Pathological Altruism, Democratic Politics, And Class Interests Behind Border Crisis
Democrats and the educated upper-middle class sought mass migration that spiraled out of control
Building a wall along America’s southern border would be cruel, argued reporters, progressives, and Democrats over the last decade. Trump’s border wall would be a “monument to racism, tweeted Congressmember Ilhan Omar.” Then-Senator Kamala Harris called it a “medieval vanity project.” Before he was elected President, Joe Biden vowed, “there will not be another foot of wall constructed” under his watch. He then sold unfinished sections of it for scrap.
President Biden campaigned on a “more compassionate” approach to illegal immigration, going to great lengths to differentiate himself from his predecessor. He did this with a slate of Executive Orders, including a 100-day moratorium on deportations. Biden also rejected a number of Trump-era presidential orders, memoranda, and proclamations aimed at increasing border security.
The result has been chaos.
By May, half of New York City's hotel rooms were occupied by asylum seekers. Currently, the city is receiving around 600 migrants daily, mostly via bus from southern border cities. After declaring a state of emergency, Mayor Eric Adams has moved to suspend the City’s long-standing right-to-shelter mandate.
Since Biden took office, illegal migrant crossings have soared at the southern border. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reported more than 260,000 migrant encounters last month, which is a new record.
The Biden Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services is rushing unaccompanied minors through its massively backlogged system, even though that has meant losing track of 85,000 of them and releasing children to unvetted sponsors.
Border Patrol officials say they are overwhelmed.
“There's no enforcement of the current immigration laws on the books,” said Manny Bayon, a Border Patrol agent and president of National Border Patrol Union Local 1613. “Obviously, the prior administration under Trump, we did have enforcement, and that's what we were doing, enforcing immigration laws.”
Biden’s policies aren’t the only factor causing the border crisis, of course. “Push factors” driving current waves of migration include political instability, tyranny, gang violence, hunger, and economic destitution — many of these factors exacerbated during the pandemic — in countries of origin.
While Mexico continues to account for the majority of migrants, the last few years have seen significant populations from Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Columbia as well. Venezuela’s economic collapse has spurred the largest humanitarian exodus ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, with more than 7 million people fleeing since 2015.
But Latin American nations have been in crisis before. The 1960s and 1970s saw military coups and socialist revolutions up and down the Americas. The 1980s and 1990s saw civil wars in Central and South America. While these events increased both legal and illegal immigration into the United States, none of them spurred anything close to today’s deluge of migrants.
And the crisis plainly worsened after Biden took office. Shortly thereafter, a new wave of migrants began arriving at the border. The perception, created by Biden, of a more relaxed approach sent a message to the world that there would be fewer consequences for illegal entry.
This included a record number of unaccompanied minors entering the shelter system in 2022.
“Under Trump, we had more power to intervene in those types of situations,” Carlos Arellano, a former site administrator turned whistleblower at New York’s largest migrant shelter, told Public about the influx of unaccompanied minors he said are being rushed through the system.