Elite politicians and journalists who inaccurately soften the reality of illegal immigration endanger desperate people and empower cartels. What’s worse is such efforts to soften this reality often stem either from an interest in burnishing their own progressive reputations or inexcusable ignorance.
It’s true that Democrats’ immigration policies can sometimes sound like compassionate solutions, which obviously makes them appealing to politicians and talking heads who have reputations to maintain and hours of airtime to fill. The consequences of those policies, however, are anything but compassionate.
As John Daniel Davidson has reported extensively, the border is surge is undeniably real and undeniably the product of President Biden’s relaxed policies and softer rhetoric. Per Davidson’s reporting, Biden’s stance—which is supported by the legacy media—is enriching international criminal cartels who make money from the dangerous and illegal business of human smuggling.
“Cartel-associated smuggling networks are making huge profits charging migrants, most of them from Central America, for passage through Mexico and into the U.S,” Davidson wrote on March 11. “As in previous migrant surges, smugglers — commonly referred to as ‘coyotes’ — are advising people to bring children with them, even offering discounted rates for adults crossing with children.”
Under the Biden administration’s new border policies, which mirror the Obama-era’s catch-and-release procedures, most of those claiming asylum will be released into the United States after a short time with instructions to appear before an immigration judge. This creates an enormous incentive for desperate people in Central America seeking a better life, but also enormous incentives for cartels and smuggling networks to profit off the flow of migrants. Indeed, cartels along the border have developed highly-sophisticated systems for tracking migrant payments, with most of their ‘customers’ remaining in a form of debt bondage even after they’re residing in the states.
Directly downstream of leftist policies and rhetoric are children put in harm’s way and cash in cartels’ pockets.
For some Democrats, of course, this cost is worth the ideological benefit of opening our borders. For others in media and politics, it’s not understood or not of concern. Journalists uncritically buy Democrats’ spin, swayed by the falsely compassionate framing and motivated by their reflexive opposition to Republicans.
The result? The legacy media is defending Biden’s policies, downplaying the crisis, and blaming Republicans. “Meanwhile,” Davidson observed poignantly last month, “smugglers are throwing six-month-old babies into the Rio Grande, and stranding infants on sandbars, and Border Patrol agents, together with local authorities, are performing heroic feats to save as many as they can.”
There are, of course, Democrats and media leftists who ideologically believe in radical open-border policies and see that as the solution to this mess. Some of them want the economic benefits. But a whole lot of them seem entirely ignorant of the humanitarian crises caused directly by these policies, supported by their rhetoric and lack of skepticism. The past few months have offered a clear and tragic illustration of this.
It would be one thing if how Democrats and the media discuss the crisis was accurate. But that is not the case.
Elites in media and politics—either out of ignorance, blind partisanship, or an uncontrollable reflex to virtue signal—are putting desperate people in danger. Those people have agency, yes. But they are not helped by American elites creating false incentives.
We’ve discussed this before in the context of political correctness, but our culture of media corruption and tech-incentivized virtue-signaling is allowing elites to treat the norms that influence other people’s lives as intellectual playthings. They pat each other on the back—bringing in the retweets, votes, mutual flattery, and cable news invitations—while ignoring or coming into no contact with the grave consequences that people of less privilege reap.