Washington, DC – Republicans are taking their political attacks on the Biden administration’s border policies into overdrive, with Politico Playbook reporting on a Senate GOP memo and upcoming press conference asserting historic numbers of “border crossings” (conflating “encounters” with “crossings”).
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:
Even before President Biden took office, Republicans accused him of driving migration. Now, they continue with their scare tactics, falsehoods, and messaging onslaught. Let’s be clear, Republicans are not interested in policy solutions, they are interested in using this issue for political gain and to castigate President Biden and the Democrats for wanting a path forward. What do Republicans offer? The same failed policies that Donald Trump and Stephen Miller advanced. For decades now, Republicans have vehemently opposed and obstructed efforts toward a modern and functional system. The Republican Party seems to have adopted the odious message of the Trump campaign back in 2015: ‘They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.’ What was fringe is now the beating heart of the GOP.
Here are four key points to keep in mind about the GOP’s political attacks on Biden and the border:
- Republicans’ framing of Biden’s supposed “open borders” is filled with lies. The right wing framing of the state of play is flat out wrong. In fact, almost 80% of the people “encountered” at the border are detained or expelled; for the 20% released, almost all show up in court; and many “encounters” are multi-counted. And CBP data show the second-highest rate of “interdiction effectiveness” of all time last fiscal year – meaning that a smaller percentage of people attempting to cross the border were successful. See more at this America’s Voice analysis of the “open borders” lie at heart of GOP attack strategy. The bottom line: We have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. The issue isn’t security at our border, it’s how our border security fits into our larger vision for America and how to modernize our immigration system.
- It’s all politics: the GOP border attacks on Biden started when Trump was in office. Even before President Biden took office, Republicans and rightwing media started their “open borders” attacks on Biden and tried to whitewash the Trump record. For example, former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan was on Fox News in August 2020 blaming Biden for a 40% increase in border crossings. That’s right. Three months before the 2020 election and five months before Biden took office, a Trump lackey is on Fox blaming Biden for an increase in border apprehensions happening during Trump’s presidency. The bottom line: That President Trump, and presidents going back decades, have presided over upticks of arrivals at our border underscores the reality that migration is a global phenomenon and keeps happening in part because our laws and policies haven’t modernized and Republicans want to play politics instead of working on real solutions.
- Republicans have no solutions, other than the same failed policies President Trump and Stephen Miller put in place and throwing billions more at the border wall. Trump and Miller gutted aid to Central America that was aimed at reducing migration; they ended the program that allowed Central American minors to apply for protection in the region so they wouldn’t have to make the journey to the U.S./Mexico border in the first place; and they deliberately wrecked the asylum system to claim it was being abused and used the fig leaf of public health to put in place Title 42. See more here on how Trump and Miller gutted workable policies. Now, the same Senate Republicans attacking Biden’s record want to complete the failed border wall – and name it after Trump. The bottom line: The GOP’s “vision” is lots of politics, doses of cruelty, and a $15 billion border wall that can be cut through with a $15 dollar hand saw and that has been breached more than 3,000 times over the past three years. Meanwhile, Biden’s FY23 budget invests in Central America, invests in reducing immigration backlogs, invests in immigration courts, invests in ports of entry to manage immigration and increases the CBP budget from $4.8 billion to $5.4 billion.
- While Republicans pretend fentanyl comes on the backs of migrants, they voted against funding upgrades at ports of entry – the real entry point of fentanyl. Senate Republicans are linking the very real crisis of fentanyl in the United States with their false ‘open borders’ attacks. But almost all of the drug seizures – especially of fentanyl – take place at ports of entry. And most Republicans voted against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which included $430 million for CBP for the “construction and modernization of land ports of entry and equipment and fixtures for operations,” including screening technology. We are tracking Republican campaign ads linking fentanyl to immigration along with all of their other immigration-related dog whistles at https://gopadtracker.com/ The bottom line: The GOP would rather blame Biden than work on solutions, such as more money to screen cargo at ports of entry as part of a larger efforts to create modern immigration and border security system.