulus things and you cut down on the illegal entrants into the labor pool at the lower end. Their wages rose by more substantial percentage than any other part of our economy, because we were attacking illegal immigration more vigorously than anybody else.

These people proclaim they’re the defenders of the poor, yet they’re screwing the poor and nobody is talking about that.

But the polls are shifting against Biden and are threatening his legislative agenda in Congress.

For example, 44 percent of independent voters say the immigration has “gotten worse” under Biden, according to a March 19-21 poll conducted by Politico and Morning Consult. Just 12 percent say it has “gotten better,” said the poll of 1994 registered voters.

But there is room for a bigger shift against Biden. Twenty-nine percent of independents said immigration has “stayed the same” under Biden, likely because they do not follow or care about the issue.

For example, a YouGov March 23-25 poll of 1,606 adults was conducted for Yahoo! News, and it asked, “Who do you think bears most of the blame for the situation at the border?” Overall, 66 percent of adults gave most, some, or a little blame to Biden, while just 19 percent said he serves no blame. Just 35 percent of his 2020 voters give him “no blame.”

For many years, a wide variety of pollsters have shown deep and broad American opposition to legal migration, labor migration, and the inflow of temporary contract workers into jobs sought by young U.S. graduates.

The multiracialcross-sexnon-racistclass-basedintra-Democrat, and solidarity-themed opposition to labor migration coexists with generally favorable personal feelings toward legal immigrants and toward immigration in theory — despite the media magnification of many skewed polls and articles still pushing the 1950s corporate “Nation of Immigrants” claim.

The deep public opposition is built on the widespread recognition that migration does move money from employees to employers and from families to investors.

Since 1990, two generations of Americans have seen mass migration move wealth from young to old, from children to their parents, from homebuyers to real estate investors, and from the central states to the coastal states. But it is an open question whether the GOP will try in 2022 to halt or even partway repair the economic damage done to so many Americans.

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