Biden Administration to Announce Migrant Deal with Spain that Does Nothing to Stop Crisis
FAIR Take | June 2022
It was recently reported that the Biden administration is set to announce a “historic” refugee deal with Spain. The plan – which Biden plans to announce at the Summit of the Americas next week – is nothing more than a symbolic attempt to pretend that they are doing something to address the crisis raging at the Southwest border.
The pledge is Spain’s first ever commitment to resettle migrants from the Western Hemisphere, according to a draft of the proposal. Despite Spain’s colonization of the Americas, government data shows that those born in Central America and the Caribbean account for only 8.5 percent of Spain’s total foreign-born population.
The proposal also includes a commitment from Canada to accept 5,000 refugees from the Western Hemisphere. Despite Canada’s status as the “best country in the world for welcoming immigrants,” they accepted fewer than 1,500 refugees from the Western Hemisphere between January 2015 and March 2022.
The plan notes that the number of migrants Spain plans to resettle will be “modest” but “symbolically important.” The Biden administration’s plan to send a “modest” amount of Central American migrants to Spain is “symbolically important” only in the sense that it only symbolizes real action to address the border crisis. This plan does nothing to solve the root cause of the crisis at the southern border – our own easily-exploited asylum laws.
Since Biden became president in January 2021, our immigration authorities encountered more than 2 million illegal aliens at the Southwest border. Almost all of these migrants came with the intention of applying for asylum, which gives them a pathway into the United States and work authorization for at least a few years even if their claims ultimately fail.
Spain, of course, is not accepting millions of Central and South American migrants. This illustrates the Biden administration’s continued failure to take the situation at the Southwest border seriously. If the Biden administration is serious about fixing the problem, they already know how to do it.
First, they must fully implement the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and signal to prospective migrants that abusing the asylum process will not grant them entry into the United States. Second, they need to close loopholes, such as the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, that perversely encourage smugglers to traffic children across the border. Finally, the Biden administration should restart the asylum cooperation agreements that the Trump administration entered into with the northern triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. These reforms, however, require the Biden administration to accept the reality on the ground: the majority of individuals who apply for asylum are economic migrants.
This half-hearted agreement with Spain emphasizes that the Biden administration is not serious about addressing the self-inflicted border crisis. It will do absolutely nothing to reduce the record-high numbers at the border and may even make the problem worse as it incentivizes even more people to leave their home country.