President Joe Biden greets California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) as he arrives at Mather Airport on Air Force One Monday, September 13, 2021, in Mather, California, for a briefing on wildfires at the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) [Photo Credit: White House Public Domain]

Biden’s Twin Dumpster Fires: Raging Inflation and Open Borders

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By: Simon Hankinson

Faced with several serious domestic and foreign policy problems all at once, the Biden administration’s reaction has been so catastrophically incoherent, it’s hard to know whether to blame leftist ideology or just plain incompetence.

Inflation hits all of us right now. While the nation is supposed to be grateful for the 16 cents that the White House told us we had saved on food at last year’s July Fourth barbecue, this year, we feel with our own wallets that the prices of housing, food, gas, cars, and other things we all buy are up far more than the average “headline” inflation of nearly 9%.

Meanwhile, the effects of rampant illegal immigration are felt insidiously by most of us in crowded schools, the flow of illegal drugs, more expensive health care, and numerous other social costs, but they are hitting especially fast and hard in border communities.

After 17 months of record illegal immigration, the leaders of several Texas border counties have reached their limit in responding to the catastrophe. They have just declared that they are under invasion, in an effort to get Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to enforce immigration law and protect them from an unprecedented, unchecked flood of illegal entrants—more than 1.5 million apprehended at the border just since October.

At first glance, there are some similarities between President Joe Biden’s approach to these two critical issues, inflation and immigration. The first is denial and disinformation.

On the economy, that looks like this ridiculous and deservedly mocked recent tweet from Biden asking gas stations to lower their prices, as though small business owners were responsible for inflation.

On immigration, it looks like White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre’s “flat-out lie” that our southern border is closed.  

The second similarity is misdirection, the classic Third World demagogue’s trick: Blame some scapegoat or “special interests” for problems you caused and hope the voters are too dumb to know who’s really at fault.

On inflation, that means blocking the drilling and fracking efforts in the U.S. that led us to energy independence, while going hat in hand to authoritarian regimes like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia to get their (presumably less polluting?) oil.

Biden’s energy policy is built around the ideology of a government-mandated transition to green energy now, but without any idea of the costs or what will take the place of our current production to meet demand in the meantime.

Misdirection also means blaming meat companies for price-gouging, rather than acknowledging that massively increasing the money supply through government largesse, while the supply of goods and services remains static, causes prices to rise.

On immigration, it means the administration throwing money at irrelevant, inconsequential, or intangible goals in some grand strategy, while completely ignoring the suffering of border communities and ordinary Americans who pay to feed, house, and transport the millions of illegal immigrants Biden is welcoming.

Biden’s “Strategy for Addressing the Root Causes of Migration in Central America” will not work, and even if it did, it wouldn’t do so quickly enough to stop Mexicans and Central Americans from mass-migrating in uncontrollable numbers today.

The biggest difference between Biden’s policy on inflation versus immigration is intention.

While his economic policy is a feckless mishmash of denial, misdirection, and hope, resulting in worsening living conditions for Americans, at least Biden probably wants to tame inflation, although his irresponsible spending and regulatory policy are driving up prices.

On immigration, the White House has an evident strategy—inspired by leftist, globalist ideology—to end the country’s efforts at border enforcement, in an end run around Congress’ constitutional authority to set immigration levels and conditions.

Rather than proclaim this open-borders policy forthrightly and risk putting it to voters, Biden’s handlers work the stealth route through controversial regulatory change, refusal to prosecute lawbreakers, and unprecedented abuse of parole and other discretionary powers that Congress haplessly ceded to the executive branch back when it seemed no president would ever be this irresponsible in using them.

The Biden team seems to assume that the many other dumpster fires burning brightly on its watch—rampant crime, failing education, record budget deficits and debt, and, of course, inflation—will permanently distract Americans from the nearly 240,000 people who entered the U.S. illegally last month alone in an ever-increasing flow.

The latest incredible figures leaking out of Customs and Border Protection—despite the administration’s efforts to hide the shocking scale of illegal immigration—count nearly half a million “got-aways” (people who totally evaded detection when entering the U.S. illegally) just since Oct. 1.

These are people about whom we know nothing, and who haven’t even been subject to the pro forma attempt at registration the Biden administration’s hobbled Department of Homeland “Security” carries out before moving them inside the U.S. while they await a distant-future court process, the results of which the administration likely won’t enforce anyway.

Meanwhile, the immigration solution is simple: Secure the borders through legal means like the Migrant Protection Protocols; enforce the law by detaining, not releasing, the bulk of illegal immigrants on parole; and resume removing those who are here in violation of U.S. law.

Congress needs to take back its power and responsibility over immigration numbers and force the administration to do its job.

Voters need to hold Biden and the left accountable for their utter failure to protect our borders, jobs, and safety.

Simon Hankinson, a former foreign service officer with the State Department, is a senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center.

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