Victor Davis Hanson
In 2021, Joe Biden opened wide an inherited, secure southern border that had finally stopped mass illegal immigration.
When he overturned Donald Trump’s efforts, a planned flood of over 8 million illegal immigrants entered the U.S.
Almost all arrived without background checks, health screening, or vaccination certificates—but with massive needs for free housing, education, healthcare, and food entitlements and subsidies.
For four years, Donald Trump battled the courts, his Democratic opposition, and the open-border establishments within his own party to ensure legal-only immigration. Somehow, he rebuilt some of the old porous border fence. He had begun to build his long-promised new wall to the Gulf of Mexico. He had ended Obama-era catch-and-release.
Would-be refugees had to apply for asylum in their home country. Trump leveraged Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to police his own border and stop cynically transiting millions of illegal aliens into the U.S.
There was general Democratic Party opposition to all of Trump’s measures, both through Congress and via the courts.
For the last three years of Biden’s mass influx, the left has applauded open borders. That is, until late last year, when overwhelmed southern border state governors began busing and flying illegal immigrants en masse to northern sanctuary-city jurisdictions.
For years, these sanctuary zones had preened their liberality about open borders. They smeared as “racists” and “xenophobes” any who insisted on legal-only immigration.
But now they were subject to the real-life ramifications of their own destructive ideologies.
Major blue-state cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., became outraged that they were inundated with tens of thousands of immigrants, all without legality, veritable identification, or background checks.
Some proved violent. Others crowded out scarce resources essential to millions of inner-city poor.
The liberal architects of illegal immigration are usually rich and powerful enough to be insulated from the consequences of their utopian policies.
But not so their poor or minority constituents. They deal first-hand with spiking crime, appropriation of their parks and civic centers, and restricted access to now overwhelmed social services.
So the once open-border Democrat Party and Joe Biden are in a quandary. They now fear mass defections of core Latino and Black voters in an election year.
But how can they square the circle of insisting on open borders with the need to appear to their own voters as determined to close them?
We saw the absurd answer this week. Shameless Democrats tried to enlist naïve and foolish Republicans to bail them out with a “comprehensive immigration bill.”
It was really designed to keep the border open while spending billions of dollars to facilitate more rapid and orderly transits—and more substantial welfare support for millions of illegals here and still to come.
Now Democrats, in lunatic fashion, claim that anyone who did not sign on to codify and regulate illegal immigration was responsible for their own deliberate open border policies in the first place!
To add insult to injury, they next sought to piggyback their toxic immigration bill onto massive aid for Israel and Ukraine. It was a transparent effort to blame any Republicans for harming Israel and aiding Putin, should they not sign on to a more efficient open border.
The real agendas of the bill’s supporters were absolutely no return to Trump’s legal-only immigration and a secure border.
That simple solution requires no new legislation and almost no new spending. But it does imply acknowledgement that the hated Trump had solved the problem executively—and that admission is apparently taboo.
Finally, public outrage from the left and conservative anger at foolish and naïve Republican enablers stopped the bill.
Still, it remains somewhat unclear why Biden and his Homeland Security chief, Alejandro Mayorkas, destroyed what Trump had achieved. Why would they ensure such misery for both American hosts and millions of illegal immigrants?
Did they want new long-term constituents, given that their neo-socialist agendas cannot win over a majority of current Americans?
Is importing millions of the poorest and most in need on the planet a way to ensure a still larger Great Society of entitlements and, with it, higher taxes on the “filthy rich?”
Do they assume that America’s increasingly non-Election-Day balloting ensures far less authentication and rejection of mail-in ballots, and thus it will be relatively easy for non-citizens to vote?
Many, left and right, make no effort to hide their desire for cheap imported labor—even though the current labor participation rate is only 62 percent of the potential American workforce.
Finally, one might expect this artifice from the left that is wedded to open borders.
But why some establishment Republicans aided and abetted these disingenuous efforts is yet another reminder why the doctrinaire Republican Party had to be reinvented by Donald Trump.