Applying the Squeeze

Neither Joe Biden nor his party have any interest in securing our southern border. For them, it’s merely another way to rig the election in their favor. It makes sense, seeing as how people whose first act in our country was to break our laws are much more likely to support an administration that has similar contempt for law and order. A lawless president will always welcome lawless constituents. Meanwhile, his approval among Hispanic voters in border states has fallen into the 30’s, as law-abiding, legal immigrants tend to actually care about the country they call home.

It’s with this groundswell of support from Americans of all backgrounds that ten Republican governors have decided to put Joe Biden on the spot. While this may seem like just everyday political posturing, polling has been consistently against Biden in terms of his handling of immigration. Ironically, it’s an issue that has been useful in creating a formidable White/Hispanic voting bloc that could be a headache for Democrats for years to come. Should Biden continue to lose ground with the Hispanic vote, the Democrat party as a whole will be out of power forthwith. A party whose coalition has been reduced to Black Lives Matter activists and coastal elites faces a steep uphill climb at the ballot box. Republicans know it, they smell blood and are ensuring that their brand is synonymous with border security. More importantly, they’re ensuring that Democrats are associated with a lack of it.

The governors visited the border today to outline Joe Biden’s failures (though intentional dereliction of duty is less a ‘failure’ and more an ‘agenda). They detailed how the Biden White House has refused to acknowledge their concerns about the decline of security at the southern border. The rise in human smuggling, now at the highest level in two decades, is hurting their states, even those 1,000 miles away from the border.

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas perhaps put it most succinctly:

“President Joe Biden has caused a humanitarian crisis and chaos on our border.”

But here’s the good news. The governors didn’t use their time to merely talk about all that isn’t being done. Rather, they presented a 10-point plan to reverse the situation. Middle of the road voters tend not to care for those who talk about problems without offering solutions. With the GOP plan, Joe Biden now has proven strategies that are there should he ever decide to use them. And the American people get a glimpse of what could be, had we a real president.

Much of it is a return to the policies and strategies of the Trump administration, which were mostly common sense moves that proved highly effective in reducing border crossings. The governors on-site — Abbott, Doug Ducey of Arizona, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Brad Little of Idaho, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Greg Gianforte of Montana, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Mike DeWine of Ohio, Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, and Mark Gordon of Wyoming — laid out a plan to reinstate many of President Trump’s immigration and border strategies, all of them designed to “restore security and end the crisis.”

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The Details

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Topping the list of reforms is a call for Biden to continue Title 42 expulsions, a pandemic-era protocol that allowed for the immediate return of border-crossers to Mexico or their country of origin rather than placement in custody. The Biden administration vowed to end Title 42 as the pandemic improved but has yet to do so. However, the majority of families who come across the border are not being expelled but released into the United States, even though at one point 20% of migrants tested positive for the coronavirus after being released.

The GOP coalition wants to see federal law enforcement and military units from other agencies sent to the border, as Border Patrol agents who normally guard the international boundary have been pulled from those duties to transport and process people in custody. Meanwhile, those seeking asylum should be turned away and required to live in Mexico while they go through legal proceedings rather than be released into the U.S., aka the “Remain in Mexico” policy that was just upheld by the Supreme Court.

They also called for the end of “catch and release,” a term used to describe how illegal immigrants are effectively taken into custody but let into the U.S. rather than removed. They said that all criminals in the U.S. should be priorities for deportation, referencing changes the Biden administration made easing Trump-era operations. That the Biden administration would even reverse this rule in the first place is a scandal.

Many of the governors have deployed their own state National Guard troops to the Texas border and want the federal government to reimburse them for those costs. They also asked for notification from federal officials when unaccompanied children and families are flown or bused to their states. One would think the federal government would have the common courtesy to alert states of new arrivals, especially foreign nationals. But as we know, they want as much of this done in the dead of night as possible.

The 10 govenors were among 26 governors nationwide who sent a letter to Biden on Sept. 20 calling a meeting to find a solution to the border crisis, which began in March. Gov. Ducey’s office said that the White House did not acknowledge the letter.

“We’ve tried to meet with the president and be a part of the solution, but he refuses,” Ducey said. “Even worse, he ignores us just like he’s ignoring the border and the well-being of the American people.”

The governors chose to meet in Mission, TX, which is part of the Rio Grande Valley region. The “Valley,” as local residents refer to it, has seen more than 500,000 people illegally enter the U.S. from Mexico in the past 12 months, the vast majority of whom crossed after Biden took office.

Of the nine areas into which the Border Patrol divides the southern border, the Rio Grande Valley has seen more illegal immigration than any other in recent years, in part because it is the southernmost point of the U.S. and the shortest distance from Central America, where most people taken into custody are traveling from. Getting a hold of this area will not solve our border crisis completely but it would represent a massive step in the right direction.

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Below is the 10-point plan in full, formally known as the Joint Policy Framework on the Border Crisis:

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  1. Continue Title 42 public health restrictions:  The Biden Administration should continue to invoke Title 42 to refuse entry to individuals coming into the country due to the COVID-19 public health risk, which was initially issued by the previous administration. Title 42 currently expels approximately 44% of apprehensions.  In July, more than 18% of migrant families and 20% of unaccompanied minors tested positive for COVID-19 upon being released from Border Patrol custody.  Reports estimate that the Biden Administration has placed approximately 40,000 COVID-19 positive migrants into American cities.
  2. Dedicate federal resources to eradicate human trafficking and drug trafficking:  Due to the rapid increase of cartel activity, the Biden Administration should dedicate additional resources to eradicate the surge in human trafficking and drug trafficking, arrest offenders, support victims, and get dangerous drugs—like fentanyl and methamphetamine—off our streets.
  3. Resume the deportation of all criminals:  The Biden Administration should enforce all deportation laws of criminally convicted illegal aliens.  Upon taking office, President Biden issued an Executive Order ordering the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prioritize only the deportation of aggravated felons, gang members, or terrorists, leaving other criminals to remain in the United States.
  4. Re-enter all agreements with our Northern Triangle partners and Mexico:  President Biden should re-enter the prior administration’s agreement with the Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) and Mexico.  The countries agreed to enforce their respective borders, fix their asylum systems, and receive migrants seeking asylum before they journey north to the United States.  Upon taking office, President Biden issued an Executive Order terminating the agreements.
  5. Provide notice and transparency to states on unaccompanied minors and migrants:  The Biden Administration should instruct the Office of Refugee Resettlement to notify states when the federal government is transporting migrants who will be reliant upon their state’s social safety net.  Currently, an unknown number of migrants, including unaccompanied minor children, are being secretly transported into states without notice to those who will ultimately have to provide resources to them, such as healthcare, education, benefits, and more.
  6. Send a clear message to potential migrants:  President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Biden Administration officials at every level should state clearly and unequivocally that our country’s borders are not open and that migrants seeking economic opportunity should not attempt to abuse or misuse the asylum process.  Prior to and after taking office, President Biden blatantly encouraged illegal immigrants to come to the United States.
  7. Deploy more federal law enforcement officers and National Guard troops:  Due to overwhelming needs at the border, the Biden Administration should deploy more and provide greater resources to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.  In line with the prior four presidents who deployed National Guard troops to the border, the Biden Administration should request additional military assistance and invoke Title X to reimburse states for their troops serving at the border.  Due to a lack of federal resources, Arizona and Texas have had to initiate an Emergency Management Assistance Compact to request law enforcement resources directly from states, receiving offers from eight states, to arrest and detain illegal trespassers. 
  8. End catch and release and clear the judicial backlog:  The Biden Administration should end the Obama-era policy of catching and releasing apprehended migrants into U.S. cities along the South Texas border, leaving illegal immigrants paroled and able to travel anywhere in the country.  In addition, the Biden Administration should dedicate additional judges and resources to our U.S. immigration courts to end the growing backlog and expedite court appearances for illegal migrants.  Reports indicate backlogged cases total more than 1 million, the most ever.  Upon taking office, President Biden issued an Executive Order reinstating catch and release policies that incentivize illegal immigration and make deportation laws difficult to enforce. 
  9. Fully reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols:  The Biden Administration should comply with recent federal court rulings and fully reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) established by the prior administration, which require asylum seekers to return to Mexico to await their court hearing outside of the United States, serving as a deterrent to cross.  Upon taking office, President Biden issued a directive to terminate the MPP, and although litigation may continue, the Biden Administration should halt any attempts to appeal and fully reinstate the policy
  10. Finish securing the border:  The Biden Administration should reopen construction contracts to continue building the border wall and invest in infrastructure and technology, such as lights, sensors, or access roads, to complete the border security system.  Upon taking office, President Biden terminated the national emergency at the border, stopped all border construction, and redirected funds to build the wall.

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Big Picture

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Readers may see this and think to themselves, “just a bunch of politicians talking, nothing will change.” And in the short term, they’re right. These governors cannot force Joe Biden to reverse his policies and do what actually works to secure our border.

I understand the cynicism. It’s impossible not to be overtaken by it given what has happened over the past year. If readers were to dismiss this piece out of hand, I couldn’t say I blamed them. But I do believe that would be both short-sighted and misguided.

If we’re to get control of our border, we must take power. We did it in 2016 and we got some of the most effective border security in the history of our country, even without much of a wall. And contrary to popular belief, we absolutely can do it again. One of the best things to come from the Trump presidency was a concrete blueprint on how border security can be done. Republicans are now without excuse. Perhaps more importantly, immigration and border security have now become top line issues for the GOP, whereas before it was drowned out by the traditional conservative doctrine of tax cuts and military might.

Voter data coming from not only border states but other states being affected by the influx of illegal immigrants suggests this to be a very big problem for the Democrat party. People who are mostly apolitical or casual observers of politics have begun to join the ranks of the GOP and, as stated above, many of them are Hispanic. These are voters that were taken from granted by the Democrat party and now they represent an opportunity for the GOP to build a coalition that will keep them in power for decades to come.

Legal immigrants suffer from unchecked illegal immigration. They suffer not only in the job market but by virtue of the fact that they waited in line and did things the right way only to see others make a mockery of the system. You will never hear this in the legacy media, but many non-White immigrants resent that sort of thing. And it’s beginning to be borne out in the data.

What the Republicans are doing–and will likely continue to do–is paint a picture of what could be happening if the right people were running the show. This may seem a no-brainer politically speaking but it’s extremely important nonetheless. The average Joe knows this country is not doing well. He can feel it in his wallet; he can see it in the labor market; he can see it in the homeless encampments just down the road from his house.

But knowing something isn’t right isn’t enough. The GOP must lay it out explicitly and, more importantly, show everyone the way to a better country, not only in terms of border security but all the major issues, especially the economy. The most important piece of polling data when it comes to elections is the right way/wrong way number. It shows the percentage of Americans who feel America is on the right path as opposed to those who feel the opposite. As of this writing, the number who feel we’re on the wrong path has soared to over 60% and is climbing steadily.

For the majority of Americans who aren’t politically inclined, we must show them that we not only ‘get it,’ but that we have a plan to turn it around. And that our plan isn’t merely theoretical, but consists of things that we’ve seen work beautifully, albeit while the country was distracted by mean tweets.

I may find myself in the minority when I say I expect a massive victory for the GOP in the upcoming midterms. That’s fine – I have my reasons. And today I was given yet another.

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treysoldier

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