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The Migration Crisis and the Cost of Electoral Calculation

crisis migratoria

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The immigration crisis suffered by the United States at the border with Mexico goes far beyond a typical immigration problem, to become a real national discredit.

The promises made by Joe Biden during his election campaign to eliminate Trump’s policies against illegal immigration, have caused in recent weeks a call effect that has finally overwhelmed him and made him a victim of his own demagoguery.

In the month of February alone, nearly 100,000 people have been arrested trying to cross the border illegally, an increase of 28% over January. The situation has caught the U.S. administration by surprise. More than 17,000 minors are in government detention centers, according to data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The latest report on illegal immigration also notes that an average of more than 500 unaccompanied children enter the country every day in Border Patrol custody, so CBP estimates that if that pace continues, March could be a record month with some 16,000 more minors being detained for extended periods in overcrowded facilities that are currently unable to ensure adequate protection for all arrivals.

Against this difficult backdrop, Biden, instead of seeking a definitive solution to the immigration crisis, has granted Immigration and Customs Enforcement $86.9 million from the public treasury to pay for the hotel stays of irregular immigrants who cross the border with Mexico every day, while cynically many of them are being ordered deported without any lawyer being able to attend to them.

The lack of control of the government in the face of these facts is as alarming as its lack of coordination and opacity. A group of officials working at the border posts has pointed out that the Biden administration was wrong not to call the border situation a “crisis.”

“We are overwhelmed. We do not have the resources to stop the cartels from bringing in illegal aliens, from bringing in drugs, therefore we are in fact in a crisis,” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told Fox News.

Improvisation and demagoguery

In the face of an unprecedented immigration challenge, what has Biden’s do-gooder policy really improved after coming to the White House? Nothing really.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas himself acknowledged in a statement that “we are on track to encounter more people at the Southwest border than in the last 20 years.”

Virtually everything surrounding this humanitarian crisis and what is happening in this new border incursion is repugnant, as repugnant is the attitude being taken by all parties involved. Starting with the U.S. Government, which is going from improvisation to improvisation and continues to make a fool of itself on such a sensitive and complex issue as illegal immigration, which requires much more serious policies than those ordered by Biden, who has wanted to turn immigration policy into fuel to radicalize the electorate.

It is easy to act with demagogy in the face of the drama of irregular immigration and to sustain the thesis that the thousands and thousands of people fleeing poverty have a place in a “rich and fertile America” that belongs to all. But this is a particularly repugnant political maneuver when one considers that the lives of extremely vulnerable people are at stake.

The correction of the immigration policy should be for Joe Biden a lesson in the cost of dogmatism and populist gestures.

Tailored to the mirages of the leftist electorate, during his campaign, Biden assured that he would eliminate many of the restrictive immigration policies carried out by Trump.

Through several executive orders and using an unthinking policy of open doors and electioneering generosity, Biden put an end to the construction of the border wall and rushed to implement a revision of the naturalization process to grant citizenship to the more than nine million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.

Neither the mafias are charitable nor are there magic wands to control uncontrolled immigration. The organizations that watch over the security of the country, and that have criticized its political decisions, have reminded that before manipulating concepts such as the call effect, identity or even humanitarianism, always associated with the cynical electoral calculations of populism, responsible criteria must be adopted to guarantee the security of the border and not to wield flimsy administrative pretexts.

Biden assured that he would eliminate many of the restrictive immigration policies carried out by Trump. (Image: EFE)

The southern border with Mexico remains one of the most complex political and economic demarcations on the planet, with corrupt and communist regimes on one side and democratic stability and economic prosperity on the other.

Of course we should reject any attempt to stigmatize unaccompanied minors and families crossing borders with terrible humanitarian consequences. But to accuse as xenophobic or racist those who remind us of the unavoidable need to take into consideration this reality and its terrible human consequences, is to play the most opportunistic cynicism in an attempt to constantly try to wriggle out of the lack of a responsible and consensual migration policy.

Security and sovereignty

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who this week denied that Mexico will increase immigration control on its northern border in exchange for the loan of 2.7 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccines (which he could obtain as a perk from the United States) has already warned it.

“We do not accept supervisory visits. We are not a colony, we are not a protectorate, Mexico is an independent, sovereign, free country”, said AMLO last Tuesday in a press conference.

That same day, the Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, and the White House Southern Border Coordinator, Roberta Jacobson, led a meeting in Mexico City to seek formulas to guarantee an “orderly, safe and regular migration”.

Crises must be dealt with before they become chronic and aggravated. Not only are the Democrats late -once again- to an international humanitarian conflict that Biden and Kamala Harris, with their usual lack of foresight, have downplayed until the southern border has become an uncertain powder keg. It is also a new batch of economic, political and moral bills that Mexico will pass on to the United States after many insolvencies of the Obama Administration and now of Biden.

No other issue is as dangerous to the American project as mismanaged immigration. Thus, by coming to the rescue of immigrants, Mexico has put the American government to shame for its own irresponsibilities.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton asked Congress for an additional $172 million to launch Operation Hold the Line. His determination was firm: “Protect our borders, remove criminal aliens, reduce work incentives for illegal immigration [and] stop asylum abuse.”

In just one year, his administration had built thousands of miles of fencing and increased border patrols by 40% along the most popular corridors in California, Texas and Arizona. His speech then was very clear: “We must say ‘no’ to illegal immigration so we can continue to say ‘yes’ to legal immigration.”

Three decades later, the Democratic Party’s electioneering strategy on immigration seems to have shifted to become a mere shill for the whims of the radical left.

The borders of countries are not inventions or circumstantial political whims. They legally demarcate the points where states exercise their sovereignty and where citizens practice their rights and obligations.

For this reason, Democrats and Republicans should agree in Congress on a reform of the legislation that would allow them to act effectively against illegal immigration. Only in this way could such a transcendental issue as the security of the United States and neighboring nations be definitively removed from the partisan and electoral debate.

Juan Carlos Sánchez, journalist and writer. His columns are published in different newspapers in Spain and the United States. He is the author of several books and is preparing the essay "Nación y libertad en el pensamiento económico del Conde Pozos Dulces" // Juan Carlos es periodista y escritor. Sus columnas se publican en diferentes diarios de España y EE.UU. Autor de varios libros, tiene en preparación la obra de ensayo “Nación y libertad en el pensamiento económico del Conde Pozos Dulces”

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