If the Biden administration won't call the border mess a "crisis," they're the only ones. Only four percent of the American people agree with the president that the surge isn't a "serious problem." As more pictures and eye-witness accounts break through the White House's blackout, the urgency on both sides is growing. After his pitiful performance on Thursday, the president's approval ratings on immigration are in an absolute freefall -- and the grim testimonies that leaders and local mayors are telling from the border aren't helping.
Asked what he would tell Joe Biden, Del Rio Mayo Bruno Lazano, a Democrat was blunt: "Who's side are you on?" His community, like countless others in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, are "nervous and scared." No wonder, considering that Homeland Security is releasing some of these migrants into their communities without so much as a court date. "There's no plan of action," he said with obvious frustration. "We were managing it in 2019," Lazano pointed out, "and here we are in 2021 with another immigration crisis of great proportion, and nothing's been done. It's a Biden border crisis," he insisted, "because there's no plan of action."
That's a terrifying thought, people on both sides say, considering that the number of migrants who are expected to arrive in some sort of "family group" is expected to hit 800,000 by September -- record numbers, the Washington Post warns. So far, an astounding 2,900 minors have tested positive for COVID, helping to spread the virus to 1,470 border personnel and who knows how many others in custody. And what is Biden's response? "I make no apologies for ending programs that did not exist before Trump became president..."
As far as Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is concerned, the president ought to be sorry -- especially for putting our brave men and women at the border in such a vulnerable position. During a Senate delegation to the Rio Grande Friday, Graham saw a facility meant to hold 80 children packed with more than 1,000. "The lack of humanity is shocking," he argued. "He needs to apologize, President Biden, to the Border Patrol agents and their families, for putting them through this. We're being overwhelmed at the border. It's not a crisis, it's a complete loss of sovereignty down there."
For the GOP delegation, last weekend's visit showed just how quickly things can unravel. As soon as Biden took a hammer to Trump's border policy, the conditions completely deteriorated. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) barely had words to describe what he saw, saying he was "absolutely stunned" by what he witnessed. "The entire floor is covered with kids, and then they'll be sitting around the edge because there's no floor space for them... They can't even lay down." Then, of course, he pointed out, there are kids testing positive for COVID that were crammed together in that same pod.
Ignoring the White House's ban on photos, Senator Mike Braun (R-Ind.) posted a slew of pictures and videos from the facilities that more than tell the story of Biden's bad policies. At one point, to the Republicans' horror, they even saw a body floating in the Rio Grande -- someone who had obviously drowned trying to cross. All of these are self-inflicted wounds on our country, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) argued. If all Biden would agree to do is keep Trump's "remain in Mexico" deterrent intact for asylum-seekers, the situation would be a lot easier to manage. "The premature and politically-motivated decision to cancel [that multi-nation] agreement," two dozen House Republicans wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, is what created this problem.
"The Trump Administration's agreements set up critical support for the region's asylum systems and were built on the just concept of burden-sharing, which our partners appreciated and welcomed. We strongly urge you and Secretary Mayorkas to reimplement the agreements as soon as possible."
Instead, the president has made a literal mockery of our country and its laws. The 19 Republicans on Friday's trip said they heard -- on more than one occasion -- the coyote smugglers taunting and heckling Border Patrol. When Braun turned and asked what they were yelling, the agents explained, "They were saying, 'Whatever you do, we're going to keep coming.'" And in the end, Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) argued on "Washington Watch," they're the ones Biden is rewarding.
"The real winners in all this, sadly enough, are the drug cartels. Because our borders and customs control officers have been overwhelmed, [they] are now able... to push drugs in at an alarming rate into our country. The same thing with illicit cash and also with human trafficking. They're able to bring especially young women, a third of whom are actually [sexually] abused migrants, into this country. They're able to push that human trafficking into this country. And under the guise of safe passage, these individuals are essentially sold into slavery. And Biden and his administration are complicit in allowing an increase in human trafficking and an increase in narcotics coming across our border."
In the meantime, the president keeps insisting that need to pass immigration reform. But what's the point, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), "when you have an open border?"