Wednesday 10 April 2024

Joe Biden Praises Mexico’s Border Plan, Dangles Border Curbs as Latino Support Sags

 President Joe Biden is dangling new border curbs and praising the border plan pushed by Mexico’s president as he tries to restore his support among alienated and disappointed Latino voters.

When asked by the Spanish-language Univision TV network if he plans to issue an executive order to curb the inflow, Biden dodged by saying:

There’s no guarantee that I have that power all by myself without legislation. And some have suggested I should just go ahead and try it. And if I get shut down by the court, I get shut down by the court. We’re trying to work through that right now.

In contrast, former President Donald Trump used the president’s myriad legal and diplomatic powers in 2019 to sharply reduce illegal migration in 2020.

Biden’s border dodge is rational because swing voters want curbs while critical groups in his coalition — West Coast investors and anti-border progressives — have successfully blocked proposed actions to curb the inflow of migrant workers, consumers, and renters.

Axios reported that “while it’s not final, such an executive order is likely by the end of April.” The site claimed Biden “would use authority” in Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to exclude some migrants as “detrimental” to U.S. national interests.

Also, Biden may not need an effective policy shift to curb migration. His deputies have already negotiated curbs with Mexico that are reducing the visibility of the unplanned inflow. And even a toothless policy change will help him declare that he is curbing the border inflow.

Biden’s deputies are smacking down claims that he will tighten border rules. “What people want to see is order and humanity in our immigration system” — not cuts and curbs — Biden’s campaign manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, told the Washington Post last month. “The president doesn’t talk about shutting down the border,” said Chavez Rodriguez, who is the Berkeley-retrained granddaughter of the 1960s labor leader Cesar Chavez, who strongly opposed migration.

Univision’s correspondent asked Biden about Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is pushing for a long-term border deal that would reward Mexico — and several other states — for regulating the flow of economic migrants into Americans’ communities and workplaces.

“I think his idea is consistent with what I’ve been pushing, and I think we should be doing something like it,” Biden said.

“Have you got a good relationship with him personally?” the Univision host asked. “I do,” said Biden, adding:

I find him straightforward. He’s never kidded me. He knows what he wants. He keeps his word. That’s about as much as I can ask.

Biden’s comments about Obrador are significant because Biden’s deputies and Obrador made a secretive deal in December that directs Mexico’s police to interdict migrants trying to reach the U.S. border. That deal has been ignored by the U.S. media even as it has drastically reduced the unplanned arrival of migrants at the border, so allowing Biden’s deputies to claim the border is getting back under control without requiring any political fights and compromises within Biden’s coalition.

But the price Biden is paying to Mexico is huge. For example, Biden is allocating roughly 120,000 migration “parole pipeline” slots to Mexicans and is also staying quiet as Obrador ignores the lucrative but deadly drug smuggling by Mexico’s cartels. The Financial Times reported April 5:

[As] Obrador’s six-year term nears an end much of Mexico’s co-operation with the agency has vanished, said former agents and security experts. Mexico-DEA relations reached a low point just as overdoses of fentanyl — much of it produced in Mexico — have become the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45, and as the crime groups that distribute drugs extended their territorial control.

“It’s one of the most challenging issues in the bilateral relationship,” said Christopher Landau, who was U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 2019 to 2021. “And the one . . . [crying] out the loudest for a reset, which has been very difficult to accomplish.”

Moreover, the Biden/Obrador deal still allows the administration to pull a massive inflow of economic migrants into the U.S. via a series of quasi-legal pathways. These pathways include the vastly increased parole pipeline and the release of asylum applicants regardless of federal laws that require their detention until their asylum pleas are settled.

These economic migrants reduce the pressure on CEOs to raise Americans’ wages, invest in labor-saving workplace technology, and expand trade with South America, Africa, and Asia. The inflow also drives up the cost of housing.

Overall, Biden has imported one legal, illegal, or quasi-legal migrant for every American born during his term.

Understandably, Biden’s policies are extremely unpopular among voters, including among many Latino voters.

For example, the Public Policy Institute of California conducted a poll of 1,075 likely voters in California. It asked voters to decide if “[1] Immigrants today are a benefit to California because of their hard work and job skills OR [2] Immigrants today are a burden to California because they use public services.”

Forty-four percent of likely voters and 41 percent of Latinos picked “burden.” In competitive districts, 48 percent said migration is a burden, according to the poll.

The February poll also asked, “Generally speaking, do you think the recent immigrants who have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border will make American society” better or worse?

“Worse” was picked by 42 percent, including 38 percent of Latinos. “Better” was picked by 32 percent, including 39 percent of Latinos. One-quarter of respondents said it “won’t have much of an effect one way or the other.”

A survey by Ipsos polling on April 9 reported:

Latinos in general have somewhat low favorability ratings of major political figures, including President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

A plurality of Latinos hold an unfavorable view of Biden (41% favorable, 47% unfavorable), while Trump is seen even less favorably (32% favorable, 56% unfavorable)

Just over half of Latinos say inflation (53%) is the issue they find most worrying. Crime and gun violence (34%) and immigration (28%) fall as second-tier concerns. Less than one in five say political extremism or polarization (16%) is a top concern.

In turn, Biden used the Univision interview to revive his support among Latinos. For example, he told Univision that he is pushing plans to reduce the cost of housing, even as he raised the cost of housing by importing at least 10 million legal, quasi-legal, or illegal migrants.

In March, Axios reported that Biden’s staff are looking for ways to answer voters’ concerns about housing costs.

So far, the GOP has largely ignored the pocketbook damage caused by Biden’s migration. Instead, they are using migration to spur turnout among GOP base voters by denouncing the crime, chaos, and drug smuggling enabled by Biden’s policy.

However, some Republicans have begun to describe other costs, such as spreading poverty, migrant deaths, and rising burdens on local governments.

As yet, Republicans are not talking about the pocketbook impact of Biden’s migration — lower wages, higher inflation, and higher housing costs — that might help win over swing voters and white-collar college graduates.

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