Unchecked immigration is already the Achilles heel of this presidency. With grand humanitarian fanfare, Biden has reversed virtually all Trump’s more restrictive policies, effectively helicoptering ‘Welcome to the United States!’ flyers all over Latin America. In May alone, the border patrol ‘encountered’ more than 180,000 migrants. This financial year, with four months to go, the force has detained nearly one million migrants, more than double the number of the previous full financial year under Trump. That’s only the people they catch. So far, Biden’s answer to the crisis is to build more detention centers, which is like trying to solve the obesity epidemic by building more Burger Kings.
Awarded the brimming poisoned chalice of responsibility for the southern border, Kamala Harris claims repeatedly that the solution is to address migration’s ‘root causes’. But were there a button to make the whole of Central America prosperous, law-abiding and justly governed, someone would have pressed it long ago. When visiting the region last month, Kamala’s stern injunction to this restive population — ‘Do not come!’ — is apt to prove as fiendishly effective as Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just say no to drugs’.
I’m not persuaded that the Democratic party is necessarily scheming to import future Democratic voters with porous borders. Rather, Biden desperately wants to court a reputation for being nice, in contrast to his meanie predecessor. But an aspiration to kindliness is at diametric odds with enforcing immigration laws.