In the Biden White House, illegal immigration is simply politics: The politics of broader electoral viability, the politics of future voting demographics, the politics of appeasing the base, and most recently, the politics of retribution. This latest phase entered the scene this week, with the administration’s reported plan to force the millions of illegal immigrants streaming over the border to remain in Texas.
But the politics goes back to the beginning when the former vice president was sharing a debate stage with the next generation of Democrat leaders. His old boss had put a boil under the long-simmering issue with his extra-congressional amnesty for “dreamers.” President Barack Obama empowered radical immigration activists who would eventually shout him down in his own White House — and push the party’s national slate hard to the left. By the time of the 2020 primaries, Joe Biden alone stood against all of their wildest reforms, including decriminalizing illegal crossings and abolishing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Though he was old, noticeably slowing down, and had been repeatedly passed over by President Barack Obama and the rest of the poobahs, party leadership knew they needed to play on more centrist positions to compete in the general election. Aged and unwanted would take a backseat to hard power: Joe Biden was their man.
Of course, expanding third-world immigration had long been part of the Democrats’ plan. Decades before Tucker Carlson was excoriated for pointing it out, Ruy Teixeira and John Judis’s smash book, The Emerging Democratic Majority, listed the relative rise of immigrant America as one of the keys to the kingdom. Clinton strategist James Carville’s follow-up, 40 More Years—How Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation, took a sharp point and blunted it into a club. Carville’s thesis, that “Demographic change will keep swelling the Democratic ranks until Republicans have little choice but to surrender,” Teixeira lamented in 2020, “is a narrative I know well, for it is based on a bowdlerization of my own work.”
By the election of President Donald Trump, Teixeira had grown dismayed with how Democrats had treated his theory, betraying the white working-class voters he believed their coalition still required in the name of newcomers and illegals.
For the broader party, however, it’s too late for repentance (amply demonstrated on the primary debate stage in 2020). The left worked hard to establish unfettered immigration as a moral and political imperative — a necessary badge for the good progressive. Neither cartel-run border nor human slavery nor the deadly narcotics that come with it can dissuade from this. Amongst the Democratic faithful, the thoroughly British foundations of the United States have been swept away by a new creation myth, written by poet Emma Lazarus a full century after the official end of the American Revolution. For the liberal base, illegal immigration had become a moral-must –and any Democratic president hoping for re-election better toe the line.
The hopes and dreams of the activist class don’t always play with realities on the ground, however. New York City Mayor Eric Adams went viral this week for predicting illegal immigration “will destroy New York City.”
“We’re getting 10,000 migrants a month,” the Democratic mayor of a proud sanctuary city complained Wednesday night. “Now again, people from all over the globe have made their minds up that they’re going to come through the southern part of the border and come into New York City.”
By Thursday afternoon, the dependably loyal LA Times was reporting the administration was reviewing a “Remain-in-Texas policy” that would bar the Republican governor from forcing Democrat northeastern “sanctuaries” to share the burden the president’s immigration policies were putting on them.
To put it all in perspective, New York complains its buckling under 110,000 illegal immigrants since spring last year, but in Texas, 200,000 illegal crossers are arrested at the border every month. During the busiest months for illegal crossings in the Rio Grande Valley, there are 8,000 arrests a day, despite a population one-sixth the size of New York City’s. At one point in Sept. 2021, outside the town of Del Rio alone, 15,000 Haitians camped under a bridge. The town’s population is a mere 34,000. All this is a direct result of the president’s border policies.
To add to the injury, news of the White House’s plan to enforce the Southern Border on Texas’s northern border follows shortly on the administration’s attempt to stop Texas from contributing to its own border defense, effectively tying the Lone Star State’s hands before its execution.
Politics, immigration, and asylum have a long, unhappy history in the United States. While former Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton’s public dislike for each other has often been attributed to the elder man’s discomfort with Clinton’s blatant adulteries, their feud goes back nearly half a century to when Clinton was an up-and-coming Democratic star.
It began in the spring of 1980, when Cuban dictator Fidel Castro tested Democratic President Jimmy Carter’s dedication to “the huddled masses” by emptying his prisons and mental hospitals onto American shores. Overwhelmed but committed, Carter sent 10,000 of the new arrivals to a fort in Arkansas, where first-term Gov. Clinton faced a tough re-election in the fall. Frightened residents armed up, and soldiers were sent to keep order in the fort, but the summer saw a fiery prison riot that ended with a tense standoff between armed locals and the military on one side, and 1,000 angry Cubans on the other.
After the riot, Carter promised to relent, but reality stepped in and he ended up sending more Cubans to Arkansas anyway. The call was a near-disaster for the Clintons, whose Republican opponents aired constant ads of the fiery riot and Carter’s betrayal.
“Send them to a fort in some warm place out west you’re not going to win in November anyway,” Gov. Clinton had pleaded, to no avail.
“The White House message seemed to be: ‘Don’t complain, just handle the mess we gave you,’” former First Lady Hillary Clinton wrote in her memoir.
Today, the president knows 87 percent of those migrants heading to blue cities aren’t being bussed by Republican governors — they’re doing so of their own accord to seek employment. But he also knows that while his national media allies are happy to turn a blind eye, sanctuary city mayors can’t tolerate the real-life consequences of their party’s policies. In short, the president knows his immigration policies are hurting Americans.
The White House knows this, and they’re trying to hide it; to sanitize it; to keep it out of the view of their children. The White House knows this, and they’re using it to punish their opponents. So much for moral imperatives.
This story has been updated.