I saw this yesterday at Breitbart and nearly fell off the chair. Does Diamond Joe not understand that he’s undermining Democrats’ big “refugee” talking point in saying this? The left’s messaging strategy on the border crisis, quite wisely, is to insist that kids from Honduras and Guatemala aren’t “illegal immigrants” at all. They’re “refugees.” They’re not crossing the border because mom and/or dad are already here and they want to go to American schools, they’re crossing the border because gang violence in Central America has grown so terrible that the kids have no choice but to flee. They’re in the same predicament as, say, Christians in Iraq are right now — even though federal law defines “refugee” as someone fleeing war or persecution based on identity, not gangs. That’s a smart talking point for two reasons: One, obviously, it makes the kids more sympathetic, and two, more importantly, it implies that letting them settle in the U.S. would be an extraordinary response to an extraordinary crisis. It’s not an open-ended invitation to people to cross the border illegally, it’s a limited amnesty targeting a limited population for a limited time, until gang violence starts to fall off. The more you reassure Americans that this is a carefully constrained response to a humanitarian crisis and not some free pass for any kid who wants to come, the more acceptable they’ll find it. (That’s also why all amnesties are sold as one-time, extraordinary solutions that’ll never be repeated. Until, of course, they’re repeated a decade or two later.)

So here’s Biden undermining all of that. The violence isn’t worse than it used to be, he says. It’s bad, but it’s been bad for years. What’s causing the big surge lately in illegal crossings is coyotes lying to families and telling them that if their child makes it across the border now, they’re “home free.” We can debate what the source of that lie is — I’ve got a crazy hunch I know what it is — but we don’t need to in order to toss the “refugee” argument out the window. The fact that a coyote lied to you doesn’t make you a refugee. And if you’re not a refugee than you’re subject to the same immigration laws as anyone else crossing the border illegally. Why he would take this position, I can’t begin to imagine. Maybe he’s saying that every Central American who’s entered the U.S. illegally since gang wars exploded inside their countries years ago should qualify as refugees too? That sort of undermines the whole “this is a one-time thing” appeal of the refugee argument, doesn’t it?

Or it could be that he and the White House have decided that absorbing a new population from abroad (63,000 and counting) isn’t the smart move politically right now. New from Reuters:

Seventy percent of Americans – including 86 percent of Republicans – believe undocumented immigrants threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs, according to the poll…

Vanderbur was among the 45 percent of people in the poll, carried out between July 15-22, who said the number of immigrants legally allowed to enter the country should be reduced.

Only 17 percent thought more legal immigrants should be allowed to come to the United States. Thirty-eight percent said the number should stay the same.

“If Obama starts using executive orders to grant citizenship or to stop deportations I think he gives Republicans a big opening,” said Jennifer Duffy, of the Cook Political Report analyst group. “It’ll be about the issue at hand, immigration, but it also feeds into this Republican narrative of overreach, of sort of abusing his power.”

Maybe that upcoming mega-amnesty, which is bound to give coyotes lots more ideas, will end up waiting for the lame-duck session.