Yesterday, I wrote a piece questioning whether President Biden would mention immigration during the State of the Union Address. As my post explored, all of the media coverage leading up to Tuesday night’s speech failed to mention immigration being a topic the president would discuss. Concluding that piece, I wrote “The Biden administration is struggling on many fronts, and ignoring one of the most important issues to the American people would not appear to be a successful strategy to regaining public support or achieve Democrats’ desire to retain control of Congress come November.”
As it turns out, President Biden did mention immigration last night, albeit briefly. Nearly an hour into his speech, President Biden doubled down on amnesty and increasing legal immigration, while refusing to take ownership of the policies that have fueled our nation’s historic border crisis. Instead of highlighting the need to secure the border in response to the more than two million illegal aliens who have been encountered at the Southern border, Biden highlighted his administration’s installation of “new technology like cutting edge scanners to better detect drug smuggling”. (Emphasis added.) Drugs are pouring across our border wreaking havoc on American communities, but not a word was uttered that economic migrants should stop taking the journey north.
The closest Biden came to mentioning the illegal aliens coming to the border was his claim that “We’re putting in place dedicated immigration judges so families fleeing persecution and violence [sic] can have their cases heard faster.” The thing is, the Trump administration already had that infrastructure in place, the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, or Remain in Mexico), the Prompt Asylum Case Review (PACR) and Humanitarian Asylum Review Program (HARP), not to mention the Asylum Cooperative Agreements (ACAs) with several Northern Triangle countries. The Biden administration swiftly terminated all of these policies despite their clear successes in deterring economic migrants from exploiting our asylum system.
Biden’s message continued his administration’s focus on the (illegal) alien as opposed to the impact unchecked immigration has on American workers. He called for amnesty for “Dreamers, those on temporary status, farm workers, and essential workers”, essentially H.R. 6, a bill that the American people oppose and the Senate lacks the votes to pass. Biden also seemingly called for unlimited levels of legal immigration “so businesses have the workers they need”. The president said these immigration reforms are “the economically smart thing to do” despite the fact that his amnesty is projected to cost taxpayers billions and that an increased supply of foreign workers would depress the wages and opportunities for Americans.
If you’re wondering who benefits economically from such a proposal, Biden filled in that answer in the next sentence, mentioning that he has the backing of the Chamber of Commerce. As I testified before Congress last year, mass immigration — both legal and illegal — benefits the owners of capital and the individual alien workers at a significant economic expense to American workers, particularly the least skilled and least educated.
Last night’s address was an opportunity for President Biden to pivot on immigration, to emphasize border security, to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to enforce the law in the interior, and to declare the American people as the primary stakeholder in U.S. immigration policy. The issue of immigration was largely absent in the 2020 presidential campaign, but the American people are now fully informed of his policy positions. How will voters respond in the 2022 midterms and in 2024?