Despite the best efforts of the Biden administration to dismiss criticism or shift blame to the previous president, the American people are increasingly dissatisfied with Biden’s border fiasco.
A recent Heritage Action poll in sixteen “battleground districts” finds that the White House’s policies on the border and immigration are underwater. The most stunning part of these results is the spreading dissatisfaction across region and party. Everyday Americans are looking through the spin and seeing an administration that is ideologically driven, incapable of effectively dealing with a crisis, and working against the interests of everyday Americans.
For starters, Biden’s policies have further divided Americans, placing his party in the minority on immigration and border security issues. When asked if the border surge would make voters less likely to support candidates from the president’s party only ten percent of Democrats agreed, compared to 83 percent of Republicans. Only 17 percent of independents and 32 percent of Hispanics were more likely to vote for Biden after the surge.
Clearly, on this issue the Democratic faithful are sticking with Biden, but the crisis isn’t bringing voters to the party, it is pushing them away. For a president who claimed he would unite everyday Americans, he has been remarkably consistent in finding policies to divide Americans and kill any momentum for his domestic agenda.
On the specifics of his policies, everyday Americans, including many on the left, tend to favor the actions that were in place before Biden took charge. For instance, Trump implemented a policy of having asylum-seekers remain in Mexico to have their claims processed, weeding out meritless applicants who hoped to enter the U.S. simply by asking for refugee status. Indeed, on average career officials find the vast majority of asylum cases lack merit. Yet Biden called this policy “inhumane” and canceled “remain in Mexico.” By allowing nearly anyone who makes an asylum claim into the country, Biden has reinstated a loophole for human traffickers to exploit. Biden may not see a problem with policies, but Americans do: a full two-thirds of voters favored Trump’s remain in Mexico policy.
In addition, Biden cancelled construction on the border wall on Day One of his presidency. This wasn’t what Americans wanted. Nearly two-thirds of voters, including a third of Democrats and two-thirds of Hispanics, agree with continuing to build the border wall, a signature Trump initiative.
Even more advocate for “securing the border,” including a whopping 45 percent of Democrats. Under Trump, illegal border crossings were dramatically reduced. Under Biden they are soaring to 15-year highs, including all-time highs of unaccompanied children.
None of this is good news for the Biden administration which has yet to demonstrate it can effectively deal with the crisis at the border—or anywhere else. At the same time, Biden has eschewed constructive legal immigration reforms in favor of promoting bills offering amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants—minimum. Amnesty only promotes and encourages more illegal immigration. The combination of pro-amnesty legislation, lack of real border enforcement, and the sky-rocketing number of illegal aliens entering the U.S. every day have put the administration at odds with everyday Americans.
None of these results are terribly shocking. Americans generally share three broad concerns about illegal immigration and a porous border. One, they object to the unfairness. Why do some people get to jump the line? Why do Americans and millions of would-be immigrants worldwide have to obey the law, but we award others who don’t? Second, they worry about the public safety issues—cartels flush with money from human smuggling, gangs roaming sanctuary cities, and COVID-19 spreading across the border as states work to keep opening up. Third, they worry about the drain on U.S. taxpayers and American workers who have to deal with all the associated burdens of illegal migration.
There is no question most Americans want America to remain a proud nation of immigrants, but they want legal immigration that works, building better citizens and communities. They don’t want a damaged immigration system and broken borders.
Hard-working, law-abiding Americans will only get the border and immigration policies they deserve when national leaders in Washington perform their duties as required by law. The Trump administration demonstrated that merely enforcing existing laws could bring illegal immigration under control and secure the border. That is the model to follow, and the only place to start for returning humanity, safety, and the rule of law to our Southern border.
This piece originally appeared in The Hill on 04/19/21