Byron York / July 27, 2022

D.C. Feels Sting of Biden Border Policy

Biden’s policies are becoming a painful problem in some Democratic strongholds far from the border.

Last month, this newsletter focused on the Biden administration’s practice of allowing illegal border crossers to stay in the United States. Documents made public as a result of a lawsuit over border policy revealed just how many illegal crossers the administration has admitted into the country. It’s a big number.

The documents showed that 1,049,532 illegal border crossers were allowed to stay in the U.S. between Inauguration Day 2021, the day Joe Biden became president, and May 2022. That is greater than the population of Wyoming, of Vermont, of Alaska, of North Dakota, of South Dakota, and of Biden’s home state of Delaware. And remember, it is the total number of illegal border crossers allowed to stay in the U.S., not the total number caught at the border.

And it’s not the whole number. The figure of 1,049,532 does not include so-called got-aways — the illegal border crossers who managed to elude capture, or turn themselves in to, the Border Patrol. Nor does it include the number of unaccompanied minor children allowed to stay in the U.S. The got-aways are estimated at about 700,000 since Biden took office. There is no indication the administration is trying to find and deport them, so they are likely in the country permanently. The number of unaccompanied minors was 190,053.

Put them all together, and it appears Biden has allowed as many as 2 million illegal border crossers to stay in the country they entered unlawfully, and that’s in less than two years in office. That has, of course, created an enormous incentive for even more to cross the border illegally. The ultimate reward is being allowed to stay in the U.S., and the Biden administration is making it a reality for millions of those who enter the country illegally.

Many in the president’s party are happy with what is going on. Remember that the 2020 Democratic presidential primary contest was essentially a bidding war in which each candidate proposed progressively more permissive border policies. In 2020, the Democratic Party platform called for ending virtually every enforcement mechanism the Trump administration employed to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

Once in the White House, Biden made good on those promises — any other Democratic candidate, had he or she become president, would have, too — and the flood of illegal border crossers began. Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies were overwhelmed, especially in Texas and Arizona, where many of the illegal crossings are occurring.

But now, Biden’s policies are becoming a painful problem in some Democratic strongholds far from the border. Those areas are getting a first-hand feel for conditions on the border, and they don’t like it.

In April, the Biden administration announced it would let even more illegal border crossers stay in the country by rescinding the Trump-era regulation that allowed authorities to cite the need to stop the spread of COVID as a reason to turn migrants away. In response, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, whose state has borne a tremendous burden as a result of Biden’s policies, announced that he would begin sending busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C. Then, Abbott said, the Biden administration “will be able to more immediately address the needs of the people that they are allowing to come across our border.”

On April 13, the first bus arrived. They’ve been coming ever since. Then, in May, Arizona began sending migrants, too. “With Arizona community resources under all-time demand, and little action or assistance from the federal government, individuals who entered Arizona seeking asylum have the opportunity to voluntarily be transported to Washington, D.C.,” said Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.

The buses kept coming. “In the last few weeks the number of buses arriving a day has increased from two to four, sometimes five, sometimes late at night,” the Washington Post reported recently, “exhausting donations and exceeding the ability of volunteers and mutual aid networks in the city to respond.”

That sounds a bit like the situation in Texas, doesn’t it? The flow of migrants, encouraged by the Biden administration and supported by many Democrats around the country, has taxed the resources of border states. What Abbott and Ducey have done, by sending migrants to Washington, which is, after all, a sanctuary city, is spread the burden around.

At first, local officials, Democrats all, did not react publicly. But now, with more arriving every day, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser is beginning to complain.

Bowser has claimed, without evidence, that Texas and Arizona have “tricked” migrants into boarding buses to Washington. (Both Abbott and Ducey have made clear that getting on a bus is entirely voluntary.) Bowser has said that local taxpayers in Washington “should not pick up the tab” for the cost of dealing with the migrant surge. And she is looking to the federal government for help. “We have for sure called on the federal government to work across state lines to prevent people from really being tricked into getting on buses,” Bowser said on CBS recently. “We think they’re largely asylum-seekers who are going to final destinations that are not Washington, D.C. I worked with the White House to make sure that FEMA provided a grant to a local organization that is providing services to folks. But I fear they’re being tricked into nationwide bus trips when their final destinations are places all over the United States of America.”

What Bowser said about Washington, D.C., is true of the situation in Texas. For many migrants, Texas is not the final destination. They are hoping to get to destinations that are not on the border. The cost of their care has to be paid by somebody. It is a problem thrust on Texas, and Arizona, and other border areas by the Biden administration. And now, Abbott and Ducey and pushing back.

In the last few days, an odd voice has jumped into this argument — New York City Mayor Eric Adams. The city has a right-to-shelter law, meaning officials are required to provide shelter to anyone who needs it. There has been a spike recently in people staying in the city’s shelters, with the system coming under tremendous strain. The mayor is blaming the situation on the border. “Adams said the asylum seekers are arriving from Latin America and other regions, and in some instances, being sent in on buses by the federal government and the state governments of Texas and Arizona,” Politico reported this week.

Both Abbott and Ducey said they are not sending migrants to New York, which is also a sanctuary city. “If these Democrat mayors are now that concerned about having migrants in their cities, they should call on President Biden to do his job and secure the border, instead of attacking Texas with baseless political accusations,” said a spokeswoman for Abbott.

Neither Mayor Adams nor Mayor Bowser should blame Texas and Arizona. Their real problem is with the president of the United States. The massive influx of illegal border crossers is a problem for all of the country, not just the areas closest to the border. When this argument erupted, Christina Pushaw, who is a spokeswoman for another Republican governor, Florida’s Ron DeSantis, tweeted, “If wealthy NYC cannot handle an influx of migrants, what makes you think small working-class Texas border towns can handle it?” Thanks to Abbott and Ducey, more Americans are now asking that question.

This content originally appeared on the Washington Examiner at washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/dc-feels-sting-of-biden-border-policy.

(Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner. For a deeper dive into many of the topics Byron covers, listen to his podcast, The Byron York Show, available on the Ricochet Audio Network at ricochet.com/series/byron-york-show and everywhere else podcasts are found.)

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