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VICTOR JOECKS: Biden puts ‘kids in cages’ to deal with influx of illegal immigrants

There are no good options when an unaccompanied child enters the United States illegally. President Joe Biden is learning that the hard way.

Democrats spent the past few years hammering Donald Trump for his immigration policies. Their most memorable diatribes were accusations that Trump put “kids in cages.” Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris repeatedly used this line of attack to smear the Trump administration’s immigration policy as immoral.

The pictures that generated the outrage showed children locked behind chain-link fences in a large warehouse. The initial viral photos, however, were from 2014. The Obama/Biden administration built and used the “cages.”

Now, Biden is doing it again. He’s opened up a holding facility for illegal immigrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Numerous Democrats, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, vigorously attacked that same facility in 2019. The administration is opening up another overflow facility in Florida. In 2019, then-Sen. Kamala Harris visited that facility and said, “None of us would want this for our children.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren called it a “stain on our country.”

To say Democratic objections to Biden’s actions have been muted in comparison is putting it mildly.

Biden’s hypocrisy is glaring and deserves widespread derision. But it should also cause those who parroted the “kids in cages” rhetoric to think more deeply about what’s happening on the border.

What do you do when an unaccompanied child enters the country illegally? One solution is open borders. Some on the far left want that. But most Democrats oppose — at least rhetorically — illegal immigration. That means they have to do something with these children.

One option is to release them. That may sound compassionate, but is dumping children, even those in their teens, onto the streets of a foreign country a good idea?

Another option is to release them to a sponsor, often a family member, who’s already here. But to do that you have to hold them somewhere until it can be arranged. Deportation is another possibility, although Biden isn’t interested in that.

Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Health and Human Services do have some facilities available. But when there’s an influx of illegal immigrants, these agencies can run out of space. Border Patrol apprehensions of unaccompanied children are up 64 percent compared with last year.

Hence, the need to open up more facilities. Social distancing requirements are making it harder, too.

Once a child enters the U.S. illegally, the choice isn’t between a “cage” and a nice facility. It’s between a “cage” and filling nicer facilities beyond their capacity, creating another set of problems. Or letting children walk into the arms of human traffickers instead of their relatives.

That’s why the best solution is trying to prevent people from immigrating illegally. The big, beautiful wall was Trump’s high-profile effort at that, but not the most successful.

Trump worked out agreements with Mexico and three Central American countries that resulted in dramatic decreases in illegal immigration. Essentially, those agreements reduced the likelihood that anyone claiming asylum, rightly or wrongly, would be released quickly into the United States.

But Biden is rolling back those arrangements. He’s releasing around 25,000 asylum seekers who were staying in Mexico into the United States. He’s proposed a massive amnesty plan. He ordered a stop to deportations, although a judge has put that on hold.

He’s done everything but roll out the red carpet for illegal immigrants. Little wonder, they’re taking him up on the offer — and forcing him to put “kids in cages.” Unless Biden reverses course, the border crisis is only going to get worse.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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