Will Biden’s About-Face at the Arizona Border Save Sen. Mark Kelly?
During the 2020 campaign, candidate Joe Biden pledged, “There will not be another foot of [border] wall constructed on my administration.” Two years later, President Biden has walked back that promise in a last-ditch bid to save an Arizona Democrat’s seat in the U.S. Senate.
Five days before primary Election Day in the Grand Canyon State, the White House announced it would complete a portion of U.S.-Mexico border wall near Yuma, where four incomplete sections make it among the busiest corridors for illegal crossings.
Sen. Mark Kelly had, in recent months, been pressing the Biden administration to close the gaps, calling them a challenge for officials trying to secure the border. Unopposed in the Democratic primary, Kelly figures to face a serious challenge himself this fall. His voting record on immigration enforcement has been pathetic.
The timing of these flip-flops is as insincere as the scheme itself. It doesn’t take a security expert to know there are right and wrong ways to go about halting illegal border traffic. Two-faced, piecemeal political gimmickry is a wrong way.
Arizona environmentalist Myles Traphagen, admittedly no fan of Donald Trump’s wall program, says the Yuma gambit won’t accomplish much. “People have traveled halfway around the globe [to get here], so to expect that closing four small gaps is going to make them turn around and book a return flight on Air Ethiopia is sheer fallacy.”
Indeed, filling four small gaps won’t have much effect as long as large gaps remain.
What could help Arizona and its junior senator’s electoral prospects ought to apply elsewhere along the southern border. In Texas, plagued by even more illegal crossings, only a small fraction of its 1,254-mile border with Mexico is shielded by walls, which have multiple interruptions. Since Biden has not lifted a finger to assist Texas, the state is spending billions of its own tax dollars to build barriers and corral illegal aliens.
Will the president’s last-minute volte-face save Sen. Kelly’s hide in Arizona? Even if the crass political calculations click in November, they won’t change the reality of a broken border.