Biden’s Border Woes
What exactly is Biden doing to handle the surge of migrants at the southern border?
There has been a lot of wailing and rending of garments coming out of Washington these days. President Biden has done the unforgiveable and, gasp, put immigrant children in shelters!
Okay folks, I need you to take a deep breath and listen very carefully. We have a flood of unaccompanied minors crossing the border every day and nowhere to house them. Proper housing for minors cannot be conjured out of thin air. There is no magic wand to wave and make it suddenly appear. It takes time to plan and build appropriate accommodations.
If the immigrants come faster than our ability to build housing for them, what is Biden supposed to do? Before you criticize, you darn well better have a solution or two. I’m looking at you, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.
And this is not entirely Biden’s fault.
The previous administration did everything humanly and inhumanly possible to stop immigration so there is a pent-up demand for entrance to the country.
Central America was hit by two, count them, two hurricanes destroying property and livelihoods.
And there has been an ongoing drought in the region making farming, the main occupation, impossible thanks to climate change.
Biden is not responsible for any of that. What he is responsible for are the promises he made when he was campaigning. He pledged to overhaul the immigration policies of his predecessor including a moratorium on deportations, eliminate the “wait in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers, create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and halt construction on the border wall.
Remember those promises? Remember how relieved we were? Or have you forgotten the outrage and the protests against you know who’s barbaric immigration policies?
This is exactly what I mean when I talk about how short voters’ memories are. It’s been less than 60 days since Biden was inaugurated and already we have forgotten how horrified we were about the brutality that was visited on people trying to enter the country.
So here’s the problem with those promises Biden made while campaigning. We weren’t the only ones who heard them. The desperate people in Central America also heard them. And in their desperation, they interpreted those promises to mean that the border would be open if Biden were elected. Biden was elected and the floodgates opened.
To those of you who are beating your breasts about the inhumanity of it all, let’s take a moment and look at what Biden IS doing about the crisis on the border.
He has activated FEMA. This is the same FEMA that comes to rescue every time there is a natural disaster. So he is calling in the experts, not a bunch of cronies who are just in it for the money. Remember when that used to happen?
Biden has multiple agencies working on immigration including a small group working with Susan Rice, his director of the Domestic Policy Council. Former ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson, has been placed in charge of US border policy. Biden’s deputy assistant for immigration, Esther Olavarria is also working on this issue.
They seem to be very sound choices, people who know what they are doing. Who have actual experience with the region and its issues.
Staff from the Office of Refugee Resettlement are working with Customs and Border Protection to cut down on processing time for migrants and to get children into appropriate placements. Kinda the opposite of the Former Guy sending a slew of judges to speed up deportations and deny asylum requests.
What I am most pleased about is Biden’s request for $4 billion over the next four years to tackle the root cause of migration from Central America.
I worked the nightshift for a few years and got to know the cleaning crew who were all undocumented. Their English was about as good as my Spanish but we still managed to communicate. Their lives were hard but they were grateful for the work because in their own countries, there was no work.
If they had stayed in their countries, they and their families would have starved. For them, the hardest part of being in the US was not being able to go home and see their families because they might not be able to sneak back into the US. Some of them hadn’t seen their families in over a decade.
That’s when I realized that we were treating the symptom, not the cause. Instead of focusing solely on the border, we should also be doing something about the conditions in Central American countries. If conditions were better, people be less likely to immigrate, legally or illegally, to the US.
And for those of you who think we shouldn’t be paying foreign aid, there is a bonus for us if we do spend money on other countries. Stable, economically viable countries would mean new markets for our goods and services. This is a win-win.
I fervently hope that Biden’s funding request is granted. It’s a good start. I don’t think that this is something that the US can do alone. International agencies need to be involved also, but we need to start somewhere.
Still think that Biden is doing a lousy job handling the border crisis?