December 6, 2023
By Brian Lonergan
As most people prepare for the holidays, they may not be aware that there is a furious marketing campaign underway to make them reassess the last three years of Joe Biden’s performance as chief executive in a more positive light.
Despite the efforts of the most persuasive minds in government and the media, this campaign is dead on arrival.
The focus of this campaign has been on immigration, which has also been this administration’s most glaring failure. The American people agree, as they give Biden dismal job approval ratings for his handling of the issue.
In order to put a happy face on the White House’s immigration record, one must indulge in high levels of subterfuge and denial of reality. Few are as practiced in those arts as Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. At a briefing in November, Jean-Pierre opened herself to widespread mockery on social media by proclaiming that Biden has done “everything he can do” to secure the border.
“We have a broken immigration system,” the press secretary said. “It’s been broken for several decades now.”
As myriad experts have explained, our immigration system is not broken. Our political leaders simply lack the intestinal fortitude to enforce the laws as written.
In the first hours of his nascent presidency in January 2021, Biden took swift action on immigration policy. That included signing a flurry of executive orders that reversed most of his predecessor’s policies. The policies Biden discarded, including wall construction and interior enforcement priorities, produced what former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan has called the safest, most secure border in his 34-year law enforcement career. Biden’s replacement policies have resulted in utter chaos at the border, with more than 6.29 million southern border apprehensions and 1.7 million gotaways in the last three years, smashing all previous records.
Biden’s allies in the corporate media are doing their part to jumpstart his plummeting job approval numbers on immigration. NBC News spun a sympathetic narrative that Biden is trapped on the issue, as illegal immigration activists want more concessions to loosen the border while the public at large is fed up with the lawlessness current policies have produced.
“Controlling the border has bedeviled Biden from the start,” the peacock network said, but this is disingenuous at best. If Biden truly wanted to control the border, he could have simply left the policies he inherited on Inauguration Day in place. There were reports that Biden wanted to do exactly that, but he caved to the demands of the extreme anti-borders activists whose support helped sweep him into office.
USA Today ran a piece with the preposterous title, “Biden has the right border plan, but arbitrary caps have actually blocked legal migration.” It operates on the specious premise that America owes a debt to the world for some reason, and is obligated to import other countries’ poverty problems here. It also assumes that the vast majority of migrants have legitimate cases for asylum, and we simply need a faster way to get them here and anoint them with legal status.
That is a strange way to change public opinion, as most people are seeing the bad consequences of excessive illegal immigration in their own communities, and likely have little guilt about what the most generous nation on earth, America, allegedly owes the world. They are also aware by now that the majority of asylum claims today are eventually proven to be fraudulent.
Over at CNN, Alberto Gonzales, former attorney general under George W. Bush, admitted that he has been against ideas like border wall construction and deploying the military to the border, but is now reconsidering in the wake of Biden’s failed policies. On the way to an epiphany, he dropped this gem: “Our long-overdue charge is to unify and pass comprehensive immigration reform and do so now.”
No, no and hell no. Does any American with common sense trust Congress to perform a “comprehensive reform” of anything right now? We would only get more of the same, a bloated legislative monstrosity that makes problems worse and allocates government pork to radical progressive special interest groups. Forcing government to enforce its existing laws would be the best reform.
Selling the Biden administration’s performance on immigration is destined to fail because the product is inherently unsellable. Most Americans are highly skeptical of government and news media anyway. The messages on immigration they get from both entities are at odds with the lived reality people see every day. Much like Madison Avenue’s colossal failures to repackage Coke and Bud Light, this campaign is headed for the ash heap of history.
Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) in Washington, D.C, and co-host of IRLI’s “No Border, No Country” podcast.
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