Has the border crisis gotten so bad for Joe Biden that he’s forced to take it seriously ahead of the midterms? First he notably declined to change the Remain in Mexico policy after the Supreme Court handed him a win on the policy change a month ago. This week, DC mayor Muriel Bowser activated the National Guard to deal with a very small percentage of the migrants flooding across the border, finally acknowledging the crushing wave hitting border states for the last eighteen months.
Now, DHS has quietly announced that they intend to start completing Donald Trump’s border wall in a high-traffic area of Arizona, two years almost to the day after Biden pledged not to build “another foot” of it:
The Biden administration on Thursday authorized completion of the Trump-funded U.S.-Mexico border wall in an open area of southern Arizona near Yuma, where four wide gaps make it among the busiest corridors for illegal crossings.
The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that the work to complete the project near the Morelos Dam will better protect migrants who can get hurt slipping down a slope or drown walking through a low section of the Colorado River.
The area is the third busiest crossing for migrants who can easily walk across the river to surrender to border officials.
Completion of the wall was at the top of former President Donald Trump’s agenda, and border security remains a potent issue for candidates of both parties going into this year’s primary elections. President Joe Biden halted new wall construction after he took office, but he has since made closing the gaps just south of Yuma a priority.
Count this as yet another about-face from Biden, who now needs to save face:
Biden, Aug 2020: "There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration"
Mayorkas, today: green light to fill 4 border gaps "within an incomplete border barrier project near the Morelos Dam" in the Yuma Sector – citing safety risk to migrants
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) July 29, 2022
Biden made a number of such pledges and others about reversing Trump’s immigration policies. Those statements and actions at the beginning of Biden’s term incentivized the massive migrant surge on the border that the Remain in Mexico policy had largely discouraged until after the 2020 election.
He’s been backing away slowly for a while now:
2020 – Not another foot of the border wall will be constructed. End all land confiscation including pending cases.
2021 – Continues land confiscation.
2022 – Continues border wall construction. pic.twitter.com/DJTLaoxoLr
— Maze (@mazemoore) July 29, 2022
So why flip-flop all the way now? It might be that the White House has seen the results of polling and special elections in the border regions and realizing that they’ve hung House Democrats out to dry. Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez have been vocally opposed to Biden’s handling of the border, especially Cuellar, who got rewarded for his input with a progressive primary challenge.
For now, DHS cites this as a safety measure, but that was also the same argument that the Trump administration made for completing the wall, or at least one of them. The barriers prevented migrants from crossing in lightly patrolled areas with the most dangerous environments, and it slowed down migration to make communities in the Southwest more safe, too. The busing of migrants into DC and allegedly into New York as well might have made the “safety” issue a bit more critical for Biden, too.
The border-crisis disaster might mean losing a Senate seat, too — which is likely the catalyst:
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona, who is seeking his party nomination’s next week to defend the seat in November, has pressed the Biden administration to close the gaps, calling them a challenge for officials trying to secure the border.
Thats’s another sure sign that Biden has a big problem on the border. And it’s yet another example of an administration that has no strategic thinking whatsoever but instead just bounces from self-created crisis to self-created crisis. That’s as true on the border as it is on energy, inflation, recession, and shortages such as the baby formula crisis.
We might end up with a Trump policy on the border under Biden, not because he’s adjusting to events, but because he literally has no other ideas that work. It’s a demagogue’s default.
By the way, Biden’s not the only one with some explaining to do:
— Lie-Able Sources (@LieAbleSources) July 29, 2022