Tag: border crisis
Whose Votes Does Biden Need To Win -- Hard Left Or Haley Republicans?

Whose Votes Does Biden Need To Win -- Hard Left Or Haley Republicans?

Barack Obama got it right. He refused to be held captive to his party's left wing. He adopted a strenuous policy of border enforcement, even as some Latino activists threatened to withhold their support for him. He had tense relations with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, but when anti-Israel protesters interrupted a Biden fundraiser over the Gaza conflict, Obama reprimanded them: "Here's the thing, you can't just talk and not listen." And the hall broke into applause.

Should Biden worry about keeping members of the Democrats' perpetually unhappy left on his team come November? Not to the extent that it costs broader public support — or goes against U.S. interests. The far left's power comes not in its big numbers but in its members' ability to bully Democrats into taking positions that cost them elections.

It's happened time and again. During the 2000 presidential campaign, prominent leftists urged followers to vote for spoiler Ralph Nader instead of the moderate Democrat Al Gore. A handful of Nader votes in Florida delivered the presidency to George W. Bush. In 2016, Bernie Sanders and many followers slashed the tires under Hillary Clinton's campaign, thus helping elect Donald Trump, who had cleverly egged them on.

Many of the disrupters waving Palestinian flags feel genuine despair at the Gaza horror. They have much company in this. But a lot of what they're after is attention. Getting pats on the head on social media is more important than helping defeat Donald Trump.

Exactly what was the point of pro-Palestinian demonstrators' disrupting an Easter Vigil mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral other than to get on the news? They know where the cameras are.

Come November, the hard left may deprive Biden of some needed votes. How much wiser to concentrate on Nikki Haley Republicans in the battlegrounds where moderate Republicans reside. And the Biden campaign is reportedly doing that.

According to a February Quinnipiac poll, 37% of Republican-leaning voters who supported Haley said they'd vote for Biden. That doesn't include the percentage of Republicans who would simply sit out an election that has Trump on the ballot.

Biden can't emphasize enough his support for the border enforcement bill that Trump had killed precisely because it would have worked, thus depriving him of a potent campaign issue. Any notion that this stance would turn off Latino voters is belied by polls showing Trump actually gaining some support among them as well as Blacks. And that's despite Trump's talking about mass deportations.

Perhaps Blacks and Latinos want different things from their political leaders than having their identities massaged. Other polls show illegal immigration — as well as crime — rank high on the list of these voters' concerns.

No surprise there. Poorly controlled borders intensify competition for workers without college degrees. These jobs are in construction, manufacturing, restaurants and hotels, retail — positions that are heavily occupied by people of color.

Contained in Obama's message to the anti-Israel left was the reality that the conflict in Gaza is complicated. But when you get down to the Squad level on the left, the problem isn't so much what many believe as their lack of depth in understanding the issues.

Trump Republicans can't help but love them. Here are would-be Democrats helping a candidate who, as president, introduced a ban on Muslims even entering the country — and says he would restore it in a second term.

Haley voters could well be the key to a Biden victory, especially if the president doesn't torment them with woke nonsense. Biden needs to keep Democrats united as is politically doable while getting the never-Trump Republicans to actually cast a vote — if not whole-heartedly for him, at least for the democracy.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

'Hellfire Missiles' For Mexico: Anti-Migrant Rhetoric Escalates At CPAC

'Hellfire Missiles' For Mexico: Anti-Migrant Rhetoric Escalates At CPAC

Anti-migrant rhetoric took center stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference as right-wing pundits and politicians unleashed a torrent of xenophobia over the course of several days, signaling the central role that nativism will likely play in the 2024 presidential election.

With former President Donald Trump now the de facto Republican presidential candidate, the entire right-wing media ecosystem has embraced his signature anti-immigrant positions. At CPAC, which took place just outside of Washington, D.C., this week, speakers baselessly blamed migrants for a host of perceived social ills and proposed radical policies to punish them and their home countries.

Fox News contributor Tom Homan, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under Trump, pledged that his former boss would bomb Mexican drug cartels if given a second term.

“President Trump will declare them a terrorist organization, he will send a Hellfire rocket down there, and he’ll take the cartels out,” Homan said.

Even though launching missiles at the United States' neighbor and largest trading partner poses a number of obvious risks, Homan has long supported designating Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations to empower federal law enforcement to wage war against cartels on their home soil. Under Trump, Homan was one of the architects of the administration’s family separation policy, and he has extensive ties to the nativist Tanton network.

During a panel discussion about immigration, Homan — who has promised to return to government if Trump gets reelected and once again nominates him to lead ICE — repeated his promise to carry out the largest deportation operation in the country’s history.

"For the millions of illegal aliens that have been released in this country — don’t get too comfortable, because we’re coming looking for you,” Homan threatened. “There has to be an historic deportation operation at the end of historic illegal immigration,” he added.

Trump adviser Stephen Miller made similarly extreme comments and repeated his call for the military to establish “large-scale staging grounds for removal” of migrants. In Miller’s telling, “You grab illegal immigrants, and then you move them to the staging grounds, and that’s where the planes are waiting.”

“The military has the right to establish a fortress position on the border, and to say ‘No one can cross here at all,’” Miller added.

If a future Trump administration attempted to enact Miller’s policy wish list, it would almost certainly run into a number of legal, diplomatic, and logistical obstacles — not least of all that federal law bars the military from engaging in domestic law enforcement.

The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles dismissed the central role immigration played in the development of the United States.

“We are told that we must tolerate the destruction of our borders, and the invasion of our country, because we are a nation of immigrants,” Knowles said. "As a matter of history, we are not, in fact, a nation of immigrants,” he added.

Knowles is exactly wrong, though he is correct that the United States has a long history of anti-immigrant bigotry.

Last year, Knowles said that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely,” a comment he referenced in his speech this year, folding it into his anti-immigrant rant.

“We know the difference between a man and a woman,” Knowles said. “We know the difference between an American and everyone else.”

Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law and current hopeful to co-run the Republican National Committee, fearmongered about the “millions and millions of people flooding into our country illegally” across the southern border who have been “given a red carpet rollout and reception by Joe and Kamala."

Ben Carson, who served as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Trump, warned that immigration is an existential threat to the United States.

Carson asserted: “Our leaders are determined to repeat every mistake that led to the collapse of empires before us.” Among those mistakes, he cited “mass immigration and infiltration by foreigners who don't share our values and culture or even our language."

For months, Trump and his advisers have previewed extreme plans to deploy the military and use law enforcement to deport as many as 10 million people living in the United States without authorization. The speakers at CPAC are joining others in right-wing media in helping to lay the foundation for that horrifying proposition — to standing ovations from an audience that demands nothing less.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

US Mexico border fence

Republicans Only Exist To 'Fight,' Not To Make Policy

The border bill circus is the latest demonstration of a bedrock reality of today's Republican Party: It does not exist to achieve political outcomes. Its chief function is fan service.

The overriding concern of GOP voters, according to polls and to elected Republicans, is immigration. In the ranty precincts of the right, they believe that the southern border is open; that criminals, terrorists and drug dealers are crossing en masse. Among less febrile Republicans, the argument is that while legal immigration is good for the nation, we are swamped by illegal border crossers and must get control of a border that is out of hand.

Whichever version of the immigration argument they favor, every Republican who truly cared about solving the "crisis at the border" would presumably favor a bill that would have tackled — or at least ameliorated — the problem right now. In October, a group of senators including Shelley Moore Capito and Todd Young sent a letter to the president warning that 169 people on the terrorism watch list had been apprehended in the preceding 10 months. In early January, a 60-member delegation of House Republicans traveled to Eagle Pass, Texas. They were enraged, they said, by the fentanyl coming across the border.

In reality, fentanyl is mostly smuggled by American citizens, not would-be asylum seekers. Ninety percent of seizures occur at legal border crossings and interior vehicle checkpoints. In recent years, just 0.02 percent of people arrested for crossing the border illegally had any fentanyl in their possession.

Speaker Mike Johnson thundered that "One thing is absolutely clear: America is at a breaking point with record levels of illegal immigration." Rep. Mark Green, who yesterday announced his retirement from Congress, claimed that the FBI director had testified that members of Hamas can "just walk right in." But as The New York Times clarifies, Christopher Wray said no such thing. Rather, he explained in response to a tendentious question, that he could not 100 percent guarantee that none of those who evaded the border patrol ("get-aways") were members of Hamas.

While the risk of terrorists crossing the southern border is not zero, the Cato Institute's Alex Nowrasteh has shown that the southern border is not a common vector for terrorists attempting to enter the United States.

But let's assume for the sake of argument that most Republicans are unfamiliar with Nowrasteh's research and fully believe the Mark Greens and Mike Johnsons of their party who claim that we are being overrun by terrorists and foreign drug smugglers, to say nothing of immigrants "poisoning the blood" of real Americans.

Would they not be outraged by their elected officials' decision to tank a border bill that would achieve many of their objectives? The base has not been shy about accusing Republican leaders of cowardice and betrayal over much less. Yet on this issue, supposedly the one they feel most passionate about, they are tamely accepting that GOP congressmen and senators passed up a unique opportunity to get much tougher enforcement just in order to give Trump a campaign issue?

Well, some might explain, the average Republican voter thinks that if Trump is reelected, they will get even better (i.e., harsher) measures to keep immigrants out. But that is false.

The only reason the Democrats are willing to agree to a lopsided border deal that gives Republicans 80 percent of what they demanded and get nothing in return (like a path to citizenship for Dreamers) is because Democrats are worried that the issue hurts them with voters — and since Republicans linked support for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan to border security, Democrats would have to bend.

But that political calculation goes out the window if Trump is reelected. Democrats would not have any incentive to compromise.

So if GOP voters believe that illegals are flooding into the country to our sorrow and that we are in danger daily from infiltration by terrorists, how can they accept that Republicans would choose to continue this "unconscionable" status quo a day longer than necessary — much less the years it will likely take before another deal is possible? And if the Republican Party is a political entity, don't voters have a duty to understand political realities, including that this was a unique moment to achieve their cherished objective?

But if the party doesn't exist to solve political problems, if instead it exists only to "fight," then the voters' passivity makes sense. The GOP doesn't need to get control of the border, merely to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas. Lauren Boebert released a triumphant video after the (second) impeachment vote boasting that "Just now we impeached Secretary Mayorkas who has endangered our country by deliberately handing over control of our southern border to the cartel. Now that's delivering for the American people!"

No, that was a gross misuse of government power against an official that even the GOP's favorite legal advisers had said did nothing to merit impeachment. Besides, it was a pointless, empty gesture since the Democrats control the Senate and will certainly acquit him (as he deserves).

The show is everything. Results don't count, only the fight.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

The Border Crisis Proves America Is Still A Beacon

The Border Crisis Proves America Is Still A Beacon

Five million Ukrainians have fled their homeland since Russia invaded, seeking refuge not only in neighboring countries such as Poland and Germany but also in Britain, Canada and the United States. And who can blame them? The Biden administration has admitted more than 100,000 refugees from Ukraine without provoking a whisper of protest in this country.

It's hard for any of us to fault innocent people who are trying to escape the horrors and hardships of war or the brutal consequences of Russian occupation. They and their children have only one life to live, and they are not eager to put that life at undue risk or endure it in misery.

But Americans have a different attitude toward a group that is not so different: the migrants from Mexico, Central America and South America who have made arduous, dangerous journeys to our southern border in hopes of finding a place here.

A majority of Americans regard the stream of new arrivals as an "invasion" — a word normally reserved for military campaigns. Instead of equating these migrants with Ukrainian refugees, they somehow equate them with the Russian army.

But there is no evidence that those showing up at the border asking for asylum harbor hostile intent. Just the opposite: They come here because they think the U.S. offers a better life than what they had back home. They don't want to harm us. They want to join us.

Small wonder. The three countries of Central America's "Northern Triangle" have some of the highest murder rates in the world. They are among the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. Plagued with corrupt governments, their citizens have no reason to expect their lives to improve.

So they look elsewhere, and they settle on the U.S. That is the highest of compliments, something we used to understand. During the Cold War, we offered sanctuary to those fleeing Communist oppression in Eastern Europe. We took in hundreds of thousands of Jews who suffered discrimination in the Soviet Union.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed "to the people of Cuba that those who seek refuge here in America will find it." After the Vietnam War, the U.S. welcomed more than a million people from Southeast Asia.

In his final address as president, Ronald Reagan paid tribute to this tradition. America, he declared, is "still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home."

Back home, these migrants face terrifying violence and intractable poverty. They want something better. Many have walked hundreds of miles or climbed atop freight trains, risking rape and robbery at the hands of criminal gangs, for the mere chance of gaining entry to the U.S.

They're not the only foreigners who, given the choice, choose America. Since the Chinese government liberalized its emigration policies in the 1980s, the number of Chinese living here has risen nearly sevenfold. The Indian immigrant population has grown even faster.

Our universities have more than a million foreign students. According to the Consumer Technology Association, which represents tech firms, 45% of Fortune 500 corporations, including Apple and Amazon, were founded by immigrants and children of immigrants.

The next Steve Jobs may not be waiting in Mexico right now for an asylum hearing. But Latin American immigrants bring their own talents, as well as the drive to make the most of them. They come here without valid visas only because our miserly immigration rules leave them no plausible alternative.

Xenophobes depict a marauding horde. But as Alex Nowrasteh of the libertarian Cato Institute reports, "Illegal immigrants are half as likely to be convicted or incarcerated as native-born Americans are." Overwhelmingly, they want to work for an honest living that exceeds anything they could dream of in their native countries.

It would be an alarming symptom if all these people were avoiding the U.S. in favor of Brazil or Venezuela. Their preference attests to the enduring appeal of the freedom, opportunity and prosperity that this country offers.

Wang Jisi, a professor of international studies at Peking University, scoffs at his government's insistence that America's best days are behind us. "When people stop queuing up for visas in front of the U.S. Consulates," he told The New York Times, "then the U.S. is in decline." For a lot of people around the world, America is still the promised land. And that's not a bad thing.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.