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Biden Open-Door Policy: Some Facts and Historical Context

Michael Barone on

What's been missing these past couple of months from the coverage of and debate over the failed immigration bill? Some important basic facts and lots of historical context.

First, basic facts. Coverage in left-leaning newspapers and even in the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page has suggested that without new legislation, the Biden administration would lack the legal authorization to reduce the record number of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border and remaining in the United States.

The record is not in doubt. Customs and Border Protection has reported 302,000 immigrant encounters in December, the highest in history. Similarly, the total for the first three months of the fiscal year -- October, November and December 2023 -- was 785,000 encounters, again a historical high. There's no escaping the fact that illegal border crossings have been at record levels during the Biden administration.

And there's no escaping, though in journalism, there's been plenty of evading, the fact that this surge of illegal immigration is the direct and predictable result of changes in regulation and administrative practice by the Biden administration.

For example, the president long boasted of signing on his first day in office an executive order repealing former President Donald Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy. That policy was the product of Trump's pressure on Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in response to a significantly smaller border surge.

Biden should be able to undo by executive order the policies he put in place by executive order. Any order issued on Day 1 of an administration should be revokable just as rapidly by the same administration.

 

Evidently, some Biden advisers agree. According to the left-leaning Axios website, President Joe Biden "has considered ... an executive order that would dramatically stanch the record flow of migrants into the Southwest," to be issued before his March 7 scheduled State of the Union address.

So the claims that Republicans, by opposing the Senate measure the Senate never passed, have prevented Biden from effectively enforcing the border are incorrect. And the reason for Republicans' skepticism about whether Biden would use enhanced border control authority is obviously justified by Biden's refusal to use the authority he currently has.

Biden has let in this record surge of illegal immigrants. He could cut it off.

This surge, by the way, includes relatively few Mexicans. Instead, many are from troubled Latin nations -- Honduras, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador -- and, as Fox News' Bill Melugin reports, from farther afield: China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkey, Africa.

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