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By Tom Homan & Mark Morgan*
For the first time in his entire 50-year career in Washington, President Joe Biden finally visited the southern border—not as a special stand-alone trip, but one tacked on to his previously scheduled trip to Mexico.
It wasn’t worth the wait.
Just as Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit in June 2021 was little more than border security tourism, Biden’s trip was about pushing his open-borders agenda while trying to appear serious about border security.
Here are three reasons why Biden’s visit represents the worst kind of politics:
It distracts from the failure of his reckless, dangerous policies.
Since day one, Biden has pushed a radical open-borders agenda. Via more than 90 executive orders, he has removed nearly every effective process, procedure and tool available to Border Patrol, ICE and others to secure the border and enforce the law. The results have been disastrous.
On his watch, more than 5.5 million individuals have illegally entered or been improperly admitted into the country, including 1.2 million+ known got-aways, among whom have been scores of gang members, violent criminals, and potential terrorists.
CBP has recorded more than 100,000 encounters every full month of Biden’s tenure, and more than 200,000 encounters 10 months in a row. For context, former Obama DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson once said that a single month of 30,000 apprehensions was considered a crisis.
Consequently, up to 80% of Border Patrol agents have been pulled off the line to process these record numbers of illegal aliens, leaving the border increasingly open to the cartels, who push drugs, criminals and potential national security threats into the U.S. So much fentanyl is pouring across into our communities that it’s now the leading cause of death for Americans 18-45.
Biden desperately wants to change the conversation. That’s why he made a half-hearted speech announcing new immigration measures last Thursday at the White House. Of course, these measures will do nothing to solve the problems he created.
It uses law enforcement as a shield from political criticism.
In his speech Thursday, Biden repeatedly attacked Republicans for refusing to approve new funding for the Border Patrol. This was dishonest and misleading. First, the recent omnibus bill—a disastrous spending bill pushed through over Christmas—forbade Border Patrol from spending any new money on new physical border security improvements.
More importantly, while Joe Biden pretended to wrap himself in the green and gold, his push for “more funding” is about one thing—making it easier for the agency to simply process and release more illegal aliens more quickly into the interior. That’s not the Border Patrol’s mission, or what its agents signed up for.
If you talk to them, they will tell you that walls work. This president stopped construction of the border-wall system.
They will tell you Remain in Mexico worked to help bring illegal immigration to a 40-year low. Biden ended it.
They will tell you the safe third-country agreements with all three Northern Triangle countries reduced the exploitation of loopholes and rebuilt integrity in the system. Biden canned them.
At every turn, Biden says he supports the Border Patrol, and then takes action undermining them.
Biden said Thursday that he planned to meet with Border Patrol agents and “make public what they conclude they need that they don’t have.” This is blatantly dishonest. Current and former border security professionals told Biden and his team during the transition exactly what they needed to secure the border. He continues to ignore them all.
Never forget—Biden slandered and threatened mounted Border Agents from the White House podium, making his use of them as political pawns now even more grotesque. Did he take a few minutes in El Paso to apologize to these innocent American heroes who were merely doing their job? No.
It actively gaslights Americans.
While “helicopter leadership” might make for a good photo op that corporate media will eat right up, the fact is that Biden didn’t get his hands dirty on this trip. Like Harris, he took part in a highly choreographed dog-and-pony show, visiting sterilized facilities away from the actual front lines of the border, and where the visuals are much more controlled.
Most of the U.S. corporate media refuses to cover the border crisis. Americans who rely on them for information aren’t getting an accurate accounting of what’s happening at the border.
Meanwhile, Biden stood in the midst of the visit and praised his administration’s response to the very crisis he created. He continued to actively deceive millions of Americans about the state of the crisis, and who’s responsible for it. This isn’t leadership—it’s lying.
Biden’s visit was long overdue. It was also the absolute bare minimum of his responsibilities as the nation’s top law-enforcement officer.
The southern border has been engulfed in catastrophic crisis since the first day of Biden’s presidency. His open-borders policies are the reason. A single visit doesn’t change that.
However, just as his disastrous policies have proven consistently unpopular with Border Patrol agents, his absence has sent a signal that he simply doesn’t care about the consequences of the crisis for the nation, especially the men and women charged with keeping our borders secure.
Sadly, his lack of leadership has devastated the Border Patrol and thrown our border into chaos. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s letter to the president, which spelled out his failings and how to fix them, made that even more clear.
Nothing will change until he admits his failures and changes course.
*Tom Homan & Mark Morgan – Visiting Fellow, Border Security and Immigration Center.
This article is part of an agreement between El American and The Heritage Foundation.