The much-touted border bill is on life support, and there’s plenty of blame to go around – assuming, of course, that one thinks it’s a bad thing for this legislation to fail. Who has President Joe Biden decided to blame for the deal’s apparently imminent demise? Why, Donald Trump, of course, who currently holds no elected office and, while no doubt influential in GOP politics, has no real say in whether this massive spending package – because that is really all it is – succeeds or fails.
It should have come as a surprise to no one that Biden singled out his likely 2024 opponent. No doubt, he will lean in to the border crisis – and why Trump is somehow responsible for it – from now until the November election. But most Americans (according to multiple polls) know where the blame lies. Had the current White House occupant and his Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, done their duty and kept the southern border as secure as it was on Trump’s watch, there would be no need for panic in Washington, DC.
Dodging the Blame
Instead, millions of illegal aliens have poured into the United States since Biden took over at the beginning of 2021. No one really knows how many have crossed undetected. Encounters at the border have set new records. The administration doesn’t have a clue how many actual or potential terrorists, spies, and violent criminals have entered the country. The situation is so out of control that Democrat-run cities across America – places that once proudly declared themselves sanctuaries for illegals – are buckling under the strain and complaining that they cannot cope. All of this is Biden’s doing.
Who else can be blamed for what now seems to be a failed attempt to solve the problem? One could start with those lawmakers – Democrat and Republican – who thought it a good idea to tie a border bill to additional funding for Ukraine. Many Republicans refused to countenance more financial aid to help the Ukrainians with their faltering defense against Russian aggression without some beefing up of security at our own southern border. Perhaps it would have been better if they had flat-out refused to talk about money for Ukraine until after a substantive border bill was passed. But most did not, and so what they ended up with was a monster bill – not in terms of length but certainly in terms of spending.
A Border Bill for What Borders?
For their part, Democrats have shown no interest in taking measures to stem the tide of illegal aliens into the United States. Even “sanctuary city” mayors are not demanding the border be secured; they just want the federal government to bail them out. The $118 billion border bill earmarks less than $21 billion for border security. By contrast, it would provide just over $60 billion to Ukraine, more than $14 billion for Israel, $4.8 billion for Indo-Pacific countries struggling against Chinese dominance of the region, and $2.4 billion to bolster US Central Command operations in the Red Sea. Additionally, the deal includes $10 billion in aid to the Gaza Strip. For context, then, the legislation provides almost one dollar in aid to Gaza – most of which ends up with Hamas – for every two dollars spent on the massive humanitarian and economic crisis unfolding right here in America.
Still, none of this appears to matter to Biden, who is flailing to shore up his re-election campaign and desperate to find anything he can pin on the man most likely to challenge him. “All indications are this bill won’t even move forward to the Senate floor,” Biden said on Feb. 6. “Why? A simple reason. Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump thinks it’s bad for him politically.” Certainly, Trump’s detractors could see a scenario in which he prefers the border to remain in crisis to help his campaign against the man who caused that crisis. But that $20 billion in the border bill will not magically erase the ongoing travesty. It isn’t going to bring back the Americans who have been murdered by illegal aliens in the past three years. It won’t reverse the potential threats to national security and the American people posed by those who have already crossed the border and are now who knows where, doing or planning who knows what. Thus, the passing of this border bill would not be much of a blow at all to Trump’s electoral prospects.
The Politics of It All
Most importantly, that money will not suddenly stop the flood of illegals – even though the border bill also gives Biden the authority to keep migrants at the border under certain conditions. So, one can argue that Biden was projecting when he spoke about the border bill from the White House. Perhaps it is he who is desperate for the legislation to pass because he believes that would be good for him politically.
The proposed legislation also contains a lot of goodies for the illegal aliens themselves. Some observers have even described it as a kind of de facto amnesty. Now, a growing number of Republicans are in revolt over this border bill that has been pushed by their own Senate leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY). A procedural vote is scheduled for Feb. 7 in the upper chamber. It appears that the White House is now almost relishing the chance to use its likely eventual failure as a cudgel with which to bash Trump and Republicans on the way to the general election. To do that, however, the folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. will have to count on the American people believing either that the border crisis began under Trump or that it has only very recently become a problem that Republicans do not want to solve. Both of those illusions will be a very hard sell.
Perhaps, if Republicans were smart – which is debatable – they would point to the many times Alejandro Mayorkas and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre have insisted the border is secure. After all, were that true, there would be no need for this border bill.