by David Catron
When the inevitable assessments of President Biden’s first 100 days in office begin to appear, his precipitous actions pursuant to illegal immigration at the southern border will be judged by most honest observers to have been his worst blunder. That is certainly the perspective of the majority of Americans, according to three recent public opinion surveys. An NPR/Marist poll, for example, found that 53 percent of respondents disapproved of Biden’s handling of immigration. An ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 57 percent were dissatisfied with his management of the situation, particularly as it affects unaccompanied minors. An AP/NORC poll found that 56 percent were unhappy with Biden’s performance on immigration.
Additionally, the ABC/Ipsos poll found that 54 percent of the respondents chose the word “crisis” to describe the current border situation, and 45 percent of the AP/NORC respondents said they were “extremely/very concerned” about illegal immigration. Nor has Biden reassured Americans with his lies about the crisis. On March 25, for example, he said his administration was sending back the vast majority of the families that were coming across the border. Politifact found that assertion to be untrue: “Biden’s claim is inaccurate. We rate it False.” At the same presser, he said the surge of unaccompanied minors is comparable to that of early 2019, when Trump was president. NBC News debunked that claim:
Biden specifically mentions children, and that’s where his facts are incorrect. There is a far bigger surge of unaccompanied minor children right now than there was two years ago. From January to February 2019, there was a 31 percent surge in children stopped by CBP. From January to February 2021, there has been a 61 percent surge in those stops. What’s more, the February numbers do not address what’s happening right now in March. As of March 23, there were 4,962 children in CBP custody, well above the 30-day average of 3,243, according to an update from the Department of Health and Human Services.
And the surge did indeed continue its dramatic upward trajectory in March. USA Today reports, “The number of migrant encounters at the United States southern border increased 71% since February … U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered more than 172,000 people attempting to enter the United States along the southwest border in March – up from 100,441 in February.” This marks a 15-year high, according to the Washington Post. The number of unaccompanied minors flooding across the border doubled from February to March, reaching 18,890 — by far the largest number to cross the border during any previous month in history. The previous record, 11,861, was set in May 2019.
There are also more than 20,000 unaccompanied minors in U.S. government custody, according to CBS News. The report neglected to note that this figure far exceeds the highest number held at any one time by the Trump administration. At least 4,200 of these minors are sleeping in “Border Patrol tents and stations” while another 16,000 are in “HHS shelters and emergency housing facilities.” The report mentions no politicians comparing these places to Nazi concentration camps. In fact, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) advises us to avoid “false equivalents” between the Biden and Trump policies. We shouldn’t raise awkward issues such those as the New York Post recently brought up:
Vice President Kamala Harris was tapped two weeks ago to “lead efforts” to stem the crisis on the southern border — but she still has not visited the crossing.… Instead, in her first two weeks as czar, she has traveled to Connecticut, Chicago and home to California over the Easter weekend and has presided over swearing in ceremonies, touted the administration’s coronavirus stimulus package and the COVID response, visited vaccination sites, lunched with the president, attended a Cabinet meeting, and held listening sessions with faith leaders and small business owners, her public schedule showed.
The vice president’s lack of interest in visiting the border suggests that she doesn’t understand certain important realities that will inevitably arise from the increasingly out-of-control crisis. First, this level of overcrowding inevitably leads to inhumane conditions, including violence, sexual abuse, disease, and even starvation. On Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called on the Biden administration to shut down an overcrowded child migrant facility located in his state: “The Biden administration caused this crisis and has repeatedly failed to address it. The administration failed to plan for the influx of children that they invited to come. Now they face allegations of despicable child abuse and neglect.”
A second issue relating to the border crisis that Harris doesn’t grasp involves national security. Fox News reports that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has requested a classified briefing from the FBI and CIA over two Yemeni men on the FBI’s terror watch list who were allegedly caught crossing the U.S.–Mexico border, and he wants Vice President Harris to attend: “I know she hasn’t been to the border. I don’t know if she’s ever been briefed on this, but I think it’d be important to all the leaders.” It isn’t clear that Harris is interested in attending the briefing. But the Biden administration is mulling one solution to the crisis that will surprise many voters. The Washington Times reports,
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told department employees he may restart border wall construction to plug what he called “gaps” in the current barrier. In a conversation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees last week Mr. Mayorkas was asked about his plans for the wall and he said that while President Biden has canceled the border emergency and halted Pentagon money flowing to the wall, “that leaves room to make decisions” on finishing some “gaps in the wall.” Mr. Mayorkas … has submitted a plan for what it wants to see happen moving forward.
If this suggests the Biden administration is coming to its senses on immigration and border security, don’t bet on it. Biden is a sock puppet in the grasp of the Democratic Party’s left wing, and Harris is even less influential than most VPs. That Biden’s poll numbers are underwater on immigration and border security is of little concern to the people who make his mouth move. He’s obviously not a serious political force in the long term, and they need “undocumented citizens” to remain viable. If Biden’s credibility with the voters crashes and burns pursuant to his purported immigration policies, they’ll just get another sock.
– – –
David Catron is a recovering health care consultant and frequent contributor to The American Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter at @Catronicus.