Joe Biden is in a terrible fix because of the surge of migrants showing up at our southern border and has apparently decided to address the crisis by putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound.
Migrants and refugees are a regional problem with the collapsing economies of Central America, uncontrolled violence, and political unrest. People are running away and heading north hoping for salvation.
Joe Biden isn’t Jesus and the U.S. surely isn’t heaven. But anyplace is better than what the migrants are running away from, and with the U.S. president extending his hand in welcome to the newcomers, the surge was not only predictable but inevitable.
Biden’s political dilemma is not entirely of his own making, however. He’s got both his radical base and the Republican Party at his throat screaming at him to “do something.” For Republicans, it’s a political dream come true. Being able to tell a president “We told ya so” is not only delicious irony but also potent politics.
For the radical left, Biden’s problem is strategic. When the president opened another border facility to house children in Texas, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, “This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay — no matter the administration or party.” Where she would like the children to be housed is a question she forgot to address. Biden’s options with kids at the border are either to let them in or send them home. And if you let them in, they have to be cared for. Perhaps AOC would like to see the kids wandering the streets of Texas and Arizona border towns, begging for scraps.
Politico has an outline of Biden’s plan to deal with the current border surge and it’s not only inadequate but, like AOC’s tirades, totally incoherent.
Among them, they are searching for emergency shelters for minors traveling alone across the border and activating the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to four people briefed on the plans. They are also considering placing Health and Human Services staff at the border to more quickly assist children, and looking for ways to more quickly vet adults who could take care of those kids, including waiving fingerprint requirements in lieu of background checks, those briefed on the plans said.
The Biden people see speed as the essence of the problem. The faster they can process new arrivals — especially kids — and shove them out the door, the better the “optics” of the situation appear. There will be no pictures of kids in “cages.” No interviews with anxious parents about where their baby was taken. The slavishly devoted media will be decidedly uninterested in stories like that.
Waiving fingerprint requirements may be an open invitation to child molesters and child traffickers, but all that checking and rechecking to see if the kids will be safe just takes too much time. Better to roll the dice and hope for the best. If the kid ends up a victim of a horrific crime, it’s not the government’s fault. They tried their best.
The border may not be open entirely. But it’s going to turn into an assembly line that will move the new arrivals from the border into the interior of the country in record time.
Already, the administration has asked for $4 billion over four years to tackle the root causes of migrations in Central American countries and restore a program that will allow some Central American children to apply for admission to the country. They’re also paying to transport children to their sponsors’ homes, administering vaccines to border workers and streamlining background checks for shelter employees. This week, Biden was briefed by top officials he dispatched to the border.
Of course, none of this “solves” anything. They are stopgap measures designed to get AOC and the radicals off the president’s back until Biden’s immigration bill passes and the real business of opening the country can begin.
Republicans may think they have a winning issue in 2022 and 2024 but the way Biden will frame the crisis plays into American’s self-image of welcoming all newcomers and being generous with people in trouble. That’s a potent message that Republicans will be hard-pressed to counter.