The Trump and Biden administrations don’t agree on much. But they sure can collaborate, if unintentionally, to create a crisis.
As a result of both Trump’s immigration policies and a lack of foresight on Biden’s part, there’s a real mess — in both humanitarian and political terms — at the border with Mexico.
In March, nearly 19,000 children traveling without adults were halted at the Mexican border, the heaviest such traffic there ever. Also, border encounters between would-be immigrants and U.S. immigration enforcement officials soared to more than 172,000 in March, up 72% from February. It’s the most encounters at the border in a month in the past 20 years.
President Biden has said that his policies aren’t to blame, arguing that former President Trump had neglected Central America and implemented policies that resulted in overcrowding at U.S. border facilities.
For sure, the Trump administration dealt poorly with the situation, squeezing the funnel for immigrant entrance to a narrow passage and ignoring underlying causes. But Biden must take a portion of the blame for the current crisis. He should have had the foresight to see the crisis looming and should have come into office with a detailed plan to deal with it first before overhauling immigration policy.
Biden admitted as much Friday when his administration announced that it would reimpose the 15,000 refugee limitation, a historic low, that had been set by Trump. Initially, Biden had planned to welcome as many as 62,500 refugees from war and persecution into the country by Sept. 30.
A senior Biden administration official said the wave of unaccompanied children at the border with Mexico had overwhelmed the government, producing a ripple effect on the ability to deal with refugees.
Biden has done a poor job of assessing and repairing damage to the immigration system left by the Trump administration. Simply put, he should have had a better plan based on the reality of the situation, not politics.