Opinion: To win, Biden must act on the border

Joe Biden surely knows that chaos at the border threatens his reelection. America’s future as a democracy can’t wait for the much-needed overhaul of the immigration system. November is approaching, and Biden must take radical steps to deal with the crisis.

Let’s be clear. Donald Trump would destroy America as we know it. There is no way I would vote for someone who would turn our beautiful country into a tawdry dictatorship. But that’s me. Scenes of disorder could peel away voters otherwise well-disposed to the president.

As it now stands, a flood of migrants cross the southern border illegally, intentionally get caught and claim persecution. They are then allowed to stay pending an asylum hearing, the date of which can be years away. The great majority are obviously coming for economic reasons, but rather than apply through the normal channels, they take advantage of our broken asylum process.

There are “advocates” who will threaten Biden if he curbs the asylum program. Their spokespeople seem to have office passes on CNN and permanent bunks on MSNBC.

But I am hard-pressed to find anyone who buys the advocates’ arguments, and I’m surrounded by liberals. Their cities reel under the weight of new arrivals, many with families in tow, needing to be fed and housed.

The reality recently hit home when a Christian Brother, among the most humane men I know, said that he helps refugees but is frustrated by the masses coming over. Nor are open borders, or the perception of them, the key to Latino support that the advocates claim it is. If that were the case, then polls wouldn’t be showing Trump gaining support among Hispanics and Biden losing it.

Biden is running a delightful economy; thank you, Joe, for the record stock prices. For Americans with few skills, however, waves of poor migrants threaten their jobs and suppress wages. Immigration is an economic issue.

One can argue that this country needs workers, and here they are. But Americans should be able to decide who and how many come in.

And it’s no longer just impoverished central Americans or Venezuelans who are crossing illegally. It’s middle-class Chinese. There’s a recent surge in Africans who fly to Central America and make their way to our southern border with plans to enter illegally.

One African told a reporter at a San Diego migrant center, “Getting into the United States is certain compared to European countries, and so I came.” So much for the deterrence power of the U.S. immigration laws.

Upon arriving, the asylum claimants are not allowed to work, hence you have these encampments on the sidewalks. Destination cities like Denver, Chicago and New York must deal with the expense of feeding and housing the arrivals, often with families in tow.

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston argues that his city has a labor shortage and granting these migrants work permits would fill that need while also letting them pay their own way. But here’s the problem: Jobs are why most of them cross the border. Providing them with employment only makes the job magnet stronger.

For all his nasty talk about immigrants, Trump does not get off the hook on this matter. He was an enthusiastic employer of illegal labor, never built that wall with Mexico and refused to punish U.S. employers for hiring undocumented workers. Barack Obama deported more people than Trump did. The advocates went after Obama, too, and, if we remember, Obama won reelection.

Immigration is good for the country as long as it is orderly. And defeating Trumpism is essential for the country. Can we count on Biden’s excellent political instincts to do what he must to win in November?

— Froma Harrop is a syndicated columnist with Creators.


Welcome to the new LJWorld.com. Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.