This wasn’t the only immigration lie he told at today’s presser. Rich Lowry has a list of others, like Biden falsely claiming that Trump treated immigrants more harshly than was actually the case or that his policies didn’t succeed at reducing illegal immigration. (They did, although the pandemic had a hand in that as well.) He also insisted that the “vast majority of families” arriving at the border are being turned away. If that was true before, it hasn’t been true recently: Between March 14 and 21, just 13 percent of family members were being sent back into Mexico.
But the big lie is the one the White House keeps telling, that what’s happening at the border right now is the same ol’ surge we see every spring and has nothing to do with Biden’s policies. It’s true, at least, that the numbers reliably tick up the during the more temperate months, when the desert warms up but isn’t yet so warm as to be impassable like it is in summer.
What we’re seeing right now, though, is different in scale. Watch, then read on.
Regarding immigration, Biden says "nothing has changed" at the southern border, where he says the migrant surge is seasonal. ⁰⁰"It happens every single solitary year,” he says https://t.co/HnGhfLJGhf pic.twitter.com/If2aA3yoky
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) March 25, 2021
WaPo put the current surge in perspective with this graph a few days ago:
If the projections hold, the current surge will be around 50 percent greater than the peak of what Trump dealt with two years ago. And note the months in each year. The peak for Obama in 2014 came in June. The peak for Trump came in May. We’re in March and already on pace to crush the monthly record for other recent surges. Imagine what April, May, and June will be like.
The cause of the surge is more complicated than Biden being a “nice guy.” Poor conditions in Latin America are part of it, the expected economic mega-boom coming soon to the United States as the pandemic eases is a big part of it. But it’s laughable for Biden to go on insisting that his nice-guy policies play no role when even the president of Mexico openly admits that they do. And not just laughable but weird: Incentives are always a consideration when government sets policy, in the sound expectation that people’s behavior will change as the rules do. How can Team Joe claim with a straight face that opening the border to unaccompanied minors, having the secretary of DHS publicly promise that they’ll be well cared for, and pushing a massive amnesty for illegal immigrants who are already here *isn’t* sending some signals to Central America about whether children who come now will get to stay or not?
ABC’s White House reporter, Cecilia Vega, was commendably frank about that after today’s White House presser. Biden can spin his messaging however he likes, she said, but in the end it’s all noise. Would-be migrants are looking at the policies he’s setting and taking their cues from that. If he’s not going to start turning arrivals away by reinstating Trump’s pandemic protocols for asylum applicants then they’re going to keep coming.
.@CeciliaVega on her questions to Pres. Biden on migrant surge: Many families "are saying they are coming because they believe this is a more compassionate administration. And the president didn't back away from that. He said today: this is who we are." https://t.co/M0hpW1SeLt pic.twitter.com/1dKvjtCdbL
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 25, 2021
Result: “We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years,” DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged last week. We can debate whether Biden would be as “nice” a guy as he’s being on immigration right now if he didn’t have progressives twisting his arm to move ever leftward on border enforcement. On some level he must understand that it’s not actually “nice” to encourage mass human trafficking of a vulnerable age demographic by guaranteeing them entry into the U.S. But ultimately that debate is academic. The policy is what it is and there’s no sign that it’ll change. So the crisis will get worse.