Migrants travel north through Mexico towards the US border. Reuters
Ramesh Ponnuru, Tribune News Service
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, President Joe Biden denied that the perception that he is softer than his predecessor has contributed to a surge of migrants at the border with Mexico. A lot of people who are well disposed to the president — including Democratic Representative Don Beyer of Virginia and Juliette Kayyem, an official in the administration of former President Barack Obama — have said that he’s wrong about that. Kayyem says that smugglers have exaggerated how welcoming Biden is. But it’s not just a matter of rumour. Alan Bersin, Obama’s first-term appointee to run the US Customs and Border Protection agency, says that “for unaccompanied children and families with children under 6, the border is open.”
Biden is now taking flak from the right and even from portions of the left over the surge. Republicans are criticizing him both for bringing it on and for responding to it hypocritically. His administration is now detaining children after four years of Democratic attacks on President Donald Trump for putting “kids in cages.” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Bronx Democrat, lent some bipartisan credence to that criticism when she responded to the news that a detention center for migrant children had opened by tweeting, “This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay — no matter the administration or party.”
Biden’s immigration policies aren’t morally equivalent to the worst of Trump’s. In the spring of 2018, the previous administration announced a “zero tolerance” policy of criminally prosecuting all illegal border-crossers. The Trump policy therefore became known as “family separation.”
Some Trump administration officials argued at the time that the prospect of that separation was a useful deterrent to illegal immigration. A bipartisan outcry led Trump to abandon the policy that summer, although there were occasional reports afterward that he was considering reinstating it. The Department of Homeland Security later estimated that 3,014 children were taken from their parents during the period.
Thankfully, Biden has not brought back that policy. He suggested to Stephanopoulos that his policies are an alternative to that brutal approach. But that’s misleading: Biden could have continued a number of policies that Trump had in place after family separation and that seemed to work to keep migration in check. Biden eased the requirement that asylum seekers in Mexico stay there while their cases are being considered.
Conflating the two issues — family separation and the “Remain in Mexico” policy — seems to be becoming a standard dodge for the Biden administration. When Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, asked Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas about Remain in Mexico, Mayorkas responded by changing the subject, saying that family separation was “unacceptable.”
Another go-to is claiming that the Trump administration “dismantled” the asylum system. That’s not true, either. Asylum was granted to more people during each year of Trump’s presidency than during any year of Obama’s.
Instead of continuing these rhetorical games, Biden should dust off a copy of a bipartisan council’s report to Homeland Security from 2019. It suggested numerous legislative and administrative changes that deserve follow-up. A law against human trafficking currently requires Customs and Border Protection to separate migrant children from relatives other than their parents, even if the agency does not believe those relatives pose a threat to the children. The report recommended an amendment to allow the agency to have more flexibility. It advised that rapid DNA tests be deployed to expose false claims of parentage.
That’s a different kind of humanitarian disaster from the family-separation policy, but a humanitarian disaster nonetheless. Every day the Biden administration bobs and weaves — arguing over whether to call conditions at the border a “crisis,” stonewalling the press — it deserves to take more responsibility for that disaster.
The Biden administration should avoid the Trump-era mistake of reducing the entirety of the US-Mexico relationship to the single issue of immigration. The administration has made Vice President Kamala Harris its point person at the southern border, and she has been
America’s government — from the White House to the halls of Congress to the judicial benches — must treat this influx of asylum-seekers from Haiti and South and Central America as a refugee crisis. Refugees should be met at our border and provided humane, sanitary and safe conditions while they are processed by our judicial court process
A day after an SUV packed with migrants crashed in Imperial County last week, leaving 13 dead, police in southern Mexico encountered a disturbing scene: more than 200 US-bound Central Americans, a quarter of them children without adult
Even as the US Supreme Court ruled that Title 42, which was invoked by president Donald Trump in March 2020 in the wake of Covid restricting asylum-seekers from entering the United States, Reuters news agency reported that President Joe Biden administration officials are planning to expel asylum-seekers from specific countries
The story of the banking woes of First Republic is so American that one is not surprised. American capitalism it seems thrives on ‘irrational exuberance’ – the phrase used by former Fed Reserve chairman and Ayn Rand acolyte 27 years ago. Bankers, especially central bank governors fear irrational exuberance and it is easy to see why.
This month, a very significant event for millions of Americans took place: the National Resident Matching Program’s annual residency match. This is when medical school graduates hope to find a residency programme where they will continue their graduate medical education. These are the physicians who will be caring for you and me,
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s ardent desire to get Congress leader Rahul Gandhi out of the Lok Sabha was fulfiilled last week in an unexpected manner. But it is too early for it to rejoice. He appears set to emerge as a more formidable opponent outside Parliament than he was inside. The BJP’s strategists were working on a plan
Time has come, another month of orison and sacrifice. Thinking of trying to fast just like the Muslims although I hail from a Christian background. Why not give it a shot? Many of my Muslim proselytes might be now busy doing their little homework hopping into supermarkets and stores to get decked up for the month. This unison of religion