Just weeks after Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador hosted leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean nations to discuss out-of-control illegal immigration, President Joe Biden decided it was time to join the ranks. The president hosted leaders from 11 countries in the Western Hemisphere, where he described a diplomatic approach to immigration that was more akin to “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” than actually shoring up the porous border.
Although migration was touted by the White House, the subject of the southern border was merely a blurb in the real message: more fair and equitable trade. The Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity, created in the summer of 2022, includes Barbados, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay.
Biden boasted of his genius strategy to the leaders gathered in the East Room: “Together, we’re expanding opportunities for working people in both our nations, I believe, including through our Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity.” In the brief two-hour meeting, the president emphasized that if the economies were strong in South and Central America, migrants wouldn’t clamor to swim the Rio Grande and suffer the harsh climes of the Southwest desert.
As a long-term plan, enabling the people of other democratic governments to enrich themselves makes sense. But without any real solutions for the here and now, it’s just kicking the can down the street for the next leader of the Free World to rectify. And that’s why Texas and Florida keep busing immigrants to sanctuary cities.
Immigration and Sanctuary Cities
While Biden met with leaders from south of the border, he ignored pleas for help closer to home. Five mayors noodled on a plan and penned a letter asking for a meet and greet with the president. “Right now, Denver is spending almost $2 million a week on shelter, New York City has surpassed $1.7 billion in spending, and Chicago has spent over $320 million,” the group wrote to Biden. “Our cities need additional resources that far exceed the amount proposed in order to properly care for the asylum seekers entering our communities.”
It’s poor optics for leaders who have professed their welcomeness and love for illegal immigrants to have to admit it was all chest puffery for votes. So the mayors, including Mike Johnston of Denver and Eric Adams of the Big Apple, aimed to salvage their political currency with the electorate by begging Biden for $5 billion to cover the cost of the newest arrivals to their cities.
But the president skipped the meeting and sent his minions in his place. Biden has developed a habit of ignoring people who disagree with his immigration policies these days. On top of that, Adams ran into a bit of a pickle on the trip. The FBI raided the Brooklyn residence of one of his campaign fundraisers, Brianna Suggs, over accusations of illegally using straw donors to funnel Turkish money into Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign.
Political Shell Games
Though he chose to keep his appointment with the other world leaders, Biden certainly didn’t dally. By the time coffee and pastries were consumed, the summit was nearly over. There was no message for stabilizing the southern border. There was no clear commitment to the American people from the president. Rather, it was a promise to unify nations through economic success. “By combining the commitment of the United States government to mitigate investment risk with the agility of private sector financing, we believe we can deliver gains for workers and families throughout the region,” was Mr. Biden’s message on illegal immigration. The administration has so far played the shell game on immigration – and that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.