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EDITORIAL: The president’s failures at the border on full display

As a candidate, Joe Biden excoriated Donald Trump for his policies at the nation’s southern border. Where are we now?

The White House has spent the past few months preparing for an influx of illegal crossings as it pulls the plug on Title 42, a pandemic emergency policy that allowed the country to more quickly expel offending immigrants. That day is now upon us and — like so many other administration initiatives — the result is incoherence and chaos.

Three Texas border towns — Brownsville, Laredo and El Paso — have declared a state of emergency upon an expected surge of illegal migrants, The New York Times reports. The administration has sent 1,500 troops to the border, ostensibly to help with “paperwork.” In recent days, the number of migrants in El Paso has “soared to about 2,000 people from a few dozen, and more keep arriving. Families sleep on collapsed cardboard boxes at night, affixing sheets to fences to create shade during the day.”

The response from some Democrats is to mimic Kevin Bacon’s frantic plea in “National Lampoon’s Animal House” during the parade finale: “All is well, remain calm.” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries this week called criticism of the president’s border policy a “fictional argument.”

Yes, well, he can take that up with big-city Democratic mayors in self-proclaimed “sanctuary” cities such as Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C., who have become far less welcoming in recent months after a shot to the mouth from reality. New York Mayor Eric Adams recently said the Biden administration had “failed” his city on border security.

It’s also worth remembering that Mr. Biden promised a less aggressive approach when it came to border enforcement — and the result upon his 2020 election was a spike in illegal border crossings. Excluding the first two months of the Biden presidency, U.S Customs and Border Patrol numbers reveal, more people have been apprehended at the southern border in every month under this administration than at any time during the Trump White House.

“When the U.S. makes it difficult for people to enter the country illegally, fewer people make the journey north to try,” David Leonhardt explained in the Times. “When the U.S. sends signals that people will be able to cross the border even without permission, and potentially remain here for years, more people attempt to do so.”

That includes plenty of people who are not truly political refugees.

There’s plenty of blame to go around for this country’s immigration mess, including to Republicans who ignore the economic value of immigration and who think it’s feasible to deport millions of productive migrants in the country illegally. But the Biden approach has been an utter failure, and there’s no course correction in sight.

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