In the presidential election, the winning Democratic candidate found it politically expedient to promise a change in immigration policy and implementation of a more open border policy. The year was 1992. The candidate was Bill Clinton.
Fortunately, Clinton reversed course and resumed the (first) George Bush administration policy of interdiction and repatriation of Haitian boat people. He even made radio commercials broadcast in Haiti to announce the policy change, but not before hundreds of Haitians had died trying to reach the United States.
Candidate Clinton knew better and candidate Biden knew better. If you tell would-be migrants that there will be no enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, they will come. If you enact yet another amnesty, they will expect another amnesty after that one, and they will come. The consequences of those journeys are often tragic, but not unexpected. President-elect Clinton made a belated effort to repair the damage. Will President-elect Biden?
Following President Obama’s declaration of a DACA amnesty, there was a border surge of illegal migrants from Central America. Immigration lawyers would have you believe that they were fleeing violence, but violent crime in Central America – while horrendously high – had been high for years and was stable or declining at the time. Moreover, high crime rates are not grounds for political asylum. The homicide rates in Baltimore and St. Louis are three times higher than that of Guatemala. Where should refugees from those American cities go?
What changed was that Obama was implementing another amnesty. Immigration lawyers and the far left are tremendously concerned about the welfare of migrants after they reach the U.S. What happens en route is not important because the lawyers don’t collect legal fees until they are on this side of the border.
Amnesty International reports, “It is a widely held view – shared by local and international NGOs and health professionals working with migrant women – that as many as six in 10 migrant women and girls are raped.” That figure hardly seems credible, but it does highlight the extreme dangers of violence, death, sexual assault, and child trafficking that are part of these journeys. That bothers neither the coyotes in Central America nor the immigration lawyers in the U.S., the two bookends who profit from this trail of tragedy.
The same political expediency, or misguided compassion if we’re being generous, permeates Biden’s proposal to increase refugee admissions to 125,000 per year, exceeding even the levels of the Obama administration. The costs of resettling a refugee from the Middle East to the U.S. are 12 times higher than the costs of care for that refugee in neighboring Middle Eastern countries according to research by the Center for Immigration Studies.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said, “Helping refugees in their regions of origin… is a lot cheaper than it is to help them only when they get here. Real solutions… include enabling people to go home, or at least to stay as close to home as possible.” Trying to assist refugees in the Middle East near their homes makes sense. Bringing them across an ocean to America does not, but that message is lost on the immigration lawyers and the government-funded refugee agencies.
Even the Economist, enthusiastic as it is for massive immigration, admits that Biden’s platform would lead to a new border surge: “It is hard to imagine the Democratic president completely unwinding the new asylum rules on the south-west border, which would undoubtedly invite a new surge of migrants.”
Let’s hope it is right, that Biden will have his Damascus moment and prevent the ensuing tragedy that his current proposals will inflict. If not, much of the suffering will be borne by those he is claiming to help.