An Administration in Denial: Exploding Border Crisis Is a Mere “Challenge,” Declares the White House
By late February, the situation along our southern border had gotten so bad that even President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) of Mexico was urging the Biden administration to take steps to regain control. “We need to work together to regulate the flow,
because this business can’t be tackled from one day to the next,” AMLO told his U.S. counterpart. Like many others, AMLO laid the blame for the crisis directly at the feet of President Biden. “They see [Biden] as the migrant president, and so many feel they’re going to reach the United States,” he said.
The reason for the Mexican president’s concern is that the Biden administration’s reckless policies are not just bad for the United States, but are harmful to his country as well. The Biden-induced surge of migrants is a bonanza for the criminal cartels that AMLO is battling with for control of his country. These cartels reap huge profits as they move migrants from all across the globe through Mexico to reach the United States. For AMLO, richer and more powerful criminal cartels are a threat to the government’s control of the country, and for ordinary Mexican citizens who might get in the way of the smugglers’ efforts it could mean far worse.
The sense of urgency expressed by AMLO and even many congressional Democrats was clearly lost on President Biden and his senior policy advisors. On the same day that AMLO expressed his grave concerns, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas addressed questions from the White House press corps. Mayorkas, like his boss, denied that hundreds of thousands or migrants, including tens of thousands of unaccompanied children turning up at our border, constitutes a “crisis.” Instead, Secretary Mayorkas asserted that dealing with an unending flow of migrants was merely a “challenge” – and one that he insisted that the administration was making progress on.
(The irony of his statement continued to be lost on the secretary and his boss in the White House when, a few days later, DHS was forced to dispatch teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to manage the “challenge.”)
But Mayorkas did not stop at denying that there is a crisis at the border. He went on to send a clear signal for more people to make their way to our border. “We are not saying, ‘Don’t come.’ We are saying, ‘Don’t come now because we will be able to deliver a safe and orderly process to them as quickly as possible,’” he said. While he did not indicate when, exactly, it will be the right time to come, the message that resonates with migrants all across the globe is that the nation’s chief immigration enforcement officer made it clear that we are not telling them “don’t come.”
A week and a half later, President Biden’s southern border advisor Roberta Jacobson tried her hand at justifying the administration’s policies with no better success. Ms. Jacobson denied that U.S. borders are now open, dismissing that assertion as “perception” and not “reality,” even as everyone was witnessing with their own eyes the reality that thousands of people were successfully entering the United States each day and were being allowed to continue on their way.
It still was not a crisis in the minds of the Biden administration and the Democratic congressional leadership in mid-March, when DHS was forced to admit that border apprehensions had reached levels not seen in 20 years. Even as the department was running
out of space to hold unaccompanied minors and was opening “decompression centers” hundreds of miles from the border, Mayorkas was still describing it as a “difficult situation.”
While the Biden administration continues to be in denial, or is misleading the American public about the gravity of the situation at the border, FAIR has taken the lead in providing accurate assessments about what is going on. As conditions along the border deteriorated during the first two months of the Biden administration, FAIR spokespeople have featured prominently on talk radio, television, and in print media delivering a clear picture of crisis, how it came about, and what needs to happen to stop it. FAIR has also been able to provide regular updates through social media, and in numerous op-eds that have been published in leading online opinion journals.
In the coming weeks and months, FAIR will continue to serve as the eyes and ears of the American public and increase the pressure on the Biden administration to reverse the dangerous and damaging policies they have implemented.