NYT: Say, Democrats have gotten mighty quiet about detained "migrant children," huh?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

They certainly have, although the New York Times has been slow to recognize it. The New York Post reported on this phenomenon two months ago, specifically in relation to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez but also more broadly among House and Senate Democrats. Where they once demanded public hearings and manned the barricades at protests over detention of child migrants, Joe Biden’s allies have suddenly discovered the golden-ness of public silence:

House Democrats, who led an angry charge against the Trump administration’s treatment of migrant children, have taken a much quieter tack since concerns began emerging about conditions at some of the emergency shelters set up by the Biden administration to deal with minors at the southern border.

Where once only Twitter assaults and dressing-downs at House hearings would suffice, Democratic lawmakers are voicing worries privately to administration officials and the small staff at the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the care. If problems persist, the lawmakers say they call again.

Democrats say the contrast is for good reason: former President Donald J. Trump’s immigration policies were deliberately cruel, devised as a deterrent to would-be migrants, while the Biden administration is trying hard to deal with a bad hand.

This is a nonsense argument, although it’s really the only one House Democrats have to cover their hypocrisy. Trump also inherited “a bad hand” on human trafficking across the southern border, thanks to the previous Barack Obama-Joe Biden administration. They refused to set incentives against illegal border crossings and never bothered to press Mexico into action to prevent it. While the family-separation policies were needlessly cruel, the rest of the Trump incentive structure was reasonable for border security — and had been effective at restraining trafficking.

Biden reversed those incentives from the moment he assumed office. His campaign promised to be more “welcoming” to asylum seekers, which touched off expectations of open borders — a point even some of Biden’s allies raised, to no avail. Eliminating the Mexico First policy on housing asylum seekers further raised the incentives to swarm the border. The result has been and still is suffering on an order of magnitude higher than the previous status quo under Trump. After that became too obvious to ignore, the White House tried to declare the border closed and discouraged people from traveling, but they continued to leave the same incentives in place — and incentives are what matter most.

That’s what makes the silence of the Democratic lambs so hypocritical and infuriating. They raised a huge stink over Trump’s policies, supposedly out of humanitarian concerns. Regardless of Biden’s intent, the results of his policies have been a disaster on every level, especially humanitarian — and suddenly Democrats want to hide behind closed doors while assuring everyone they still care. They care, all right — about their own partisan interests. And the media’s belated notice of this point speaks to their own ideological and partisan interests. One cheer to the Gray Lady for finally noticing, but the Democrats’ silence on this stopped being “news” weeks ago.