One lousy minute—at most.
That’s the time President Joe Biden devoted to the topic of border security and immigration in his State of the Union speech Tuesday. Those of us paid to analyze and write about it were hoping for more.
After all, about 5 million people have attempted to illegally enter our country in Biden’s two years in office, and half of them either got in undetected or were allowed to enter through Biden’s blatant abuse of immigration parole.
Around 100 people on the terrorist watchlist were caught trying to enter last fiscal year, and nearly 40 more since the new year started in October. Common sense dictates even more terrorists and criminals were among the 1.2 million “gotaways” who intentionally evaded the Border Patrol in Biden’s term of office so far.
When Biden did finally touch on immigration in his address, here’s what he said:
If we won’t pass my comprehensive immigration reform, at least pass my plan to provide the equipment and officers to secure the border. And a pathway to citizenship for ‘Dreamers,’ those on temporary status, farmworkers, and essential workers.
In other words, “Republicans, give me everything I want, or some of what I want, but I’ll give you nothing you want, like actual border security or enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.”
Biden then claimed that “unlawful migration from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela has come down 97%” thanks to his newly invented parole “pathways” and additional resources at the border. This was about as credible as his claim that the leftist madman who attacked Paul Pelosi was motivated by the Jan. 6 riots.
With his likely unconstitutional “parole” program, he’s telling illegal immigrants to come in through our official border crossings, where we will openly let them in and put them on “parole” while they await asylum hearings. Biden says the program has reduced illegal border crossings 97% only because he has shifted where illegal immigrants come in to the country—moving them from illegal border crossing areas to official border checkpoints. This entire invented process undermines our legal immigration system and will incentivize millions more to come illegally.
Biden spared a few more seconds to recognize that “fentanyl is killing more than 70,000 Americans a year,” proposing to “launch a major surge to stop fentanyl production, sale, and trafficking, with more drug detection machines to inspect cargo and stop pills and powder at the border.”
What this “major surge” could consist of, he did not say. Better border inspections aren’t a bad idea, but they won’t bother the thousands of illegal immigrants who sneak across our porous border every week carrying backpacks filled with undeclared goods.
So, why does he ignore the historical illegal immigration crisis happening on his watch?
I see three underlying motivations behind the administration’s unprecedented opening of the southern border and deliberate sabotaging of effective immigration enforcement—none of which he’d want to talk about.
First, ideology. Today’s Democratic Party is beholden to its leftist element that believes borders are bad, as are the nation-states that they preserve. Borderless globalism isn’t new—remember the Communist International, the association of communist parties from around the world that started in the early 1900s—but it’s never had much support in America until recently.
Second, electoral advantage. Some on the Left think mass immigration will ensure permanent numerical supremacy for the Democratic Party. This thinking is not new—Aaron Sorkin used it as a plotline in a 2001 episode of his TV show “The West Wing,” and John Judis and Ruy Teixeira wrote a book in 2004 called “The Emerging Democratic Majority.”
As it turns out, some of the new immigrants are actually conservative on family values, economics, and even immigration, but the hope for Democrats lives on.
Third, extortion. Both Republicans and Democrats are frustrated at Congress’ increasing division and lack of bipartisan cooperation to get things done. Democrats have long wanted another mass amnesty for illegal aliens—the last major one having been in 1986. Republicans remember that well—they got almost none of the promised workplace and interior enforcement in return. They insist on meaningful efforts to cap the geyser of illegal immigrants and drugs pouring over the border before they will discuss structural reforms as to who we let in and how.
A negligible comment on immigration in his most important speech of the year shows that Biden has no real interest in compromise. It’s his way or the highway. By opening the border to unlimited entry by supposed “asylum seekers,” while inventing new parole programs that were clearly unintended by Congress when it wrote the law, he can aim at all three of the above goals with no immediate risk to his political fortunes.
Republicans can cut his budgets and carry out rigorous investigations and oversight, but this will not stop him from riding roughshod over immigration law, traditional norms of presidential authority, or the national consensus that immigration should be legal and have limits.
The fact that Biden spoke for less than a minute on the border—and another 30 seconds on the fentanyl crisis that is killing thousands of Americans a month—shows exactly how little he cares about the problem.
As far as immigration and border security go, the state of the union is not united. With no credible border, it’s sometimes hard to see where the nation even begins.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal