U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut appears to be teetering on the edge of a perilous Either/Or: Either the U.S. southern border is secure, or it is not secure.
Only a few weeks ago, the Democrat members of Connecticut’s U.S. Congressional Delegation were in lockstep agreement that the southern border was secure. They were citing Cuban-born United States Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to that effect, and Mayorkas’ repeated postulations left little room for descent within the ranks. Scripts produced in Washington DC during campaign seasons are rarely disputed once they have been parceled out to party factotums.
In fact, the border is not secure, and the abandonment of policy prescriptions during the Biden administration that served to keep illegal entry numbers low—such as a “remain in Mexico policy” while amnesty cases were being adjudicated—has resulted in chaos at the U.S. open border.
Appearing on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe,” a friendly venue, Murphy told viewers, “The president doesn't have the legal authority, without additional legislation, to control the border and fix the broken asylum system in the way that needs to be done… We do see migrants right now living on the streets, crowding our homeless shelters. Well, this bill specifically addresses that crisis because it also gives more immediate work authorizations to immigrants who come to this country and who are legitimately likely to win their case for asylum.”
David Ignatius of the Washington Post first congratulated Murphy “on getting this bipartisan deal set in the [Democrat controlled U.S.] Senate, but then noted there were objections in the Republican controlled U.S. House.
He asked, “If it ends up getting turned down in the House and being seemingly stopped in its tracks, do you think that President Biden should just try to take this issue away from the Republicans who seem to be playing politics with it and use every bit of his executive authority to address the border crisis on his own? Say basically, won't pass the legislation? Okay, I'm going to do it myself.”
It can’t be done, Murphy insisted, unless the U.S. Congress invests the president with additional authority. He then went on to impute malign motivation to Republicans who continue to believe that what had been undone through executive orders by the Biden administration may be redone through executive orders reestablishing a successful border policy protocol.
“I think Speaker Johnson wants to kill this bill in the Senate,” Murphy said, “because he knows there will be enormous pressure on him to call up this bill for a vote in the House because if it passes the Senate with a big bipartisan vote, where I think there's a very good chance it will, then there will be the votes to pass this in the House of Representatives. And if he's not willing to bring this exact bill up, then there will be pressure from his colleagues in the House who support Ukraine funding to come up with an alternative.
“So,” Murphy continued, “Speaker Johnson would sort of love to let this issue lie. He'd love for there to continue to be chaos at the border so that Donald Trump has a political advantage. He would love to avoid the question of Ukraine because it splits his caucus, but he will not be able to avoid that debate if the Senate does its job.”
Chaos at the border, largely the result of a progressive Democrat administration in denial for the breadth and length of the Biden administration, currently benefits Republicans. Policy is always subservient to political advantage, except on those rare occasions when the advantage falls to politically pure at heart Democrats who never, ever, act from base political motives.
Murphy wants us to believe that policy changes made at the southern border through executive actions taken by President Joe Biden early in his campaign cannot be ameliorated by means of a reversal of executive actions.
That seems highly implausible.
U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, not a politician easily infested with MAGAism, disagrees on the point and regards the bill avidly supported by Murphy as, if not a Trojan Horse, then a campaign ploy that, once enacted, will not settle the enduring border hash.
New data issued 3 months ago disclosed that, according to a Judiciary Committee report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released “at least 2,148,738 illegal aliens into the United States.”
The committee found that only 5,993 of those encountered at the southern border were placed in removal proceedings. “In other words, of the at least 2.1 million aliens released into the United States since January 20, 2021, the Biden administration has failed to remove, through immigration court removal proceedings, roughly 99.7% of those illegal aliens,” the report says.
The report notes that an additional 1.7 million “known ‘gotaways’” successfully evaded Border Patrol agents and entered the United States, bringing the total estimated number of illegal aliens who arrived and stayed under the Biden administration to 3.8 million. That population exceeds the number of residents of 22 different states and the District of Columbia.
Some may regard such belated admissions of culpability as a positive sign that the border has not been secure since the beginning of the Biden administration’s dismantling of useful border protocols.
The way to stop a leak in the border bucket is to patch the leak first before allowing new illegal entries to further flood the border. We know that normalizing illegal entries will not in the long run reduce the flow, just as we know that normalizing bank robberies will not persuade criminals from robbing banks.