Biden admin official on immigration policy: 'There is a complete lack of direction'

Biden admin official on immigration policy: 'There is a complete lack of direction'
AP Photo/Fernando Llano

Buzzfeed just published a story based on interviews with 20 government officials, some of whom are Biden appointees. All of the quotes are anonymous because they are critical of the administration’s handling of the border, though as you’ll see these are criticisms coming from Biden’s left flank.

“There is a complete lack of direction,” said one administration official. “Everything is deferred to the White House National Security Council, which can’t see past low polls on immigration and are terrified their own shadow may be a pull factor. Career and political staff are equally concerned.”

Another administration official echoed those remarks. “I don’t know what our immigration strategy is at all,” the official said. “I don’t know if we are building an infrastructure for the future, or what direction we will be going in as we head into a midterm election year.”

When they say Biden doesn’t have a strategy I think what they mean is that he doesn’t seem to have a strategy that’s very different from Trump’s strategy. They talked about getting rid of Title 42 months ago and then decided (correctly) that was a terrible idea in light of the surge at the border. But others that Buzzfeed spoke to were even more explicitly partisan. How dare the Biden administration make any efforts at all to deter people at the border.

“They are almost exclusively focused on detention, deterrence, and generally treating asylum-seekers with as much violence and inhumanity as the prior administration,” this official said. “Honestly, I don’t know how much longer I can stay at DHS if this continues. I stayed because I believed Joe Biden and Kamala Harris when they promised to build it back better. The despair I am feeling about what they are doing now is indescribable. I can’t go on like this.”

But the story goes on to say that it’s not true the administration is focused on deterrence. It may seem that way to someone on the far left but in fact Buzzfeed reports the Biden administration isn’t really focused on anything, leaving it to appointees to battle over what to do.

Direction and clarity do not exist under the Biden administration, according to officials who spoke with BuzzFeed News. While Biden has been vocal on the administration’s efforts in Congress and to protect immigrants known as Dreamers, he has largely eschewed discussing other issues, like access to asylum at the border or how ICE should operate.

In the meantime, policymaking has been doled out by appointees who, at times, have vastly different perspectives on what needs to happen. Due to the leadership vacuum, some say, administration officials are left to battle it out among those who favor a tougher approach and those who do not, leading to a mixed bag of policies.

The story ends by quoting a lawyer who represents migrants trying to enter the country. He says Title 42 is cruel and sends people back to either their own countries or Mexico. Either way, he claims, they face persecution and discrimination. No doubt that’s true in a few cases but the media has been very careful about downplaying the extent to which nearly all of the people currently applying for asylum are doing so because they want a better life in America, i.e. they are economic migrants. The economic dilemma is real in many cases but it’s not a legal reason to apply for asylum and most of the people who do apply this year, as in past years, will not be granted asylum.

That’s the game Democrats have been playing for several years now. They talk about appropriate access to make asylum claims but they know that 90% of these people aren’t eligible and, despite that, will never leave once welcomed into the interior of the US. It’s open borders with the barest possible gloss of legal process. And because the migrants and the smugglers know that’s what is really happening you get massive surges of migrants like the Haitians in Del Rio last weekend.

Until we have an actual policy to control the flow of migrants they will take advantage of the system that exists. And that’s exactly why we’re quickly approaching the largest number of border encounters ever recorded in a single fiscal year. Moving the policy even further to the left, as some of Buzzfeed’s unnamed officials seem to want, will only make things worse.

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