I think the editors of the Washington Post are correct in drawing attention to the contradictions in the Biden Administration’s immigration policy:
The Biden administration is engaged in a high-wire act at the U.S.-Mexico border, trying to dismantle what it rightly regards as former president Donald Trump’s inhumane immigration policies and simultaneously to avoid signaling to desperate migrants that the doors to the United States have swung open amid a pandemic. The stance is inherently contradictory — little wonder it began springing leaks days after the new president took office.
Even as the White House issued stern admonitions that migrants should not attempt to enter the country, authorities admitted more than 1,000 unauthorized border-crossers into the country, generally to join relatives here, on criteria that have not been made clear publicly. News of those admissions has spread virally among migrants and asylum seekers, undercutting the official warnings meant to dissuade illegal entry. Meanwhile, thousands more illegal border-crossers continue to be summarily expelled under a public health emergency order issued last spring by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At the same time, officials on Friday began processing and admitting registered asylum seekers — a procedure the Trump administration effectively froze — at three ports of entry in Texas and California. Priority goes to those who have waited longest to have their cases adjudicated while living in squalid, dangerous border camps in Mexico. Eligibility also depends on coronavirus testing performed in Mexico.
indeed, in its foreign policy more generally. However, as a friend of mine once observed, don’t tell me your priorities. Tell me your relative priorities.
I’d certainly like to know how the Biden Administration would rank the following priorities:
- Instituting a more humane policy in dealing with lawbreakers at our border with Mexico
- Avoiding the encouragement of more migration from Mexico and Central America
- Getting the COVID-19 pandemic under control in the U. S.
- Reuniting families
- Admitting those seeking asylum
- Enforcing our laws—the only item in this list it is actually obligated to do
It should be obvious that doing all of them simultaneously is impossible. It would also be nice to know the explicit criteria by which people are being admitted or expelled and what in their eyes constitutes a legitimate request for asylum.