Biden Border Trip and Migrant Limits
Send GOP Spin Pros Back to Boards
January 5, 2023
President Joe Biden sent Texas Republican spin specialists scurrying back to the drawing boards on Thursday when he implemented new restrictions on migrant admissions to the U.S. and announced that he would visit the border in El Paso in connection with talks that he's set to have with leaders in Mexico City next week.
Governor Greg Abbott and GOP lawmakers have been hounding the White House for months on Biden's failure to travel to the border to witness first hand the horrors that they allege to be taking place as a consequence of his Biden's absence. The Texas governor has berated Biden day in and day out with baseless claims about open border policies and the state doing more to enforce immigration laws than the federal government.
But Abbott has been uncharacteristically quiet today on the news that his two most pressing demands are being met even though the president wouldn't see it that way in light of the fact that he's visiting the border and cracking down on immigration on his own time and terms after ignoring the governor's angry and unsubstantial rhetoric up to now.
Biden "will assess border enforcement operations and meet with local elected officials and community leaders who have been important partners in managing the historical number of migrants fleeing political oppression and gang violence in Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Cuba," the White House said in a statement today.
Abbott has falsely contended that Texas has been turning migrants away in El Paso and other locations on the Rio Grande. State officials only have the authority to keep migrants from entering private property - an inconvenience that's forced them to travel to federal points of entry to begin their new lives seeking legal asylum wherever they choose in the U.S.
But Biden said Thursday that the federal government will start forcing migrants from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua to return to Mexico. The U.S. Homeland Security agency plans to allow a maximum of 30,000 people from those countries each month for the next two years. The feds already had the restrictions in place for Venezuelans despite Abbott's deceiving complaints about dereliction of duty at that level of government.
Biden can expect to find El Paso entangled in dangerous concertina wire that the Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard have thrown up in recent weeks in an attempt to create the appearance that Texas is doing something to fight illegal immigration beyond promotional photos and videos of troops armed at the Rio Grande.
The president's trip would give him the opportunity to pull the mask off the border security mission Operation Lone Star from an opposite direction after a parade of luminaries from the far right from Tucker Carlson to Steve Bannon to Kari Lake castigated it in recent weeks as a glitzy product that's all show and no substance. Abbott has offered no meaningful evidence to support grandiose assertions about its success - relying instead on manufactured statistics and photographs that show him shaking hands with troops to give the impression that the state is securing the border at the same time Biden has it immersed in total chaos.
The governor's only verifiable claim has been the number of migrants that he says Texas has bused to major cities that are controlled by Democrats in the northern part of the nation. Abbott's growing legion of conservative critics see the Texas free busing service as a cancer that's spreading the problems of illegal immigration across the country. Abbott has responded by blaming Biden and ramping up the bus trips despite their mounting unpopularity on both sides of the aisle.
Abbott would be an easy target for mockery and embarrassment from the president if he doesn't continue to tune him out. Or Abbott as the state's chief executive could demonstrate respect for the American president and be in El Paso to welcome him to the nation's largest state. Abbott last appeared with Biden in Uvalde at a memorial service in May for children who were murdered at an elementary school by a teenage gunman with an assault rifle he'd purchased legally the week before on his 18th birthday. Abbott was booed by parents at the service in one of his most humiliating moments as governor.
more to come ...