President Biden’s Southern Border Coordinator Roberta Jackson responded to questions about the situation at the border during the daily White House press briefing. When asked if the crisis is linked to President Biden reversing all of the Trump administration’s border security policies, she responded:
We’ve seen surges before. Surges tend to respond to hope, and there was significant hope for a more humane policy after four years of pent-up demand.
There was a hope for a more humane policy after four years of pent-up demand, so I don’t know if I would call that a coincidence.
But the idea that a more humane policy would be in place may have driven people to make that decision, but perhaps, more importantly, it definitely drove smugglers to express disinformation, spread disinformation about what was now possible.
As the popular social media meme proclaims, “Sure, Jan.” Halting border wall construction and ending meaningful border enforcement, including the vast majority of deportations, were all accomplished in the first week of Biden’s presidency. By February 12, he reversed the Remain in Mexico policy and allowed all the migrants currently waiting for their hearings on the Mexico side to enter the United States. The administration has also returned to the disastrous policy of catch-and-release and is developing procedures to allow illegal migrants to move freely into the country’s interior within 72 hours.
In addition, President Biden has openly declared he wants legislation to provide a path to citizenship and amnesty for 11 million illegal immigrants. He pretends this is the correct number, but it is the one that’s been cited for at least a decade. If amnesty is granted, the number will be significantly higher than that.
It is unclear what disinformation smugglers would be providing if they told would-be migrants that they could be allowed to surrender to U.S. authorities and request amnesty after crossing the border. After that, they will not be deported for at least the next 100 days and released into the United States after three days. If they say the president wants to give them legal status as well, it is difficult to see what disinformation they are spreading. It sounds more like they are accurately describing a wild policy swing that provides their potential clients a window of opportunity.
Jacobson added that they were trying to balance better messaging and policy. There are increases in border crossings and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) is saying the administration has not been honest about the current situation. Laughably, Jacobsen said, “The border is not open.” If it isn’t fully open, the door is undoubtedly unlatched and open a crack. She added that migrants would be sent back. There is no evidence that is happening.
Interestingly, she also said that Biden wants to tackle the root causes of immigration by providing foreign assistance to make the Central American countries safer and more prosperous. So, another Trump administration policy. In the summer of 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited El Salvador. Together with new president Nayib Bukele, they agreed that El Salvador would work to prevent the outflow of migrants in exchange for increased U.S. cooperation and private investment. There were similar conversations in the other countries.
Foreign aid with no strings attached accomplishes nothing and is often used for corrupt purposes or goes into the black hole known as civil society organizations. Direct investment in exchange for assistance with decreasing migrant outflows was a win-win situation.
Jacobsen characterized the current situation by saying:
We are trying to walk and chew gum at the same time. We are trying to convey to everyone in the region that we will have legal processes in the future … But at the same time, you cannot come through irregular means.
Illegal migrants are coming through irregular means. The only reason the administration is building the plane while flying is that it unraveled the existing border security with no processes and insufficient resources for the border surge their rhetoric created. At this point, it may be impossible to put the toothpaste back in the tube.
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