Townhall, November 7, 2022
Despite purposeful legacy media suppression of a remarkable story, America well knows that President Joe Biden swung open the southern border gates and unleashed a mass illegal migration tsunami that has smashed every record in U.S. history. Polls consistently show that that America’s worst-ever mass migration catastrophe ranks in the top three issues of all voter concern in these elections, right up there with inflation and crime.
But absent from the history of the crisis is a scarcely known chapter that badly warrants comprehension for after the mid-term election ballots show a Republican sweep with voter expectation that they now do something about it.
The important missing chapter is that, through much of the crisis, a cadre of ranking, moderate White House advisers full-on revolted against what their progressive liberal colleagues were wreaking at the southern border and tried everything in their power to stop it. These White House Democrats did not work as hard as they did because the crisis was bad for the country so much as that they understood more than a year ago that American voters were going to punish the Democratic Party for it in the mid-term election – and beyond to the 2024 presidential election.
Therein lay an important opening for newly empowered Republicans.
Major newspapers reported this rebellion among centrist, pragmatic Biden advisers against “members of the Democrats’ progressive wing,” as the Wall Street Journal termed them, whose radical ideas about ending deportation and detention had brought on the crisis. The in-house insurrectionists – among them White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, national security advisor Jake Sullivan, and Domestic Policy Council Advisor Susan Rice, the Washington Post reported – pushed tough Trumpian deterrence policies to save Democrats mid-term election devastation.
They obviously failed for several reasons I document at length in my forthcoming book, Overrun: How Joe Biden Unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in U.S. History. The progressives prevailed, and the crisis went on to reach previously unimaginable millions of illegal entries, far beyond anything in the American experience.
But that all-but-forgotten White House rebellion may yet turn out to become the best and only hope that Republican victors have in having security returned to the southern border, especially if the election results prove the rebels were exactly right.
Expectations must be tempered by realization that, should Republicans gain control of both the House and Senate, all puppet strings having to do with immigration law enforcement still lead to the Oval Office, its current occupant and his political appointees in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
But since U.S. voters really care about ending the mass migration crisis, victorious Republicans and President Biden’s heavily damaged Democratic Party will suddenly have a new common interest.
For Republicans, the interest will be to mollify voters who gave them power. For Democrats, the interest will be to steal them back before the 2024 electoral fight for the White House. Will the Democrats realize their peril and fully empower those moderate pragmatists to shut down the crisis? We shall soon see.
But Republicans who are authentically interested in doing the right thing by Americans should find and cultivate allies inside the White House and DHS.
They will be the same crack team of Democratic advisers that proved they knew how to go Trump tough at the border these last two years.
White House Rebellion
Before their failure, the pragmatist rebels launched ICE air deportation campaign that shut down a politically damaging Haitian migrant encampment of 15,000 that formed in Del Rio, Texas. Seeing how well those air deportations deterred Haitians, they next mounted a vast and almost entirely unreported airlift that sent home hundreds of thousands of Central Americans, and thousands more Haitians too, deterring untold thousands from crossing. As I document in Overrun, the rebels mounted semi-secret diplomatic campaigns that had Mexico slow immigrants at its southern border. They forced Latin American countries like Costa Rica to institute new visa restrictions and arm-twisted foreign airlines into grounding routes that were being used by tens of thousands of Cubans.
The liberal progressives and their titular champion, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, prevailed by undermining each initiative. Against these, the torrent of humanity could not possibly be slowed.
Republican lawmakers who win the House and maybe the Senate too on the strength of public disgust with the mass migration crisis must still overcome a powerful White House veto for any proposed legislation. But they should remember that Democrats would have just taken a shellacking over what they did at the border and, looking ahead at 2024, find the Biden White House in a friendlier, more collaborative mood. Would Republicans find allies now among its rebel advisers, proven right about the mid-terms, newly empowered and now fearing what another five million illegal immigrants will mean in 2024?
Newly empowered Republican lawmakers and newly disempowered Democratic lawmakers should find, in their own separate motivations, that they must sideline the progressive liberals and give American people a saner border.
Deterrence: The All-or-Nothing Proposition
Their initiatives during the upswing in the crisis proved temporarily impactful but ultimately failed because others in the Biden White House made sure they were never universally applied for long enough periods of time. The immigrants knew all they had to do was wait a while.
Take the massive ICE-Air deportation flights. Trump (and Barack Obama before him) favored air expulsions to home countries because nothing struck more travel reticence in aspiring migrants than the prospect of ending up back home having lost borrowed smuggling fee fortunes.
After apprehensions of Central American families from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador tripled to 94,484 in July 2021, the White House rebels ordered deportation flights the next month. Between 195,000 and 250,000 women, children and single men were deported in just their first year, according to the liberal pro-migrant group Witness at the Border , which tracked what it termed Biden’s “death flights.” By January 2022, their numbers plummeted to pre-crisis levels of 31,658 and 39,178 in February.
By the end of July 2022, the ICE-Air flights hit 1,931, to Central America, Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Ecuador, Sierra Leon, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and India, Witness at the Border reporting shows. Flights targeting Venezuelans, Haitians, and Colombians likewise brought the numbers down but they spiked as soon as the flights ended.
That’s because illegal immigration deterrence is an all-or-nothing proposition. The closure of a gate or two could never overcome the powerful voodoo of liberal progressives who opened side doors to the majority of border crossers. So they always poured forward, undoing any progress. That doesn’t have to happen again.
The first time that Democrats fooled themselves by ignoring illegal border immigration came in 2016 when they stupidly allowed Donald Trump to ride the issue into the Oval Office. But they did not learn from that catastrophic mistake. They fooled themselves a second time by ignoring the Biden border crisis and pretending it wasn’t’ even happening even as mid-term polls showed Americans overwhelmingly hate it.
The Democratic Party can avoid playing the fool a third time, this time handing the White House to Republicans in 2024. Biden will need to loose his moderate dogs of border war to do their thing and kennel his out-of-touch progressives. Republicans need to help them out.