Thomas L. Friedman | We Need a High Wall With a Big Gate on the Southern Border – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Rafal Milach/Magnum Photos

“After reading as much as I can about the latest surge in illegal immigration along our southern border, I’m still not clear how much is seasonal, how much is triggered by President Biden’s announcement that he was halting construction of Donald Trump’s border wall and reviewing Trump’s asylum policies, and how much is just the lure of jobs in a rapidly vaccinating United States.

But this latest flood of illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers — more than 170,000 apprehended in March alone, including thousands of children, mostly fleeing chaos in Central America — only reinforces my view that the right border policy is a high wall with a big gate.

I wish we could take in everyone suffering in the world and give each a shot at the American dream, but we can’t while maintaining our own social cohesion, which is already fraying badly enough. So, making immigration policy today requires a tough-minded balance between hardheartedness and compassion.

If we just emphasize the high wall, and wear cruelty as a badge of honor, as Trump did, we lose out on the huge benefits of immigration. But if all we do is focus, as many on the left do, on the evils of a wall and ignore the principles of a big gate — that would-be immigrants and asylum-seekers need to get in line, ring our doorbell and enter legally, and those who don’t should be quickly evicted — we will also lose out on the huge benefits of immigration.

Why? Because so many Americans will think that the border is open and out of control that they will elect leaders who will choke off all immigration, which is the lifeblood of our country. Have no doubt, a seemingly out-of-control border would be a godsend for the Trump G.O.P. — an emotional club even more evocative than the mantra “Defund the police” with which to beat Democratic candidates in the midterms.

Already, a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the border.”   . . .

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
Bravo and thank you Thomas Friedman. I strongly second this opinion piece. Joe Biden is doing a great job on many fronts. Since I think climate change is an existential threat, Joe Biden gets my support for taking this giant threat seriously. But I, like most Americans, want to end illegal immigration, and see a regulated immigration system that serves the needs and desires of the country. Biden will be handing the government back to the Republican party of Trump, and the anti-science modern versions of the know nothings and white supremacists set back by Abraham Lincoln. I expect Friedman understands that his high wall, is really a hardened wall, which isn’t always a physical wall at all. There are plenty of technologies and policy choices to harden the border, without the environmental degredation of a physical wall. I would add to his list of ideas, that we amend the 14th amendment to do away with automatic citizenship for even illegals and tourists born here. We need to expand our guest worker program, so that guest workers are not exploited by rapacious employers. We need to clean up this poitical hot potato of illegal immigration, so we can focus on the host of other problems that threaten the United States and the world.

Their Lawsuit Prevented 400,000 Deportations. Now It’s Biden’s Call. – The New York Times

 
 

“Cristina Morales got the news that she was going to lose her legal right to live and work in the United States via text. The news devastated Morales. But the texts from her friends arrived while Morales, who was then 37, was at the Catholic school where she ran the after-school program. She believed that part of her job was to create a safe place for children, so she said nothing about her despair at work. “You need to have a happy face,” she told me. “No matter how bad you feel.”

Morales kept up the pretense in the car with her family on the way home. As her 11-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter sang in the back seat, she swallowed her tears and tried not to look at her husband. Their children had no idea that Morales was not an American citizen. She and her husband didn’t talk about her status because they didn’t want to taint the kids’ lives with fear. Only a handful of people knew that Morales was a beneficiary of a program called Temporary Protected Status (T.P.S.), which allows some immigrants to reside in the United States while their home countries are in crisis. About 411,000 immigrants had T.P.S. in 2020. More than half of them came from El Salvador, like Morales. The rest emigrated from Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria or Yemen.

Less than a year after President Donald Trump took office, his administration began to dismantle the program. Over the course of eight months in 2017 and 2018, the Department of Homeland Security ordered the departure of 98 percent of T.P.S. recipients by canceling the designation for every country except Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. In a January 2018 news release, the Department of Homeland Security announced Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s decision to terminate T.P.S. for El Salvador, stating that “the original conditions” that prompted the designation in 2001 “no longer exist.” That’s when Morales received the life-changing texts.” . . .

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

Thank you Marcela Valdes for a complicated and depressing but well reported story. Just yesterday, I called for closing the US border to all illegal immigration, and yet, in this article, you reminded me of all the damage we did in Central America in the last 50 years in the name of anti-communism. There is plenty of blood on our hands, and in many ways, we contributed mightily to the failed states that now push thousands of their people to seek safety here. This story, much of which I once knew, as a young resister to the war in Vietnam and and critic of our support of fascists in Central and South America. The extraordinary problem, is how do you fix such broken countries, when our money and support was often part of the problem, not the solution. We need, perhaps, to set some limit to how many refugees from the south we will accommodate, while making generous, our commitment to restoring order and democracy in these states whose failure we were partly responsible for.

David Lindsay Jr is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Bret Stephens | Biden Should Finish the Wall – The New York Times

” . . . But the administration would be foolish to suppose the surge will recede on its own. The years of relative economic prosperity in Mexico that, for a time, led to a net outflow of Mexican migrants from the U.S. are over, thanks to a combination of drug cartels, a pandemic and the misgovernance of its inept populist presidentGuatemalaHondurasEl Salvador and Nicaragua are failing states. A “Plan Colombia”-style package of security assistance could help. But it will cost billions and probably take a decade for its effects to be felt.

In the meantime, the United States risks a version of the European migration crisis of 2015. That’s the one that contributed heavily to the Brexit vote, turbocharged the rise of far-right parties like France’s National Front and the Alternative for Germany, and paved the way to Trump’s election.

There’s little question that our own migration crisis is a political boon for immigration restrictionists. The wonder is why a serious Democratic administration would aid and abet their cause.

It’s also putting the interests of comprehensive immigration reform further out of reach. Congress has not passed a significant immigration bill in over three decades. Joe Biden came to office with an opportunity to get a bipartisan accord, but no Republican will sign on to legislation that widens the doors to legal immigrants, much less one that offers some form of amnesty to illegal ones, without a serious plan for border security. Nothing accomplishes that more visibly than a wall.

For Democrats, that’s an opportunity to defuse the political bomb Republicans would love to plant right under them. And it’s a jobs-creating infrastructure program to boot.

Will a wall solve all of our immigration problems? Hardly. It will take years to build, and some practical, regulatory and legal hurdles might be hard to surmount. But for anyone who hopes for America to remain a proud nation of immigrants, it has to be a part of the solution.”  -30-

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

Thank you Bret for daring to think this through. You are right that if Biden isn’t stronger on illegal immigration, he will hand the government back to the Trumpsters. I don’t agree we should finish the wall with steel and bricks, that would be an environmental disaster. But I do agree that Biden has to secure the border, or probably lose power in the next few elections.

The list of reforms is daunting, but not impossible. We need e-verification of workers, and enforce that businesses can’t use illegals without permission and worker protections. We need to legalize or decriminalize all addictive drugs, to stop the gross drug war profits from destabilizing governments on both sides of the wall. As well as a US Marshall plan against climate change and to create new jobs in the US, we need another to help our neighbors to the south. We need to amend the 14th amendment, so you can’t gain citizenship here simply by being born here by either illegals, guest workers, or tourists. Family planning and zero or negative population growth are going to have to part of US foreign and domestic policy, to reduce humans to a sustainable number, and make room for other species, that are disappearing at an alarming rate.

You are right that Biden should finish the wall, but he should do it with all the ideas above, not physical barriers that will cause more endangered species to die off.

David Lindsay Jr is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion about Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Christopher Landau | The Real Reason for the Border Crisis – The New York Times

Mr. Landau served as U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 2019 to 2021.

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Credit…Matt Black for The New York Times

“Once again, a humanitarian crisis is engulfing our southern border, as tens and potentially hundreds of thousands of migrants arrive from Mexico, Central America and around the world in the hope that the Biden administration will let them in and let them stay.

The new administration has certainly given them — and the human smugglers who profit from their journeys — a basis for such hope: The administration declared that it would stop most deportations (a decision since blocked by a Federal District Court), halted construction of the border wall, announced new “priorities” that sharply limit immigration enforcement, stopped expelling unaccompanied minors under health-related authority invoked during the pandemic and began to phase out the Migrant Protection Protocols that helped prevent abuse of our asylum system and end the last surge of family units across the border.

As the most recent U.S. ambassador to Mexico, I am not at all surprised by the border surge: It is a reprise of the humanitarian crisis that engulfed the border shortly after President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office in Mexico in December 2018. His administration also came into office pledging to adopt a more “humane” approach toward migration and wound up unleashing an inhumane situation at the border. It was only after President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on cross-border trade that the Mexican government reversed course, and from then on the two countries cooperated closely to reduce the flows of third-country migrants across Mexico.

But the biggest factor driving such flows has gone largely unaddressed: the willingness and ability of American employers to hire untold millions of unauthorized immigrants. The vast majority of the people are coming here for the same reason people have always come here: to work (or to join their families who are here to work).” . . .

US to Send Millions of Covid-19 Vaccine Doses to Mexico and Canada – The New York Times

“The United States plans to send millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico and Canada, the White House said Thursday, a notable step into vaccine diplomacy just as the Biden administration is quietly pressing Mexico to curb the stream of migrants coming to the border.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the United States was planning to share 2.5 million doses of the vaccine with Mexico and 1.5 million with Canada, adding that it was “not finalized yet, but that is our aim.”

Tens of millions of doses of the vaccine have been sitting in American manufacturing sites. While their use has already been authorized in dozens of countries, including Mexico and Canada, the vaccine has not yet been approved by American regulators. Ms. Psaki said the shipments to Mexico and Canada would be essentially be a loan, with the United States receiving doses of AstraZeneca, or other vaccines, in the future.” . . .

President Biden Faces Challenge From Surge of Migrants at the Border – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Thousands of migrant children are backed up in United States detention facilities along the border with Mexico, part of a surge of immigration from Central Americans fleeing poverty and violence that could overwhelm President Biden’s attempt to create a more humane approach to those seeking entry into the country.

The number of migrant children in custody along the border has tripled in the past two weeks to more than 3,250, according to federal immigration agency documents obtained by The New York Times, and many of them are being held in jail-like facilities for longer than the three days allowed by law.

The problem for the administration is both the number of children crossing the border and what to do with them once they are in custody. Under the law, the children are supposed to be moved to shelters run by the Health and Human Services Department, but because of the pandemic the shelters until last week were limiting how many children they could accommodate.

The growing number of unaccompanied children is just one element of an escalating problem at the border. Border agents encountered a migrant at the border about 78,000 times in January — more than double the rate at the same time a year ago and higher than in any January in a decade.

Immigration authorities are expected to announce this week that there were close to 100,000 apprehensions, including encounters at port entries, in February, according to people familiar with the agency’s latest data. An additional 19,000 migrants, including adults and children, have been caught by border agents since March 1.”  . . .

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT | NYT Comment

I can see the Biden era that so many of us helped usher in start to disintegrate right now over illegal immigration. I am first and foremost an environmentalists, sometimes referred to as a climate hawk. Unimitated illegal immigration is not only not on that agenda, it is counter to it. Allowing unlimited unaccompanied minors into the country for placement is a disaster for the near term future of the Democratic Party, and folks like me will join with the Lincoln Project and others to help form a center right party. I have worked diligently and almost daily to elect Joe Biden for over two years, and I never thought our honeymoon would be so short.

 

Biden Seeks Help on Border From Mexican President – The New York Times

“. . .The Biden administration has also formed a task force to unite parents separated from their children under Mr. Trump’s family separations policy. Mr. Mayorkas said on Monday that Michelle Brané, the former director of migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission, would lead the effort to unite the families, who could be provided the option to remain in the United States permanently. Mr. Mayorkas stopped short of promising the parents citizenship.

Republicans have already signaled that they intend to seize on Mr. Biden’s reversals of his predecessor’s immigration policies as a cornerstone in their efforts to take back Congress in 2022 and recapture the White House two years later.

In an echo of his successful 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump has already offered a road map for Republican candidates in 2022 by once again exaggerating the situation at the border and falsely stating that Mr. Biden’s approach is “to cancel border security.” . . .

David Lindsay: Excellent NYT article and comments.  If Biden doesn’t show he is against illegal immigration, like over half the country, he will lose the Senate, and possibly the White House and the House of Representatives. To stop illegal immigration by birth, we will have to modify the 14th Amendment, which says that if you are born here, you are a citizen, and was to protect black slaves in America from disenfranchisement after the Civil War.

Here are the most popular comments at the Times to date:

Doug

This is the one place I fear Trump could win again in 4 years if not handled decisively. We need to be firm yet compassionate in our approach. So much of it is a PR war; we can’t make it look like it’s open season for illegal immigration. Please Joe, don’t mess this up.

5 Replies60 Recommended
 
Talbot
New York3h ago

As the Times reported yesterday, the mayor of Del Rio is begging the federal government to stop releasing migrants into his city without federal aid. He said the city is being forced to choose between helping the migrants and its own citizens. During the last surge, communities on Long Island with large immigrant populations saw hundreds of mostly teenage boys–many with little previous education and no English–suddenly added to their school systems. They struggled with a legal mandate to provide education. This struggle will be even greater during the pandemic. We can’t simply release thousands of migrants to struggling communities, however good the impulse.

Reply47 Recommended
 
Sue
New Jersey2h ago
Times Pick

I loathe Trump, but he was right in stopping illegal immigration.

2 Replies43 Recommended

By Maeve Higgins | Joe Biden, the Irishman – The New York Times

Ms. Higgins is a contributing opinion writer who regularly writes about immigration and life in New York City.

Credit…Paul Faith/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“In November, a BBC reporter shouted a question at President-elect Joe Biden. He responded, “The BBC? I’m Irish” before flashing a huge smile and disappearing through a doorway. The clip went viral and Ireland went wild.

President Biden’s Irishness is important to him: He likes to quote Seamus Heaney and W.B. Yeats, and borrowed James Joyce’s words as he bid farewell to Delaware the night before his inauguration. An Irish violinist played Irish hymns at the mass before the event. Back in the old country, people are keen to claim him, too. His ancestral family are mini-celebrities there — his third cousin, a plumber named Joe Blewitt, emblazoned his work van with the words “Joe Biden for the White House, Joe Blewitt for your house.” Frankly, the whole thing is adorable. What I want to know is, how deep does it go?” . . .

It’s gratifying to see, certainly. But what my Irishness leads me to is the old Ireland, the truly dark and terrifying place that Mr. Biden’s forefathers fled from. Who is their equivalent now? And can the president see them for what they are and act accordingly?

The parallels between Ireland in the 1800s, when Mr. Biden’s forefathers left, and, say, Syria or South Sudan today are horribly apt. The Syrian people, brave and revolutionary, simply needed a fair system of government and, later, a safe place to recover and restart their lives. But Americans have looked away. The South Sudanese, reeling from brutal colonization, continue to struggle through ethnic division and civil war. Surely too in Juba, South Sudan’s capital, there are poets and musicians who dream of the rhyme of hope and history, if only we stopped to listen.

The early signs are promising. During his campaign, Mr. Biden promised to lift the cap on refugee admissions from 15,000 to 125,000. But so much more is needed from America — just as it was in the 19th century, when roughly one in two people born in Ireland emigrated. Patrick Blewitt, Mr. Biden’s great-great grandfather, left a famine-stricken land in 1850, becoming one of the 1.8 million Irish people to arrive in America between 1845 and 1855. His parents and siblings soon followed. Another million Irish people did not make it, staying behind to die of starvation or sickness.” . . .

Lovely piece by Maeve Higgins.  She would have us taken as many refugees as is possible without delineation. I can’t agree with her.  Biden is doing enough, to allow in 125,000 a year. Part of taking care of the planet, is reducing population growth. We need to stop illegal immigration, allow for guest workers after amending the constitutional amendment that makes their children all citizens, and work towards a generous Marshall like plan to help our neighbors to the south curb their population growth, and rebuild their economies, and in some places, their governments. Legalizing all addictive drugs, would help reduce the negative effects of the $50 Billion a year illegal drug trade, that destabilizes governments, while empowering drug gangs.

Regarding Syria and the middle east, we can return to strengthening our allies, if there are any left, after Trump betrayed them, and let the Turks, the Russians, and the  Bashar al-Assad regime slaughter them. 

Farmville, Va., covid outbreak linked to ICE flights bringing agents to protests – The Washington Post

September 11, 2020 at 4:07 p.m. EDT

The Trump administration flew immigrant detainees to Virginia this summer to facilitate the rapid deployment of Homeland Security tactical teams to quell protests in Washington, circumventing restrictions on the use of charter flights for employee travel, according to a current and a former U.S. official.

After the transfer, dozens of the new arrivals tested positive for the novel coronavirus, fueling an outbreak at the Farmville, Va., immigration jail that infected more than 300 inmates, one of whom died.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said the agency moved the detainees on “ICE Air” charter flights to avoid overcrowding at detention facilities in Arizona and Florida, a precaution they said was taken because of the pandemic.

But a Department of Homeland Security official with direct knowledge of the operation, and a former ICE official who learned about it from other personnel, said the primary reason for the June 2 transfers was to skirt rules that bar ICE employees from traveling on the charter flights unless detainees are also aboard.

Source: Farmville, Va., covid outbreak linked to ICE flights bringing agents to protests – The Washington Post

The Open Borders Trap – By Jason DeParle – The New York Times

By 

Mr. DeParle is a reporter for The Times.

“Plunge into the progressive discourse on immigration, and you’ll quickly hear that it’s not enough just to legalize America’s 11 million unauthorized migrants, however cherished the goal may be and however long it has eluded reach.

Outraged at a president who has gone as far as seizing toddlers from their undocumented parents, a progressive vanguard seeks to decriminalize border crossing, ban deportations, end detention, “abolish ICE” (the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency) and make undocumented migrants eligible for government aid.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, the progressive standard-bearer, likens detention facilities to “concentration camps.” Eight advocacy groups have released an immigration plan they call “Free to Move, Free to Stay,” a slogan that suggests no limits.”

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