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“The Disappearing Crisis”

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“It’s time for Congress to move beyond GOP gamesmanship about the southern border to deliver a long-overdue breakthrough on legalization”


A few weeks ago, Republicans were talking incessantly about a hyped-up narrative: the “Biden border crisis.” Too many in the beltway press followed suit. Now, the federal government slowly but surely is bringing the border under control. It’s time for Congress to move beyond GOP gamesmanship about the southern border to deliver a long-overdue breakthrough on legalization.

For years, Republican have used the border as an excuse to oppose popular bills that put millions of undocumented immigrants on pathways to citizenship. So, now that the border is getting under control, will they change their tune? Of course not. Here are how thought leaders are sizing up the situation. 

  • Greg Sargent in the Washington Post, The GOP’s biggest attack on Biden may be about to hit a snag: “It’s impossible to overstate how big a bet Republicans and right-wing media have placed on attacking President Biden over the influx of migrants at the border. The term ‘Biden’s Border Crisis’ is ubiquitous in GOP Twitter feeds. Republicans are vowing that this ‘crisis’ will win the midterms for them. Right-wing media personalities are gushing with certainty that it will break the Biden presidency. So what happens if the Biden administration manages to get the situation more under control — not to the point of solving the problem, which is immense and will bedevil us for years, but rather to a point where the public perceives it to be getting managed within reasonable parameters, given how challenging it is? …the ultimate perversity is that Republicans won’t join in solving the larger problem precisely because they’ll be betting on profiting politically from the cyclical aspect of it returning during the midterm elections next year.
  • Chris Hayes on MSNBC, The Disappearing Crisis: “…you had this completely cynical frenzy whipped up by Republicans looking for something to hammer Joe Biden with who all made their obligatory trips to the border in camouflage and on gunboats, you know, to look for little kids. But have you noticed the border crisis talk is just gone now? Since the middle of March weekday cable news segments on immigration have plummeted. The drop-off has been most significant on Fox News.”
  • Philip Bump in the Washington Post, The surge in children at the border has faded — and so has the attention paid to it on the right: “In the week of March 22, Fox talked about the border for about an hour. In the week of April 26, it talked about the border for about 12 minutes. The objectively good news is that the government now seems better able to handle the strain that accompanies a surge in children arriving at the border. For Biden, the good news is that an issue that was broadly discussed as being a political Achilles’ heel appears to have resolved without hobbling him for any extended period.”

  • Jennifer Rubin, syndicated Washington Post columnist, Hey, whatever happened to the border crisis?:…Notice that Republicans seem to have lost interest in the subject, too. They are onto imaginary hamburger bans, phony accusations that Harris’s book is getting distributed at detention centers and, sadly, discouraging people from getting vaccinations. The United States has yet to ameliorate the conditions that force parents to send their children here, but it is providing safe haven for thousands of children. It goes to show that if operated competently and compassionately, our immigration system can work both to defend U.S. security and to live up to our image as a beacon of democracy and decency.”
  • Eric Boehlert, media critic and analyst, The Washington Post owes Biden an apology: “In terms of the amount of border news coverage this year, it’s been eye-popping, as the press continues to take its cues from Republicans. During Biden’s first nine weeks in office, immigration was the third most-common topic of new coverage, according to a new Pew study — and that coverage was overwhelmingly negative. That volume of immigration coverage is especially startling considering the topic didn’t really gain traction until six weeks into Biden’s presidency. Then the media avalanche arrived. The press and the GOP helped create the border ‘crisis’ this year. Now they need to acknowledge reality.”

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice,

The ‘border crisis’ narrative was always overblown. 25,000 kids fleeing violence in Central America and seeking safety in a nation that describes itself as a beacon of hope is not a crisis. But Stephen Miller and his cronies set up the narrative. The right-wing media ecosystem pumped it up. And the too many in the mainstream media fell for it. 

No longer. The situation at our southern border is manageable. The most powerful nation in the world can handle kids fleeing for their lives in a safe, humane and orderly way. And the pro-immigrant party in the most powerful nation in the world can and should use its majority to enact legislation that puts Dreamers, TPS holders, farm workers and other essential workers on pathways to citizenship – this year. 

Sure, Republicans and Foxlandia will continue to hyperventilate about the border. And GOP lawmakers under the sway of the former guy will undoubtedly oppose any serious measure to pass legalization. But their racism and xenophobia are a part of the reason they lost the last few elections. 

The multiracial majority of Americans elected Democrats to go big and deliver results. The only risk to Democrats is if they don’t.