In response to The Pivot That Could Have Been
Adding to Rich’s observation of Biden’s lost opportunity for a pivot on other matters, the president’s brief, platitudinous comments on immigration were likewise a lost opportunity. There was no Clintonesque “the era of open borders is over,” but even the comments meant to sound less radical highlighted the administration’s unlimited-immigration perspective.
For instance, the line “we’ve installed new technology like cutting-edge scanners to better detect drug smuggling” was premised on the claim made by administration defenders that drugs only come through ports of entry rather than across the stretches between the ports — the scanners are obviously at legal crossing points, not sitting in the middle of the desert like the toll booth in Blazing Saddles. But it’s clear that the surge of “asylum-seekers” crossing in response to Biden’s rhetoric and policies is facilitating the smuggling of narcotics between the ports, as Border Patrol agents are overwhelmed and pulled off the line to do processing, leaving long stretches of the border unguarded.
Likewise, the phrase “we’ve set up joint patrols with Mexico and Guatemala to catch more human traffickers” is fine as far as it goes, but human traffickers are not the main problem, human smugglers are. Trafficking involves coercion — think sex-slavery — whereas in smuggling, the migrant is a willing participant. There’s sometimes overlap, but the main problem is too many illegal aliens surging across the border, not that a small share of them are being exploited.
Again, when the president said, “We’re putting in place dedicated immigration judges so families fleeing persecution and violence can have their cases heard faster,” he was trying to sneak in an unprecedented expansion of asylum. Fleeing persecution can be grounds for asylum, but fleeing violence is not, especially after crossing through multiple countries that offer asylum. This reflects a regulation the administration has prepared to so dramatically (and unlawfully) expand asylum as to render the border meaningless. So much for the president’s claim that “we need to secure the border.”
The president also called on Congress to “revise our laws so businesses have the workers they need” — this at a time when the share of working-age Americans who are actually working is at a historic low. Often called a market-based approach to legal immigration, this simply means unlimited immigration. That’s also what Biden’s phrase “and families don’t wait decades to reunite” means — the reason for the waiting lists is that there are numerical limits for certain categories of immigrants. No limits, no waiting!
And finally, while it’s not new, the president’s assurance that his amnesty/increased-immigration proposal “is supported by everyone from labor unions to religious leaders to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce” just reminds people that all the leading institutions of our society — Big Labor, Big Business, Big Religion, not to mention Big Media, Big Academia, Big Philanthropy, etc. — are all united in opposition to immigration limits, whatever other disagreements they might have.
There’s still hope for next year, if the Democrats’ shellacking in November is catastrophic enough. And it might be. A new Harvard-Harris poll shows public approval of the president’s handling of immigration is lower now than was approval of his handling of Afghanistan while the debacle was underway. As my colleague Art Arthur wrote today, “When the president’s handling of the Afghanistan disaster in real time is beating his current handling of immigration, it is time for a rethink in White House immigration policies.”
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