Under the auspices of national security spending for Israel, the White House has announced a plan to secure America’s southern border. The program couches the initiative in humanitarian clothing with provisions supporting “legal pathways” and “work authorization,” but at core President Joe Biden is now doing what he and other Democrats prevented Donald Trump from doing: increasing border security and personnel. Given the scourge of fentanyl-related deaths, poverty, and homelessness infecting major US cities, however, the Biden strategy now is much like closing the proverbial barn doors after the horses have fled. Angry voter pushback is prompting the White House to acknowledge the draftiness of its policies.
Immigration reform was named a top issue for Biden during the 2020 election campaign. But just hours after his inauguration, Biden suspended Trump’s Remain in Mexico program, promising kinder, more welcoming immigration policies. This raised expectations for entry-seekers and was consistent with far-left calls for open borders. The subsequent rush to relocate to America is understandable: Rarely have the nation’s pathways to citizenship been so greased.
With the 2024 election looming, the lackluster border accomplishments of the Biden administration have soured voters. Increasingly, citizens of color, scolded by Biden that they “ain’t black” unless they vote for him, are rejecting such racist trolling and demanding policies that will protect them. The recent call for funding for Israel and Ukraine includes a response in the form of detailed plans to improve border security.
Connecting two disparate wars in one funding request is awkward enough, seeking to bridge (or co-opt) a cultural divide between factions of Americans intensely loyal to Israel versus those clamoring to wipe the Middle East sands clean “from the river to the sea,” and between those fervently calling for more bombs in Ukraine and growing numbers becoming disenchanted by that dubious conflict.
The recent White House FACT SHEET says it all in its title: “White House Calls on Congress to Advance Critical National Security Priorities.” Listed alongside the Ukraine and Israel conflicts are the desperately overdue needs at the southern border:
“The Administration is asking Congress to provide the resources our law enforcement personnel need to secure the southwest border and stop the flow of fentanyl into our country. President Biden continues to implement a regional migration strategy focused on enforcement, diplomacy, legal pathways, and work authorization. The plan has resulted in the largest expansion of legal pathways in decades, increased the number of law enforcement personnel along the border, and expedited removals of unlawful crossings thanks to historic diplomatic agreements.”
As the fact sheet indicates, POTUS has focused on increasing entry, not reducing it: The nearly porous border is an international joke. Three-quarters of the way through a failing presidential term, Democrats, realizing their recklessness, are trying to shore up the border. The new plan requests funding for 1,300 new border patrol agents, 100 “cutting-edge” inspection machines to detect fentanyl, and 100 law enforcement personnel to pursue cartels and interdict fentanyl trafficking. Yet policies that expand immigrant rights encourage more people to risk the pilgrimage to America: 1,600 new asylum officers, 375 new immigration judge teams, grants for food and shelter to local governments (read “sanctuary states and cities”), “expansion of lawful pathways,” resettling support for new arrivals, and funding for child labor investigations (among others).
Many argue Biden should have focused on the fentanyl and cartel crises out of the inaugural gate. Instead, he assisted foreigners clustered by the Rio Grande to enter the country illegally. In 2021, he was roundly criticized for this risky tack but refused to apologize, stating, “I make no apologies for ending programs that did not exist before Trump became president that have an incredibly negative impact on the law, international law, as well as on human dignity.” The regretful results of this posturing have come home to roost.
American cities are being eviscerated by crime, poverty, drug addiction, and homelessness, all fueled by destructive federal policies that defy the traditional rule of law. Criminal laws have been softened if enforced at all. Those able to do so are fleeing crumbling urban centers. A contributing cause to this accelerating deterioration has been the growing flow of fentanyl and other deadly drugs, mainly from the southern border, through illegal cartels. For decades, law enforcement has targeted such gang activity, yet many liberals label it racist to criminalize gang membership.
So, a vicious cycle of violence and criminality unfolds as a result. The US fentanyl epidemic was well underway when Biden reversed Trump’s border policies, but it has gained huge steam since. Fentanyl overdose deaths in the United States spiked 279% from 2016 to 2021, jumping from 56,516 in 2020 to 70,601 in 2021. Compounding the problem is a bevy of new synthetic drugs, including the tranquilizer xylazine, which is added to fentanyl to extend the high (but is unresponsive to life-saving Narcan).
Liberal Border and Drug Laws
Liberal drug policies combined with liberal criminal laws have created a perfect storm for domestic deaths from overdose. According to a 2022 summary by the Pew Research Center, Biden’s proposed changes to immigration law have included boosting refugee admissions, eliminating the “public charge” rule that denies green cards to impoverished entrants, deportation relief for child immigrants, lifting COVID restrictions, providing citizenship to 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants, and raising the maximum number of refugees admitted to 62,500 in FY 2021, and 125,000 in FY 2022.
Biden seeks to have his immigration cake and eat it, too. As 2024 nears, it is evident that neither the president nor the nation can have it both ways.