Joe Biden Gives Asylum Seekers a Kinder, Gentler GTFO
Mainstream news outlets have been falling all over themselves to explain why the Biden administration turning away asylum seekers and warehousing thousands of migrant children with little more than shared mats and mylar blankets is actually not at all like Trump’s cruel policies.
The Biden administration is taking some steps to correct the worst of Trump administration policies, including trying to reunite migrant families torn apart by family separation policies. That’s commendable. So too, is a refusal to immediately turn away unaccompanied migrant children at the border.
But while not repeating the very worst cruelties of Trumpian immigration policy, the Biden administration continues to make a mess of things like the treatment of would-be refugees and detained unaccompanied migrant children.
“At the U.S. border, asylum seekers fleeing violence are told to come back later,” chirped The Washington Post in 2018. The previous year, it reported, “U.S. border officials are illegally turning away asylum seekers, critics say.” Both articles (and many more like them) took a critical look at the Trump administration’s asylum policies.
But now that it’s President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris turning away Central American immigrants, they’re merely “seeking to stem the flow of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border” and “grappl[ing] with an influx of asylum seekers.”
In a scant two-paragraph article titled “Harris to be point person for Biden administration in stemming flow of migrants at the border,” the Post follows up an incredibly neutral lead about the Biden-Harris administration turning away immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, with this non-sequitur paragraph:
Later Wednesday, Biden marked Equal Pay Day with Megan Rapinoe, Margaret Purce and other U.S. soccer stars in which he credited them for leading the fight to erase the gender pay gap. Meanwhile, the Senate confirmed Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health, making her the first openly transgender, Senate-confirmed federal official in U.S. history.
The short piece perfectly illustrates the crux of Biden-Harris policy so far: social justice spectacle covering for lack of real change.
While “the Biden administration has moved swiftly to distance itself from Trump-era immigration policies,” a Trump administration order “allowing officials to continue to turn away thousands of migrants” remains in effect, pointed out CNN in late February. “The reliance on the order that permits officials to swiftly expel migrants underscores the challenges facing the administration along the US southern border, where arrests of families and children continue to rise.”
The passive voice is notable—arrests just “continue to rise,” what can be done? No blame assigned. No agency acknowledged. But Biden—who has issued scores of executive orders since taking office—is choosing not to act on this one. His Department of Justice is even fighting for the Trump-era order in court. Meanwhile,
…recent arrivals to the border continue to be kicked back to Mexico or their origin country just as they were under Trump. In January, more than 62,000 people who crossed the southwest border were expelled, a number that has been relatively consistent for the past several months, according to the latest figures from Customs and Border Protection.
February 2021 saw 70,183 expulsions at the Southern border, up from 60,595 in December 2020 and 62,531 in January, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
This “unprecedented application of Title 42 against asylum-seekers” was something that “immigrant rights proponents hoped that Biden would immediately retire…He didn’t,” notes The Intercept.
Still, most people traveling in families were initially let in. They were held for a few days by Border Patrol and then often taken to church-affiliated shelters where they could call family members already in the U.S. From there, they went to bus stations and airports, especially in far South Texas cities like McAllen and Brownsville. They got tickets and started their trips into America.
But as more families started coming, the administration backtracked:
Border Patrol stations were too crowded with families, the government said. Shelters in South Texas were overwhelmed. On March 8, an overflow plan was announced: Beg