There is a crisis at the southern border that appears entirely the creation of reactionary one-step thinking on behalf of the Joe Biden administration. Despite warnings from numerous sources, the new president lurched ahead, attempting to dismantle the Trump legacy with little regard for what might happen. Now the crisis is here, and even the Biden-friendly Fourth Estate is struggling to cast a positive light on recent surges and the unmanageable situation with unaccompanied minors.
If a system is working and you change it, who is responsible if that system collapses? This is the question being fought over by spin doctors and surrogates as the blame game continues apace. To determine who is at fault, the first parameter of the question needs to be set: What is the purpose of the southern border?
If the border’s main job is to prevent people from entering the country illegally, then President Donald Trump made the system work – and work well. Despite a brief surge in numbers in 2019, a number of experts now predict the worst crisis in 20 years, with an estimated two million crossing in 2021. But what if the purpose is to swing votes from those who would prefer open borders?
As a prominent Washington newspaper – one well known for its support of President Biden – recently presented:
“The situation at the border — which Biden and his advisers steadfastly refuse to call a crisis — is the result of an administration that was forewarned of the coming surge, yet still ill-prepared and lacking the capacity to deal with it. Administration officials have been plagued by muddled messaging, sometimes making appeals that seem directed more at liberal activists than the migrants they need to dissuade from coming to the country.”
It seems that Team Biden was briefed well in advance that stripping away the existing border measures would result in a surge of people coming to America.
How Many Warnings?
Former State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus hit back at accusations from the White House that it was President Trump who “dismantled” the system. Speaking to Fox News, she said that “the Trump DHS Team did warn the incoming Biden team that there will be a surge at the border if you get rid of the agreements with these three countries without anything in place,” referring to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Mark Morgan, a former Customs and Border Protection commissioner, gave a similar rebuke to the new administration. Speaking to The Daily Caller, he said:
“The Biden administration knew when they shut down Title 42 for UAC’s [unaccompanied children] that it would increase the numbers, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing, so now not only are UAC’s backing up Border Patrol facilities but their time in custody is increasing.”
So it seems that the new commander in chief and his team were fully advised of what would happen at the border and did it anyway.
Border Patrol agents estimate that coyotes and human traffickers made around $14 million per day during February. Illegal border crossers are thought to be roughly 50% COVID positive. More than 15,000 children (other sources place the number at 30,000) are now being kept in facilities near the border (which one must never refer to as cages), and a substantial proportion of these are kept locked up longer than legally allowed. And there is no sign of any of these factors improving. So what, precisely, is the point?
It is becoming clearer by the day that the decisions made during the last two months were little more than a knee-jerk reaction to placate a voting base that demanded unspecified reform and to unite a Democratic Party that was at war with itself.
What else could an administration do but flip-flop?
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas took to the Sunday shows to backtrack on Biden’s signature policy. Speaking on ABC, he said, “Now is not the time to come. Do not come; the journey is dangerous. We are building safe, orderly and humane ways to address the needs of vulnerable children. Do not come.”
During an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the president also seemed to change tack on his words during the 2019 presidential primary debate of “You should come” to “I can say quite clearly don’t come over.”
How many people in the new migrant caravan Mayorkas and President Biden believe watch the ABC network is unknown, suggesting that this is perhaps more a message to administration critics than a change of policy. No announcements were made regarding bringing back Trump-era restrictions.
Quick to respond to the attack on his legacy of strong borders, Trump released a statement on Sunday saying he “handed the Biden Administration the most secure border in history.” Trump continued:
“All they had to do was keep this smooth-running system on autopilot. Instead, in the span of just a few weeks, the Biden Administration has turned a national triumph into a national disaster. They are in way over their heads and taking on water fast.”
This crisis at the border is entirely of Biden’s making. He sent the message, he repealed the rules, and, perhaps most significant of all, he is refusing to make policy that reflects his volte-face. Immigration has become his obsession.
Reform, or at least the appearance of it, is Biden’s White Whale, and he will chase it until either his obsession is sated or the entire immigration system is rebuilt into something new. But as Trump suggests, the Biden administration is taking on water fast, and the Pequod may be about to sink.
Read more from Mark Angelides.