The nation is having a contentious debate over whether illegal migrants coming over the southern border should be transported further inland, and if so, where and by whom.
Should they stay in San Antonio or end up in New York City, get bused to a rural town no one has heard of, or get flown to one the most desirable summer spots in the country?
Although this debate has generated much heat and is of great interest to the local authorities involved, it is really beside the point.
The crux of the matter is that the Biden administration dismantled or downgraded every policy that had established control over the Southern border under his predecessor and is directly responsible for the record number of illegal immigrants flooding into the country. If the influx wasn’t so large, there’d be fewer migrants to sign up for the bus trips north and east to blue cities sponsored by Texas and Arizona.
Everyone should agree that it’d be much better if Biden reversed field and sought to control the border. Texas and Arizona would no longer be getting inundated, and therefore would have less incentive to send the migrants further inland. If that were the case, places like Washington, D.C., and New York City wouldn’t be receiving thousands of new migrants and wouldn’t have to declare emergencies and request the National Guard to help cope.
If the border states are treating migrants as pawns, give them fewer pieces on the board. If they are engaged in unworthy stunts, remove the incentive to make theatrical gestures in the first place. Reduce the temperature by controlling the problem at the source.
The truth of the matter is that prior to Texas and Arizona undertaking their programs — and DeSantis adding his attention-grabbing flights to Martha’s Vineyard — these immigrants were already getting moved around the country, with the assent of the Department of Homeland Security. The federal government gives migrants permission to travel within the country, and then private organizations get them on buses to go to their preferred destinations.
Does anyone think this is how our immigration system should work?
Of course, a Biden crackdown at the border is not in the offing. The administration is steadfastly dishonest about the border. Vice President Kamala Harris says the border is “secure,” and any problems only result from “a broken immigration system.” Well, yes, the border is secure in the sense that the Mexican equivalent of the 10th Mountain Division isn’t going to march over it any day now, but there is no serious effort to exclude the historic tide of migrants.
Democrats are so vested in the “big lie” about the border, they don’t dare to contradict it, even when they are yelping in pain about having to deal with migrants.
On CNN over the weekend, New York City Mayor Eric Adams called the migrant situation “a humanitarian crisis,” yet refused to call out the maestro of this debacle. Asked by Jake Tapper whether it’s a crisis that needs more attention from the Biden administration, Adams knew he couldn’t go there. “No,” he said. “I believe it’s a crisis that needs more coordination from our country.”
An estimated 1.35 million illegal immigrants have entered the country since Biden’s inauguration, and they aren’t leaving any time soon.
Biden officials don’t want to stop the flow; they just want to manage it better. Asked by Bret Baier of Fox News earlier this year whether the administration seeks to reduce illegal immigration, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said, “It is the objective of the Biden administration to make sure that we have safe, orderly and legal pathways for individuals to be able to access our legal system.”
In other words, the Biden administration may not want migrants showing up in Martha’s Vineyard, but there will be plenty of newcomers settling all over the United States, in a never-ending flow.
Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review.