Biden’s sad press conference
Reporters clearly do not have the practice of being particularly harsh on President Biden. At his first press conference as president this afternoon, ABC News’ Cecilia Vega politely nailed him to the wall because his border policy had failed critically. She told a moving story of meeting a nine-year-old boy on the border who had gone to the US from Honduras and said when she called the boy’s mother the woman said she sent him to the US because she was believed that Biden would let him into the country. This, of course, is precisely why there has been an increase at the limit. Biden created an exemption in Title 42 – the public health agency that President Trump used to reject migrants during the pandemic – specifically for minors, and there has been a predictable surge in minors. When Biden avoided this reality during the press conference, he resorted to a haze of misrepresentations and inadvertently exposed the futility of his own politics. In response to Vega, he reiterated a distortion often made by his Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, saying that Trump threw children into the Mexican desert. Except that Biden made the charges even more glaring by claiming Trump starved children. This is a shameful and stupid charge. The Trump administration either flew migrants straight back to their home countries or turned them over to Mexican authorities to do the same. Nobody was pushed into the desert. In response to Vega, he also said that the nine-year-old boy should be returned to his mother in Honduras. But that was exactly the Trump policy that turned Biden on its head and now falsely portrays it as inhuman. According to Biden’s guidelines, the nine-year-old is likely to be in an HHS detention center and will not be returned home, but will be placed with the closest relative in the United States. If Biden wants to start returning minors to their families’ homes, a laudable goal, he could do it right now – all it takes is to repent at Title 42. The rest of Biden’s statements about the border were no more accurate or reasonable. He said that all family units at the border will be turned back. First, we know this is not true. According to reports, most of the family units are now coming to the US. Second, it is not clear why, under Biden’s terms, this stated policy of returning family units would not be as immoral as the return of minors. He said the reason even more family units are not being returned is because Mexico cannot take more of them. If it’s okay to send migrants back to Mexico, it makes no sense for Biden to end Trump’s Remain in Mexico program, where asylum seekers waited in Mexico while their asylum applications were decided in the US. Biden said Trump’s policies on the border had no effect. This is proven to be wrong. Trump had gained control of the border before the pandemic began. He accused Trump of reducing accommodation for migrants, a truly absurd accusation. Trump closed the surge facilities set up during the 2018-2019 crisis only because they were no longer needed, and what’s more, Democrats were excited to close those facilities. Overall, Biden gave no indication that he understands how he fueled the current crisis or how to address it. His focus was on better processing the coming migrants rather than convincing them to stay at home. That will inevitably mean that more families in Central America will choose to send their children on the harrowing journey north, whether Biden will acknowledge it or not.