August 18, 2021
By Dale Wilcox
The Biden administration recently unveiled its much-awaited immigration plan, and it is as awful as we’ve come to expect from this White House.
The administration’s so-called “root causes” strategy would aim to solve the border crisis by nation-building across Latin America. The plan, endorsed by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, would shower billions of dollars on Central American countries, with the stated goals of fixing their problems so that their citizens are not inclined to come to America.
On its face, this plan may seem idealistic, but in reality it is deeply cynical. The idea that centuries-old problems of poverty and crime can be solved by simply throwing more money at those problems is an idea that has been discredited time and time again, including in the countries Biden’s root causes strategy aims to help.
In 2019, the U.S. sent over $85 million to El Salvador, more than $157 million to Guatemala, and over $70 million to Honduras, among other countries. By now, it should be clear that sending cash to corrupt, unstable governments is not going to remove the incentive for citizens of those countries to come to America. The only way to remove that incentive is to get serious about border security, and start turning migrants away. Yet, that appears to be a non-starter for this administration. Biden and Harris have repeatedly emphasized that addressing the “root causes” of migration would be the cornerstone of their immigration strategy, not border security.
On his first day in office, Biden proposed an additional $4 billion in foreign aid for Latin American countries, as if that would do anything to advance America’s interests. The irony is that Biden and his administration have recognized the follies of nation-building in other parts of the world. Biden has withdrawn nearly all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, ending America’s involvement in the country after 20 years of war, with the rationale that the U.S. cannot solve fundamental problems in other countries.
“We spent over a trillion dollars, over 20 years. We trained and equipped with modern equipment over 300,000 Afghan forces … they’ve got to fight for themselves,” Biden said earlier this month,
Why then, would Biden undertake similar nation-building operations in Central American countries?
The strategy simply doesn’t make sense, because it’s not supposed to make sense. The confusion is the point. The Biden administration’s immigration strategy is all about optics, not substance. Their goal is to continuously distract and deflect from the real problems at the border, and hope that their allies in the corporate media will have their backs.
However, privately, top administration officials appear to know that the situation at the border is unsustainable. Leaked audio released earlier this month showed Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas implying that the U.S. border is at its breaking point.
“A couple of days ago I was down in Mexico, and I said look, you know, if, if our borders are the first line of defense, we’re going to lose and this is unsustainable,” Mayorkas said. “We can’t continue like this, our people in the field can’t continue and our system isn’t built for it.”
When even the anti-borders Mayorkas is sounding the alarm, it reveals just how out-of-touch the Biden administration’s “root causes” plan is. Poll after poll has shown that the American people want border security, not pie-in-the sky nation-building plans.
If Biden and Harris were serious about securing the border, there are many obvious steps they could take to do so. They could end catch-and-release. They could build the wall. They could enforce Title 42. But this administration is not serious about immigration, which is why they have scrapped the Trump administration’s successful border security in favor of a nation-building plan, which is both unserious and unrealistic.
Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
Also published at: Dale Wilcox, Biden-Harris immigration plan neither serious nor realistic, The Hill, August 18, 2021.
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