It took nearly three years, but reality has finally intruded upon the Biden administration’s border fantasies. Thank two Republican governors for the long overdue wake-up call.
On Thursday, the White House announced that it plans to suspend nearly two dozen laws and regulations to hasten construction of additional barriers on our southern border. This is a reversal of epic proportions.
When President Joe Biden entered office in January 2021, one of his first actions was to rescind a Trump-era executive order that promoted the former president’s vision of a “big, beautiful wall” to slow illegal entries into the United States. Mr. Biden and most Democrats had vociferously opposed such efforts. “Building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution,” he said.
It turns out, however, that neither is advancing a de facto open borders policy that serves as a magnet for immigrants and encourages them to illegally enter the United States. More than 2 million “migrant entries were recorded in each of the last two years,” the New York Times reported.
The administration attempted to keep the flip-flop low key. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas buried the rationale, the Times reported, in a notice published this week in the Federal Registry indicating that the White House wants to get moving on beefing up the border in Starr County, Texas.
“There is presentlyan acute and immediate need to construct physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the border of the United States in order to prevent unlawful entries into the United States,” Mr. Mayorkas noted.
Let’s remember that Republican Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas were pilloried by progressives for sending migrants who illegally entered their states to so-called “sanctuary cities” such as Chicago and New York. But few political stunts over the years have proven more effective and astute. When migrants overran the social service capabilities of these large municipalities, the Democratic mayors of both the Big Apple and the Windy City howled with indignation and pointed fingers at the White House. Point made. Mission accomplished.
Whether Mr. Biden’s change of heart is simply a ploy designed to minimize the political damage from his administration’s failure to get a handle on the border remains to be seen. If not, let’s hope this Biden epiphany helps jump-start Congress to take a common-sense compromise path on reform that emphasizes the importance of border security while also acknowledging the economic and cultural value of legal immigration.
This commentary initially appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.