Joe Biden, Donald Trump
Jay Ambrose, Tribune News Service
Joe Biden was elected president and soon enough reversed Donald Trump’s reduction of illegal southern border crossings to the point that we now have the highest influx in 20 years. The human suffering has been excruciating, the publicity has been poisonous and so Biden walked away from the problem, handing it to Vice President Kamala Harris who almost disappeared and has since demonstrated why that was a good idea.
She finally ended up in Guatemala, a primary source of young people risking their lives in tortuous, thug-infested, sometimes deadly desert treks to the United States. Sounding like the audacious Trump himself, Harris said cut it out. Don’t come north anymore. We are not going to let you in. Here are thoughts repulsive to some and a delight to others even if insufficiently backed up with action to keep many out.
Along with smugglers abetting thousands of American drug deaths, illegal immigrants are rushing the border in record numbers even as TV reporters almost seem more on hand to greet them than border agents. One person less in sight than winter snow has been Harris, who didn’t seem to understand when an interviewer asked why she had not gone to the border. She replied with an incomprehensible joke about not going to Europe either. Biden practically invited the immigrants when, among other moves, he freed refuges to wander in America without hearings.
One of Trump’s surge solutions was to immediately move asylum seekers back to Mexico until, in a number of years, judges could apply the law to their eligibility. They seem to have endured grave hurt, but after Biden began undoing the Trump strategy, Harris is saying to refugees “you will be turned back” with Mexico as the only landing place.
Harris is looking at changing the refugee law so it would make things easier for them to sign up in the places they came from and, in my view, that’s good if it happens. Also needed are far more border guards, letting ICE agents be more proactive and even building some technologically alert walls of a kind that have worked in Israel. Listen to a besieged Texas sheriff and you will get a much longer list, and, yes, costs are involved.
But Harris said over and over again that what she really wanted was to get to the “root cause” of the desert treks: living conditions horrible enough for parents to further enrich gangsters guiding their children to northern opportunity.
To make things better, Harris said, the United States would hand out $4 billion over coming years to countries in Central America. We will thereby risk the foreign aid curse of enhancing the luxuries of the powerful elite. Even if the moolah reaches the poor, that’s not enough. It is the honest rule of law that enables a productive economy, and, yes, Harris is demanding reform in a nation that needs it, starting with a corrupt judicial system that will unlikely bend to the lost cause of nation-building that the United States tried for to little noticeable avail.
Past policies of giving money to Latin American countries did not work whereas Trump’s threats of tariffs did, as in getting Mexico to use armed troops to stop immigrant caravans from heading to the United States.
The thing to remember is that a Gallup poll shows 158 million around the world, including 40 million in Latin America, would like to come here. A fraction of that could destroy us, of course, and what we need is enforced immigration rules that serve both the immigrants and our society, such as putting emphasis on merit in skills and education in legal admissions.
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