Migration law and order at the Mexican border speaks to a larger conversation of moral among American politicians. (Michał Huniewicz)
With the nation facing nearly two million migrants at the southern border, the Biden administration is working to process the biggest migrant surge in 20 years. The situation is making clear which officials have a trace of humanity and which ones don’t.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), for example, revealed his moral vacuum to reporters this month. During a March 21 interview with “This Week” host Martha Raddatz, McCaul lauded the effectiveness of rape and violence in Mexican holding centers as a deterrent to migration. The interview dealt with former President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policy of pushing U.S. migrants off into the Mexican government’s hands while they await processing.
Raddatz pointed out to McCaul that humanitarian group Human Rights Watch polled detainees at these Mexican holding centers and “consistently found that migrants in Mexico are exposed to rape, kidnapping, extortion, assault and psychological trauma. Nearly half of those interviewed said Mexican police immigration agents and criminal groups targeted them for extortion. How is that a good policy,” Raddatz asked McCaul.
“Well, it’s a good policy because it deterred. Deterrence is the key here.”
“But a deterrent that left people in Mexico in pretty bad shape,” Raddatz pressed.
“But it also deterred a lot of them from leaving Central America,” McCaul repeated, as if pointing out that the deadly COVID-19 pandemic carried the added bonus of freeing up rental space in retirement communities.
Critics say the MAGA, machismo crowd of staunch, anti-immigration restrictionists have reached the point of accepting horrors done to mothers, sisters and daughters as a convenient form of policy.
“What’s pushing these people to the southern border is also rape and crime, so how is that a deterrent?” demanded American Immigration Lawyers Association president-elect Allen Orr Jr., who went on to tell The Lighthouse the Biden administration is, essentially, trying to walk a bridge and rebuild it at the same time, and that the process has no way of looking clean during renovation.
“I’m disappointed in the media coverage,” Orr told Lighthouse. “I do believe the Biden administration is acting in a humanitarian manner in the best way they can. It’s not happening the exact way we would like it to happen, but it’s a lot better than it was before for the last two years.”
Less than a month into his term, Pres. Joe Biden was determined to be nothing like the president that preceded him. Unlike Trump, Biden announced a desire for the U.S. to adhere to a decades-old international refugee treaty it signed with other civilized nations. Pres. Jimmy Carter and Congress passed the Refugee Act in 1980 to bring the U.S. into compliance with international human rights standards, but since that time, numerous presidents have ducked the spirit of the act. The treaty exists specifically to protect refugees fleeing political chaos and physical danger in their home countries, but the very next president following Carter ignored war-torn El Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees by mislabeling them “economic migrants,” despite the fact these “economic migrants” often died in brutal Guatemalan or El Salvadoran conflicts.
Pres. Trump heaped on his own violations, notably stripping South American and Central American asylum seekers of a court date to argue their case and by removing their right to be in the U.S. in order to present their claim before an immigration court judge. Trump’s administration also temporarily canceled the Central American Minors (CAM) refugee program. Critics say Trump not only ignored treaties and international law by not accepting children and stealing their biometric information, but also violated the U.S. Constitution and national principles.
Critics like retired immigration attorney Margaret O’Donnell, of Seattle, told Lighthouse that Trump “politically rigged” the whole refugee process for years.
When Biden reversed Trump’s countless travesties, however, he popped a bottleneck that had been growing for four years as desperate parents and their children crowded the southern border. All must be processed, but the process looks daunting, and degenerates like McCaul—who have not shown sympathy to brown immigrants in the last four years—are now suddenly clutching their pearls and blasting Biden for trying to do right.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbot parroted MAGA talking points in criticizing Biden for allegedly creating the “crisis” at the border, even though Abbot was among the politicians pushing to close the border and build the bottleneck system in the first place.
Former Texas congressman and gubernatorial hopeful Beto O’Rourke blasted Abbot on Twitter.
“You care about Immigrants?” O’Rourke demanded. “The day before a white supremacist killed 23 people in El Paso (claiming there was a “Hispanic invasion of Texas”) you mailed a letter urging Republicans to “DEFEND TEXAS NOW” from immigrants and “take matters into our own hands.”
Orr played down the media’s portrayal of the “crisis,” and added he believes Biden is doing his best with what he has, which is miles above what Trump delivered.
“About a million people come to the U.S. every day and about half of those people are U.S. citizens. The rest of them are immigrants applying for entry. For me, a couple of thousand at one port is not that big of a deal,” Orr said. “If your kid is in a dire situation and someone’s coming to save them but there’s only one pickup truck and no seat in the cab, would you want your kid left behind or put in the flat of the truck? I think you’d want them in the flat of the truck.”