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VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Our self-induced catastrophe at the border

Since early 2021 we have witnessed somewhere between 7 million and 8 million illegal entries across the now nonexistent U.S. southern border.

The more the border vanished, the more federal immigration law was rendered inert, and the more Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas spun fantasies that the “border is secure.” He is now written off as a veritable “Baghdad Bob” propagandist.

But how and why did the Biden administration destroy immigration law as we knew it?

The Trump administration’s initial efforts to close the border had been continually obstructed in Congress, sabotaged by the administrative state and stymied in the courts. Nonetheless, it had finally secured the border by early 2020. Yet almost all its successful initiatives were immediately overturned in 2021.

Federal border patrol officers were forced to stand down. New federal subsidies were granted to entice and then support illegal arrivals.

No one in the Democratic Party objected to the destruction of the border or the subversion of immigration law.

However, things changed somewhat once swamped southern border states began to bus or fly a few thousand of their illegal immigrants northward to sanctuary city jurisdictions — especially to New York, Chicago and even Martha’s Vineyard.

The sanctuary-city “humanists” there who had greenlighted illegal immigration into the southern states suddenly shrieked. They were irate after experiencing the concrete consequences of their own prior abstract border agendas. After all, their nihilism was always supposed to fall upon distant and ridiculed others.

But why did the Biden administration deliberately unleash the largest influx across the southern border in U.S. history?

The ethnic chauvinists and Democratic Party elites needed new constituents, given their increasingly unpopular agendas. They feared that the more legal Latino immigrants assimilated and integrated into American society, the less happy they became with left-wing radical abortion, racial, transgender, crime and green fixations.

Democratic grandees had always bragged that illegal immigration would create what they called “The New Democratic Majority” in “Demography is Destiny” fashion. Now they slander critics as “racists” who object to left-wing efforts to use illegal immigration to turn southwestern red states blue.

Mexico now cannot survive as a modern state without some $60 billion in annual remittances sent by its expatriates in America. But many illegal immigrants rely on American state and federal entitlements to free cash to send home.

Mexico also encourages its own abject poor and often indigenous people from southern Mexico to head north as a safety-valve of sorts. The government sees these mass exoduses northward as preferable to the oppressed marching on Mexico City to address grievances of poverty and racism.

The criminal cartels now de facto run Mexico. An open border allows them to ship fentanyl northward, earn billions in profits — and kill nearly 100,000 Americans a year. Illegal immigrants pay cartels additional billions to facilitate their border crossings.

Do not forget American corporate employers. Record labor nonparticipation followed the COVID lockdown. In reaction to the dearth of American workers, the hospitality, meat packing, social service, health-care and farming industries were desperate to hire new — and far cheaper — labor.

Many in the tony suburbs and in universities do not live near the border. So they pontificate on the assurance that thousands of unaudited illegal immigrants will never enter their own enclaves or campuses.

The result is elite bottled piety — but not firsthand experience with the natural consequences of millions chaotically fleeing one of the poorest countries in the world to pour into the wealthiest. Without background checks, vaccinations and health audits, legality, high-school diplomas, English-facility, skill sets or capital, the result is an abject catastrophe.

Polls continue to show that the American people support measured, diverse, legal and meritocratic immigration as much as they oppose mass illegal immigration into their country and the subsequent loss of American sovereignty on the border.

They understand what the Biden administration does not: No nation in history has survived once its borders were destroyed, once its citizenship was rendered no different from mere residence, and once its neighbors with impunity undermined its sovereignty.

Ending illegal immigration now depends solely on the American people overriding the corrupt special interests and leaders who profit from the current chaos and human misery.

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a classicist and historian at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Contact him at authorvdh@gmail.com.

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