At the end of President Biden’s meetings last week with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the trio issued a document captioned the “Declaration of North America” (DNA). In the DNA, the trio underlined their determination “to fortify our region’s security, prosperity, sustainability and inclusiveness through commitments across six pillars” — one of which was “migration and development”. I would contend that this pillar in Biden’s DNA gives short shrift to border security and U.S. national sovereignty, but in reality, it negates both.
Mr. Biden Goes to Mexico City. Directly after his January 8 visit to a bowdlerized version of the Southwest border in El Paso, Texas, the president travelled on to Mexico City, where he engaged in talks with AMLO and Trudeau over a variety of regional issues.
According to AP, it did not start well, as AMLO “challenged” Biden at the outset “to end an attitude of ‘abandonment’ and ‘disdain’ for Latin America and the Caribbean”. Respectfully, given the fact that hundreds of thousands of migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean have entered the United States illegally since Biden took office, the president’s not the one “abandoning” the region.
In any event, the three rolled up their sleeves and got to work, and at the end held a rather lengthy press conference, issued the DNA, and went home.
“Migration and Development”. As noted, there are six pillars in the DNA: (1) diversity, equity, and inclusion; (2) climate change and the environment; (3) competitiveness; (4) migration and development; (5) health; and (6) regional security. I will leave it to experts in the five other fields to focus on those commitments, while I turn to pillar four, “migration and development”.
That pillar begins by noting that it has been six months since 21 national leaders endorsed the “Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection”, which the DNA describes as “a bold new framework for regional responsibility-sharing”.
Idealistically, the signatories to the declaration asserted, “Migration should be a voluntary, informed choice and not a necessity”. Directly thereafter, however, they averred:
We are committed to protecting the safety and dignity of all migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons, regardless of their migratory status, and respecting their human rights and fundamental freedoms. We intend to cooperate closely to facilitate safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration and, as appropriate, promote safe and dignified returns, consistent with national legislation, the principle of non-refoulement, and our respective obligations under international law.
One word that is notably missing from the list of adjectives (“safe, orderly, humane, and regular”) before the noun “migration” is “legal”. It was not a scrivener’s error.
And it is well, right, and good that the signatories to the declaration plan to “cooperate closely” on the issue of migration, but, respectfully, countries such as the “Co‑operative Republic of Guyana” and “the Oriental Republic of Uruguay” are not intended destinations for the hundreds of thousands of migrants moving through the Americas — the United States is.
The DNA continues: “Since June, Mexico, the United States and Canada have collectively welcomed record numbers of migrants and refugees from the Western Hemisphere under new and expanded labor and humanitarian programs.”
There is a lot to unpack in that one sentence but suffice it to say that few if any “migrants and refugees” are headed to Canada, whereas to the extent that they are being “welcomed” in Mexico, it is usually only under the proviso that they keep going north.
It is the verb “welcomed” in that sentence, however, that gives up the administration’s game. Absent is any intention on the part of the Biden administration to dissuade or deter foreign nationals from undertaking the deadly trek to the United States.
That omission is deliberate, because as my colleague Mark Krikorian has explained:
Past administrations, including Democratic ones, acknowledged public concern over immigration by tightening their policies to make it harder for foreigners to illegally enter.
This administration, on the other hand, is the first in our nation’s history to reject the very idea of deterring illegal immigration.
That’s not because there’s some kind of plan to import voters. Sure, those are ancillary benefits for the left, but the deeper reason this administration, from the president on down, doesn’t think what’s happening at the border is important is that they believe immigration controls are morally wrong — period. They believe that the American people simply have no right to keep anyone out. And if the immigration law requires them to do that — as it obviously does — they’ll do their best to circumvent and ignore the law.
If you’re looking for proof of Krikorian’s assertions, just keep reading the DNA, wherein Biden, AMLO, and Trudeau affirm their “joint commitment to safe, orderly, and humane migration under the Los Angeles Declaration and other relevant multilateral frameworks”.
This, the DNA explains, includes “providing protection to refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable migrants” and “assisting host communities and promoting migrant and refugee integration”.
One would be forgiven if, reading the DNA, you forgot that there are laws (both civil and criminal) that bar the illegal entry of all aliens to the United States, including “migrants” and “asylum seekers”.
That does not mean that the government shouldn’t protect such individuals. To the contrary, they should be protected, but under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), that protection must only be accorded in detention, at least until those individuals are granted asylum or some other sort of immigration status. If such status is denied, the INA mandates they be removed.
The Biden administration, however, largely refuses to detain illegal entrants. Notwithstanding that detention mandate for illegal entrants in the INA, Biden has released — by my estimates — some 1.7 million migrants into the United States. Worse, even as illegal entries swelled last fiscal year, the president asked Congress to cut DHS detention funding in his FY 2023 budget request.
Instead, the president wants Congress to give him nearly $1 billion to shelter, feed, and transport the migrants it has illegally released through the United States. That’s what the DNA is referencing in its statement about “assisting host communities and promoting migrant and refugee integration”.
Asylum is the exception to the rule that aliens who enter illegally be quickly removed. Biden, however, has allowed that exception to swallow the rule by releasing hundreds of thousands of “asylum seekers” into the United States. Nothing in the DNA will slow their entry; to the contrary, it doubles down on the president’s de facto (and illegal) release policies, which will simply turbocharge the future migrant flow.
Biden really didn’t need to go to Mexico City to produce the DNA, while Trudeau and (to a lesser extent) AMLO were relegated to the role of spear-carriers in this kabuki play. The United States will bear all the burdens and costs of the “migration and development” pillar, which has been Biden’s plan all along.
But he did because federal law gives the president a degree of power over foreign relations that he doesn’t have when it comes to most other executive acts. Expect the DOJ to raise the DNA in defending the president’s otherwise indefensible immigration actions.
U.S. border security and national sovereignty aren’t afterthoughts in the “Declaration of North America” — they’re not considered at all. To Biden, the border only exists as the place that “migrants and asylum seekers” begin their “integration” into the United States, and the “United States” isn’t a sovereign nation — just a destination. That would be fine if that were what the law allowed; it’s not.