• July 24, 2024

The brains behind Biden’s border disaster

 The brains behind Biden’s border disaster


January 30, 2022

Before Afghanistan, before inflation, before omicron, President Joe Biden’s first failure in office occurred at the southern border.

In March, Biden tried to claim that the flood of migrants illegally crossing from Mexico was just a seasonal blip, but that talking point quickly expired. By April, even CNN was calling the situation at the border a crisis, and by the end of his first year in office, a record 2 million migrants were arrested while illegally crossing the border. Another 2 million are expected next year.

The cause of Biden’s border crisis is obvious to any honest person: On his first day in office, Biden ended the “Remain in Mexico” program that former President Donald Trump had created to close a loophole that migrants were exploiting in our asylum process. With this loophole reopened, migrants began exploiting it again.

According to a New Yorker profile published this week, this never occurred to the staff Biden appointed to implement his immigration policies.

Andrea Flores, who first worked as a policy assistant to DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas when he was the head of Citizenship and Immigration Services under President Barack Obama, was put in charge of undoing Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” program, also known as the Migrant Protection Protocols. Flores was tasked with finding those migrants that had been returned to Mexico under MPP and then processing them into the United States.

“They started in San Diego, then planned to move on to El Paso, Brownsville, and Laredo,” author Jonathan Blitzer writes. “As Flores and her team were working, another humanitarian emergency began to play out: thousands of unaccompanied children were arriving at the border, overwhelming federal authorities.”

Neither Flores nor Blitzer ever stopped to consider that maybe this other “humanitarian emergency” was being caused by the very policy Flores was carrying out. If you end a policy that returns unaccompanied minors to Mexico, of course more unaccompanied minors are going to illegally enter the county. That’s just common sense.

But Flores is never able to connect these dots. Instead, her goal throughout the article is to make it easier for migrants to enter the U.S. and make bogus asylum claims. From the article:

Biden’s incoming agenda was a high-wire act: prevent and discourage migrants from crossing the border in between ports of entry, while slowly rebuilding the government’s capacity for handling asylum seekers. Flores saw the M.P.P. wind-down as a model for an orderly process at the ports. But, through the spring and summer, the White House wavered. “Senior leadership was saying that we were letting in too many people,” Flores told me. She wasn’t regularly briefing the President or his principal advisers, but, before top-level meetings, she would suggest to her superiors that they bring up the issue of expanding asylum access. According to Flores, the response would often be “No, they do not want to hear about more people coming in.” When I asked her who “they” were, she mentioned Ron Klain and Susan Rice.

Flores eventually left the Biden administration after the Department of Homeland Security began to comply with a court order directing them to re-implement MPP. Flores did not want to stick around to rebuild the very program she had just dismantled.

But the Biden administration is only re-implementing the policy under duress. They have processed just 300 migrants through the program since it restarted in December, a month when almost 180,000 migrants were arrested while illegally crossing the border. Asked why the re-implementation was going so slowly, a DHS spokeswoman said, “DHS continues to fight in the courts, including in a pending challenge before the Supreme Court.”

Apparently, there are still a lot more people who think like Flores handling immigration policy in the Biden administration.

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