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October 4, 2023

Dems From Hochul to Clinton Break With Biden on Border

Democrats seem to finally understand there’s a crisis.

By Suzanne Bowdey

It took a record two million illegals stampeding over the border this fiscal year, but Democrats seem to finally understand there’s a crisis. While New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) literally flies to Mexico to plead with migrants to stay put, his governor, radical Kathy Hochul (D) finally complained about the mess on national television. And party powerbroker Bill Clinton says she’s not wrong.

“[W]e want them to have a limit on who can come across the border,” Hochul urged. The governor, whose biggest city is drowning under the weight of flash floods and the tide of immigrants, called the border “too open.” “People coming from all over the world are finding their way through, simply saying they need asylum, and majority of them seem to be ending up and in the streets of New York — and that is a real problem…” Look, she insisted, “we are always so proud of the fact that New York has the Statue of Liberty in our harbor. … But there has to be some limits in place.”

Hochul’s willingness to break with Biden on the border surprised plenty of people. But it’s Clinton’s damning assessment that spells real trouble. “Gov. Hochul thinks [the border policy] should be modified,” the 42nd president told WABC talk host John Catsimatidis. “It’s broken,” he agreed. “We need to fix it. [The law] doesn’t make any sense.”

“They come here,” Clinton went on, “and we’re supposed to shelter people who can’t get work permits for six months. We need to change that,” he insisted. “They ought to work. They need to begin working, paying taxes, and paying their way.” In the meantime, the former president pointed out, the “chaos” has given Republicans a foothold. “[T]he Democrats lost enough seats in New York because of reaction to the crime problem here” and the sense that “my party didn’t have a commonsense approach to [the deluge of migrants].”

And yet the White House, for its part, continues to insist that it’s the GOP — not Biden — who’s created this mess. Republicans, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre argued, are “trying to politicize [the border crisis] and make it worse — make it worse.”

It’s a clever attempt at deflection, but Americans aren’t buying it. Only 36% of the country approves of the job Biden is doing on immigration, according to the latest Harvard/Harris poll. “That’s the second worse assessment of the president’s performance on a given issue” after “handling inflation,” the Center for Immigration Studies points out. Asked if “illegal immigration is getting better or worse,” 71% said “worse” — including a majority (51%) of Democrats.

Even in Chicago, a trip to the airport is like visiting a third world country, as hundreds of migrants sleep on cardboard slats in Terminal 1, separated from travelers by stapled-up privacy curtains. Vianny Marzullo, a volunteer at O'Hare, could only shake her head. “It’s very concerning. It’s not just a safety matter, but a public health matter.”

Like a lot of big cities, Chicago is forking out $29 million dollars to build a “winterized camp” for up to 1,400 migrants — a small slice of the 14,000 the area is trying to accommodate. “Right now, there’s no end to this in sight,” Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) warned on “Washington Watch” Thursday. “Of course, we go back to May [when] the administration said the plan is working, the numbers are down… [Yet] we’re continuing to see people literally from all over the world coming in, paying cartels the fee to be able to get across the border. And the Biden administration is releasing them into the country within hours of when they’re crossing and they’re somewhere in the country, literally unmanaged. We have no idea who their criminal record is, anything else about them, but they’re just being released over and over again.”

The president’s focus, Lankford explained, “really is about processing people into the country as fast as possible rather than deterring people from actually coming across the border. This is an issue [because] they are abusing the asylum system. Everyone knows they’re abusing the asylum system, but yet the Biden administration won’t step up and support actually [fixing] that definition of what asylum means. That’s the key piece that has to be resolved so that we can actually tell people, ‘Hey, you don’t qualify for asylum if you want to come to the United States.’ We welcome people from all over the world. You just have to legally apply to go through that process and do some vetting. You just can’t come across the border and be released a few hours later. That should not be what any country is like.”

While New York’s Adams warns the crisis will “destroy” his city, border towns like Eagle Pass, Texas, are already in shambles. With a population of just 28,000, the county sheriff’s deputy, Roberto De Leon, says it’s Big Apples and oranges when it comes to the scale of the catastrophe. “I know New York … is a big city that can probably handle the load of immigrants going into their city, maybe a little bit better than we are doing right now. … As a small department, our resources are strained. … Our response times to service calls have severely diminished, with one deputy assigned to the precinct and others on the riverfront. Where my resources should be, they are not,” Constable Joe Beattie explained to The Daily Caller.

“Our families sometimes don’t even go outside anymore,” De Leon lamented about the surge. “They can’t leave their children outside playing. And I’m not saying every single immigrant has bad intentions, but there are that 1% and that’s what we are dealing with right now.”

For her part, Hochul (sounding an awful lot like Donald Trump) insisted Monday that she could fix the problem “in about five minutes.” “It’s not that complicated,” she claimed. Wagging her finger at Republicans, she lectured, “Instead of gambling with the future of this country, why don’t you roll up your sleeves and sit down with Democrats and get in the room and don’t come out until you’ve figured it out?”

The problem, as most conservatives will tell you, is that the president and his party have no interest in “figuring it out.” As Lankford said, not a day goes by when Republicans aren’t urging Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the White House to “pay more attention to this,” yet, in Lankford’s words, “they seem to be very flippant about it.”

And, as the senator points out, we aren’t just talking about run-of-the mill illegals crossing into America anymore but terrorists. “The last time I was at the border just weeks ago,” Lankford said, “and the main comment from the Border Patrol is what’s shifted now is the number of people that are non-Spanish speakers that are coming across from West Africa, from the Middle East, from Pakistan, from Russia, from China — areas that are not typically coming across. They’re just saying their name. They’re saying their country, they’re being released into our country. … It’s a huge national security risk that this administration is actually participating in, just hoping that nothing turns out bad. That’s a terrible strategy.”

It may be a terrible strategy, but for Biden, that might the point. “Those who deny there is a problem and are fine with an open border likely have motives beyond compassion,” writer Cal Thomas warns. “These might include a visceral hatred of the U.S. and a desire to see our nation, in the words of former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden, ‘fundamentally transformed.’”

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.

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