Politics is a cynical game. Although there are many people who are involved to fight for what they truly believe in, there are equal numbers of those who work solely in their own self-interest. This selfishness is often predicated on two things; economic self-interest and the preservation of power.
The latter has been at the heart of the Democratic Party’s immigration strategy for decades. Of the millions of illegals who have passed through the Mexico border, many from Central American countries, few have done so for strictly political reasons. The majority are fleeing gang and drug-related violence or just general economic hardship.
On arriving in the U.S., they often end up depending on Democrat-led welfare systems, thus becoming natural Democratic Party supporters. As this trend developed, the left realized the opportunity to effectively “import” voters from Latin America and consolidate their grip on power, particularly in America’s border states. They implemented this strategy successfully right up until the 2016 presidential election, when Donald Trump made it a central campaign issue.
The Trump presidency led to a significant decrease in illegal migration across the border, and his efforts to construct a border wall combined with his generally tough approach were among the most common complaints among progressives about his administration.
However, the 2020 election has likely marked a shift in this strategy. After Trump and the GOP grew their vote share among Hispanics, the Democrats realize that the Latino vote can no longer be taken for granted. This is particularly the case within the Cuban and Venezuelan communities, the majority of whom are loyal to the Republican Party after witnessing the tragedy of socialism in their homeland.
Although the Biden administration has offered Venezuelans Temporary Protected Status (TPS), the increasing number of Venezuelans, the large majority of whom will hold strong anti-socialist views, currently flooding the border is likely a reason why the Democrats are suddenly taking a harder stance.
Last week, The Epoch Times reported that between January and April, Border Patrol authorities detained 10,864 Venezuelans in the city of Del Rio, Texas. Experienced immigration lawyer Maria Herrera Mellado told El American at the time that many of these people will be deported unless they can prove a legitimate asylum claim, which many will fail to do.
Speaking in Guatemala last week, Vice President Kamala Harris urged anyone planning to enter the U.S. illegally not to come. “As one of our priorities, we will discourage illegal migration. And I believe if you come to our border you will be turned back,” she said. ”Do not come. Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.”
Last month, it was even revealed that Biden had authorized the resumption of construction of the Trump border wall on a 13.4 mile stretch in the Rio Grande Valley in order to ease the pressure of the migrant crisis. This was despite his previous pledge to completely end the construction of the wall, bringing an end to one of Trump’s signature promises.
There have also been strong moves against Cuban refugees attempting to reach Florida via rafts. Just this week, Coast Guard cruelly repatriated 59 Cubans who were intercepted in the Florida Keys. Many Cubans, including young children, have died attempting to reach the U.S. since Biden took office in January. Meanwhile, those who are repatriated often face persecution back in their homeland.
This apparent crackdown indicates a subtle yet important shift in attitude from the Biden administration on the question of illegal immigration. Whereas they previously promised to give unlimited free health care to every alien in the U.S., they are now expanding security systems and promising to enforce the law against illegal crossings. The rising number of Venezuelans seems like a very obvious explanation for this.
Ultimately, both Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree on a fair, consistent and enforceable migration policy that provides protection to those who genuinely need it and to those who seek to bend the rules in their favor. It is one of the great failures of American leadership that a genuine consensus has never been reached on this issue.