NICOLE RUSSELL: The border has been in crisis for years — Democrats are just noticing

The Texas/Mexico border has been in chaos for years. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s recent temporary order, which cleared the way for the Border Patrol to remove concertina wire along the border, Democrats — and some media outlets — are just now noticing the issues. In fact, according to President Joe Biden’s release Friday, he’s got a plan to fix the border. Unfortunately, such efforts are a form of gaslighting at best and disingenuous at worst: Biden has always held the power to secure the border, he just appears to have waited until it reached a boiling point to be concerned.

In his statement Friday on the Senate border negotiations, Biden expressed concern, an aggressive attitude toward reform, and even bemoaned its current state saying, it’s “long past time to fix it.”

“Congress needs to finally provide the funding I requested in October to secure the border” Biden’s statement ran. “This includes an additional 1,300 border patrol agents, 375 immigration judges, 1,600 asylum officers, and over 100 cutting-edge inspection machines to help detect and stop fentanyl at our southwest border. Securing the border through these negotiations is a win for America. For everyone who is demanding tougher border control, this is the way to do it.”

To read this, one would think that the state of Texas and its Governor, Greg Abbott, have been lackadaisical in their attempts to secure it, perhaps even inept. While Abbott may or may not welcome more manpower at the border, and certainly the sheer influx of migrants is the most pressing issue, simply throwing more people or more funds at the border is not the best way to resolve the problem. Worse, Biden accepts no responsibility for actually creating this problem.

The border has seen a massive surge of migrants over the past three years because Biden repealed several of Donald Trump’s immigration policies, particularly his “Remain in Mexico” policy. Only the federal government can enforce immigration law, so as soon as that policy was revoked, the number of migrants crossing the border — at ports of entry and outside them — climbed dramatically, leaving Texas with few options available to handle it.

The Biden Administration has also ended the catch-and-release concept, meaning that migrants caught between port of entry are not forced to turn back but brought into the U.S. for processing. They’ve also allowed blanket asylum claims, without screening them to ensure migrants are truly eligible. All of these issues are contributing to the large numbers.

Even though Texas has been trying to quell the surge for the last three years through Operation Lone Star — deploying the National Guard, concertina wire between ports of entry, and razor wire buoys in the Rio Grande — it still hasn’t quite been enough.

Biden brought this border crisis on himself, left Texas alone the least three years to handle it, and is now trying to swoop in and play hero with a bipartisan border bill that’s as unnecessary as it is absurd. In fact, Biden is bluffing to appear like an assertive Commander in Chief in control of his country’s sovereign border, counting on the fact that most people won’t understand how the process works or is supposed to work.

Speaker Mike Johnson said as much in a post on X Saturday.

“President Biden falsely claimed yesterday he needs Congress to pass a new law to allow him to close the southern border, but he knows that is untrue. As I explained to him in a letter late last year, and have specifically reiterated to him on multiple occasions since, he can and must take executive action immediately to reverse the catastrophe he has created.”

Johnson is correct. The federal government simply needs the will and the direction to enforce current federal immigration laws.

Even much of the news media has aligned with Biden’s attempt to pivot the border story into one that paints him as the hero rather than a villain. Rather than place the responsibility for border chaos squarely on the President’s shoulders, most news outlets were content to target Abbott, scolding him for “defying” the U.S. Supreme Court, especially when he placed more concertina wire along the border last week. If anything, Abbott is one of the few political leaders who is genuinely concerned about border security and has passed new state laws and spent millions of Texans’ money to maintain law and order.

Biden is right to recognize the chaos at the border but it’s come too late and he still refuses to recognize his role. He need not wax eloquent about bipartisan border legislation that will suddenly reduce the migrant surge, he only needs to direct Border Patrol to enforce federal law and take swift action to reimplement policies that work.

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