An April 28 article in the Washington Examiner reports that the Biden administration was aware that a massive surge of migrants was building at the Southwest border, but wiped away Trump administration border policies that would have addressed that surge. If true, it was recklessness that you are paying hundreds of millions for.
Paragraph six in that article states:
Trump officials at the Department of Homeland Security, as well as career law enforcement officials, briefed Biden’s transition team that the surge of Mexican adults was increasing. Last March, fewer than 27,000 single adults were encountered trying to sneak into the U.S. By January, it had grown to 65,000.
The next paragraph quotes Jim Carafano from the Heritage Foundation, who from personal experience is pretty tied into such things. According to him:
It is impossible for them to argue that they had no idea that this was going to happen. ... The career people in the department told them what would happen. So they full-well knew that this was going to happen, but it is also clear that their response is inept, uncoordinated, and disorganized.
I am not unfamiliar with transition teams (I lived through a number myself), and depending on their stridency, they either accept such admonitions or they don’t. There was no love lost in candidate Biden’s team for President Trump’s immigration policies, so it doesn’t surprise me that they fell into the latter camp.
That said, it was never clear how much cooperation Trump’s DHS officials were providing their successors. It appears that they gave the Biden team fair warning, and that the Biden folks just chose to ignore it.
By way of brief background, finding little help in a Democratic-controlled House when faced with a border “emergency” in 2019, Trump instituted a number of policies and initiatives to discourage foreign nationals from entering the United States illegally.
Among the most effective of these were the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, also known as Remain in Mexico, under which arriving aliens with asylum claims were sent back across the border to Mexico to await removal hearings) and “safe third country agreements”, which allowed the United States to send migrants with asylum claims abroad to make those claims elsewhere.
Biden ended MPP, backed out of those agreements, and scrapped most of Trump’s other initiatives. While he has kept Trump-era CDC expulsion orders for illegal migrants issued under Title 42 of the U.S. Code in response to the COVID pandemic, his administration has limited their application. Currently, those orders don’t cover most families or any unaccompanied children.
Plainly, candidate Biden’s criticisms of Trump’s initiatives — and his promises to undo them — on the campaign trail were going to encourage illegal immigration once he became president. There is a big difference between a foregone conclusion and an outright warning, however, which suggests that Biden’s expeditious undoing of Trump’s policies was downright “reckless”.
That term is defined for legal purposes as: “Behavior that is so careless that it is considered an extreme departure from the care a reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances.”
Ignoring intelligence that large numbers of migrants were headed toward the Southwest border to fulfill campaign promises fits that definition, especially if you know that it is going to significantly degrade Border Patrol’s effectiveness, cost a bundle, and result in suffering.
I recently wrote about a letter from two GOP congressmen to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that details the costs of Biden’s border decisions (to the extent that those costs are known; the pair are seeking information from OMB on the total costs, at the federal, state, and local levels).
Those costs run into the hundreds of million dollars, meaning that you are paying the bill for that recklessness.
And those are just the financial costs. They don’t include the human misery at overcrowded detention centers that the Biden administration is using to hold a wave of migrants (and in particular migrant children) that is at historic proportions.
On his campaign website, then-candidate Biden asserted:
The Trump Administration’s policies have created a humanitarian disaster at our border and grossly mismanaged the unprecedented resources Congress has allocated for it. Trump has diverted money to terrorize immigrant families, even as CBP facilities at the border are overwhelmed. After almost three years, this Administration still doesn’t have a coherent plan for the protection and processing of children and families.
That was then. The “now” is, if anything, worse, and at least Trump could cite his lack of experience. President Biden does not have that excuse — he lived through similar surges as Barack Obama’s vice president, and should have known better.
Especially if his transition team had fair warning. Which, if the Washington Examiner and Carafano are correct, it did.