A handful of open-border zealots and advocates of immigration enforcement as a deterrent have quit President Joe Biden’s agencies amid infighting between the two camps over the president’s chaotic and unpopular migration policies.
The political turmoil born out of the Haitian migrant caravan that gathered at a makeshift camp in Del Rio, Texas, laid bare the months-long internal rift between political appointees with vastly different views on immigration.
Even leftist outlets highlighted the infighting within the Biden administration, noting that it had drawn Democrat lawmakers into a rare political battle with the White House, several of them lambasting the president over his handling of the Haitian migrant crisis.
Biden’s approach to immigration led by officials whose disagreements have become a hurdle to any solutions appears to be tearing his administration apart.
President Biden appointed progressives adverse to minimal enforcement of U.S. immigration laws and relatively “moderate” advocates of using the law to deter future caravans of illegal aliens to high-level positions at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
CNN conceded on September 16 that putting both camps in charge of making consequential decisions triggered the infighting that has already “stalled decision making on key issues” that may have prevented the Del Rio debacle.
The vastly different views between the two groups ultimately yielded a “schizophrenic” and incoherent immigration policy that attempts to appease both the progressives and the less-radical “others.”
Citing unnamed government officials on September 23, BuzzFeed reported that a leadership vacuum at DHS had fueled the brewing tensions over immigration.
“There is a complete lack of direction,” one of 30 unnamed Biden officials interviewed by BuzzFeed declared.
Officials began to defect from the Biden camp as the DHS grappled with the thousands of mostly Haitian migrants gathered at the now-cleared camp in Del Rio from September 12 to 24, among other major challenges.
Robert Law, the director of regulatory affairs and policy for the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), told Breitbart News that both progressives and “moderate” political appointees are abandoning the Biden ship.
“The DHS specific resignations were ‘moderate’ political appointees who tried to be the voice of reason but were rebuffed by the likes of [DHS Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas and … the White House,” he said.
“On the other hand, the non-DHS resignations I view as coming from the far left progressive end who are outraged by even token enforcement such as sending a small number of Haitians back to Haiti,” he added.
He warned that the DHS resignations are “troubling because the only appointees left are extremists who despise immigration enforcement and want to give the entire world’s population an immigration benefit here regardless of eligibility.”
On September 13, Karen Olick, the chief of staff to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, announced that she was stepping down to pursue another undisclosed opportunity.
David Shahoulian, a senior Biden official at DHS considered an influential figure on border matters, announced his resignation the following day, citing personal reasons.
Two anonymous Biden officials suggested to NBC News that the administration could have averted the Del Rio situation, noting “that the debate over starting deportations before the migrant surge in Del Rio, Texas, was a political battle between progressives and others at DHS and that the progressives won, delaying deportation flights” that may have removed the Haitian migrants before they gathered at the camp.
On September 3, BuzzFeed revealed on social media that John Trasviña, appointed by Biden to serve as the top attorney at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was leaving the agency, a component of DHS.
“His planned departure follows another Biden appointee — a lead spokesperson — who has left ICE,” the reporter added without providing a name for the spokesperson.
NEW: The Biden administration's head ICE attorney, John Trasvina, plans to leave the agency, per sources — his planned departure follows another Biden appointee — a lead spokesperson – who has left ICE.
— Hamed Aleaziz (@Haleaziz) September 3, 2021
The Department of State was not immune to the resignations.
Senior State Department officials resigned “in protest of the Biden administration’s policy of forcibly deporting Haitian migrants in what they described as a cruel and inhumane practice,” Foreign Policy (FP) reported this month.
“Daniel Foote, the special envoy for Haiti, and Harold Koh, the State Department’s senior legal advisor, fueled a new political battle between Biden and his allies in Congress—a rare sign of discord in the Democratic Party over the president’s foreign-policy agenda,” it added.
Foote resigned on September 23, saying he will “not be associated with the United States’ inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian refugees.”
Koh, the only political appointee on the State Department’s legal team, left his position in early October over Biden’s use of the pandemic control measure (Title 42) invoked by his predecessor that allows immigration authorities to deport any migrant, including asylum-seekers.
On his way out, Koh, who still serves in a consulting role, sent a scathing internal memo dated October 2 criticizing Biden’s use of Title 42 as “illegal” and “inhumane,” Politico reported.
Citing interviews with 20 unnamed government officials — including appointees and career staffers at DHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) who focus on immigration, BuzzFeed noted, “To some, the first seven months of Biden’s administration have yielded a disjointed approach that pushes some progressive policies while favoring others that restrict immigration, especially at the border.”