Harris Is Now In Charge Of The Border Mess, But Her Comments Helped Fuel The Crisis

The Biden Administration’s Policies And ‘Terrible’ Messaging Led To The Crisis At The Border, And Putting Kamala Harris, Who Once Said She Favors Decriminalizing Unauthorized Border Crossings, Shows How Unserious They Are About Solving It


‘Biden Transition Officials Understood The Risks … Yet Biden Immediately Embarked On An Aggressive Strategy To Roll Back Trump Administration Policies,’ ‘The Administration Also Took Several Steps … That Increased The Flow Of Migrants And Encouraged More To Try Their Luck’

“The situation at the border — which Biden and his advisers steadfastly refuse to call a crisis — is the result of an administration that was forewarned of the coming surge, yet still ill-prepared and lacking the capacity to deal with it. Administration officials have been plagued by muddled messaging, sometimes making appeals that seem directed more at liberal activists than the migrants they need to dissuade from coming to the country.” (“‘No End In Sight’: Inside The Biden Administration’s Failure To Contain The Border Surge,” The Washington Post, 3/20/2021)

“During his first week in office, Biden signed a slew of executive actions aimed at undoing Trump's immigration policies and released comprehensive immigration reform legislation. Most notable among the changes has been the decision to no longer expel unaccompanied minors who show up at the border, resulting in more children coming into US custody. Those policy changes, some argue, sent a signal to migrants that it was the time to come to the United States, despite administration officials warning them it wasn't.” (“How The Border Problem Caught The Biden Team Off Guard, And How They've Scrambled To Fix It,” CNN, 3/20/2021)

The President Of Mexico Says ‘Expectations Were Created’: ‘They See [Biden] As The Migrant President, And So Many Feel They’re Going To Reach The United States’

“Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador asserted that the Biden administration’s immigration policies have contributed to a surge of migrants that has overwhelmed facilities at the southern border in recent weeks.” (“Mexico's President Says Biden Immigration Policies Prompting Border Surge,” Fox News, 3/23/2021)

Mexico’s government is worried the new U.S. administration’s asylum policies are stoking illegal immigration and creating business for organized crime, according to officials and internal assessments seen by Reuters…. Detentions on the U.S border have surged since Biden took office on Jan. 20. Mexico has urged Washington to help stem the flow …” (“Exclusive: 'Migrant President' Biden Stirs Mexican Angst Over Boom Time For Gangs,” Reuters, 3/10/2021)

  • “Previously unreported details in the internal assessments, based on testimonies and intelligence gathering, state that gangs are diversifying methods of smuggling and winning clients as they eye U.S. measures that will ‘incentivize migration.’” Apprehensions on the U.S.-Mexico border in February hit levels unseen since mid-2019, and were the highest for that month in 15 years, data reported by Reuters showed. Among U.S. steps Mexico worries are encouraging migration are improved support for victims of gangs and violence, streamlining of the legalization process, and suspension of Trump-era accords that deported people to Central America.” (“Exclusive: 'Migrant President' Biden Stirs Mexican Angst Over Boom Time For Gangs,” Reuters, 3/10/2021)

‘One Clear Message Has Resonated With Migrants’: ‘The Messages From Friends, Neighbors And Family Saying Now Is The Time To Come’

“In the meantime, one clear message has resonated with migrants. The week after Rice’s border visit, [Rep. Henry] Cuellar [D-TX] visited a detention facility for migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Tex. Cuellar said he asked 16- and 17-year-olds whether they had heard Biden when he said not to come to the United States. The teenagers looked at each other and said no, he recalled. Okay, Cuellar pressed, what about the messages from friends, neighbors and family saying now is the time to come — were they hearing those? ‘They all raised their hands and said yes,’ Cuellar recalled. ‘They said, “We see this on TV. We see images of people coming across. . . . We see people coming across, so we’re going to do the same thing.”’ ‘This,’ the migrants told him, ‘is our opportunity to do this.’” (“‘No End In Sight’: Inside The Biden Administration’s Failure To Contain The Border Surge,” The Washington Post, 3/20/2021)

FLASHBACK: Biden During The Primary Campaign: ‘I Would In Fact Make Sure… We Immediately Surge To The Border All Those People Are Seeking Asylum,’ ‘You Should Come,’ ‘Come To The United States’

JOE BIDEN: “What I would do as president is several more things because things have changed. I would in fact, make sure that there is we immediately surge to the border all those people are seeking asylum. They deserve to be heard. That’s who we are. We are a nation that says if you want to flee and you’re fleeing oppression you should come.” (ABC News Democratic Presidential Debate, 9/12/2019)

JOE BIDEN: “All of the bad things are coming through ports of entry right now. We don’t need a wall and by the way I would immediately as president surge to the border. I would end this notion for the first time in history the people seeking asylum have to be in squalor on the other side of the river and--and desperate situation. They should be-- be-- come to the United States and have a judgment made as to whether or not they qualify. I would also surge to the border immigration judges to make--make decisions immediately and no one, no one would be put in jail while waiting for their hearing.” (CNN and Univision Democratic Presidential Debate, 3/15/2020)

‘And Those Who Come Seeking Asylum, We Should Immediately Have The Capacity To Absorb Them’

JOE BIDEN: “But the fact is that, look, we should not be locking people up. We should be making sure we change the circumstance, as we did, why they would leave in the first place. And those who come seeking asylum, we should immediately have the capacity to absorb them, keep them safe until they can be heard.” (NBC News Democratic Presidential Debate, 6/27/2019)

‘These Are All Self-Inflicted Wounds’: The Biden Administration Was Warned Repeatedly That A Surge Of Migrants Could Result From Their Policies And Messaging, From Both The Prior Administration And Career Homeland Security Officials

“The warnings began before Biden even took office. During the transition period, career officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection tried to issue sober alarms to the Biden team about the likelihood of a crisis at the border that could quickly overwhelm the nation’s capacity. Senior CBP officials delivered Zoom briefings to the Biden transition team that included modeling projections showing a steep increase in the arrival of unaccompanied minors if Trump’s policies were suddenly lifted, according to one current and two former Department of Homeland Security officials.” (“‘No End In Sight’: Inside The Biden Administration’s Failure To Contain The Border Surge,” The Washington Post, 3/20/2021)

“[Former acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark] Morgan said the Biden transition team was ‘specifically warned again and again and again,’ adding that officials had worked on modeling to project the jump in encounters if Trump policies were pulled back.” (“How The Border Problem Caught The Biden Team Off Guard, And How They've Scrambled To Fix It,” CNN, 3/20/2021)

“Republicans have assailed Biden's handling of the situation, blaming his early actions to overturn some of the Trump administration's draconian border enforcement policies for inducing what is shaping up to be a historic surge of migrants to the border. ‘These are all self-inflicted wounds,’ a Homeland Security official said.” (“How The Border Problem Caught The Biden Team Off Guard, And How They've Scrambled To Fix It,” CNN, 3/20/2021)

Democrats From Border Districts: ‘When You Create A System That Incentivizes People To Come Across, And They Are Released, That Immediately Sends A Message To Central America That If You Come Across You Can Stay’

“‘When you create a system that incentivizes people to come across, and they are released, that immediately sends a message to Central America that if you come across you can stay,’ said Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, whose South Texas district sits near the border with Mexico. ‘It incentivizes droves of people to come, and the only way to slow it down is by changing policy at our doorstep. If they don’t change the policy, the flow of continued migration traffic isn’t going to stop or slow down.’(“‘No End In Sight’: Inside The Biden Administration’s Failure To Contain The Border Surge,” The Washington Post, 3/20/2021)

“[Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)] also described Biden’s message to migrants of ‘don’t come now, come later’ as ‘terrible.’ He said it ‘has to be changed to be more concise and more direct.’ He said the Biden administration needs to ‘put visuals’ of the government turning people away so the influx of people can be slowed.” (“Migrant Children At Border Adds To GOP Criticism Of Joe Biden, Whose Immigration Plan Faces Resistance,” USA Today, 3/17/2021)


President Biden Has Now Handed This Crisis To Vice President Kamala Harris, Whose Previous Radical Statements And Actions On Illegal Immigration Suggest She Will Not Improve The Situation

“President Biden announced Wednesday that Vice President Harris will become the point person for the administration in seeking to stem the flow of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. As part of that role, she will work with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras as the administration grapples with an influx of asylum seekers.” (“Harris To Be Point Person For Biden Administration In Stemming Flow Of Migrants At The Border,” The Washington Post, 3/24/2021)

During The First Democratic Presidential Debate, Harris Raised Her Hand When Asked Who Thought Entering The Country Illegally Should Not Be A Crime

“Harris raised her hand during the first Democratic debate when a moderator asked which candidates think crossing the border without documentation should be a civil offense rather than a crime.” (“Where 2020 Democrats stand on Immigration,” The Washington Post, 04/08/2020)

Harris Stopped Just Short Of Calling To Abolish ICE, Saying ‘We’ve Got To Critically Reexamine ICE And Its Role’ And ‘We Need To Probably Think About Starting From Scratch’

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): “I think there’s no question that we’ve got to critically reexamine ICE and its role and the way that it is being administered and the work it is doing, and we need to probably think about starting from scratch.” (“Calls To Abolish ICE Are Splintering The Democratic Party,” BuzzFeed News, 7/02/2018)

  • “Sen. Kamala Harris just put Democrats on the spot with a challenging question: What should be done about ICE? The California Democrat, a possible 2020 presidential candidate, said she is so frustrated with how federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement treats migrants that the government should consider ‘starting from scratch’ with an undefined overhaul of the 15-year-old agency…. It’s about as far as any prominent Democrat has gone in reaction to a year-and-a-half’s worth of Trump administration efforts to limit legal and illegal immigration …” (“Kamala Harris Out Front On New Litmus Test For Dems: What To Do About ICE?,” San Francisco Chronicle, 6/25/2018)

But Incredibly, She Did Compare ICE To … The Klan

RONALD VITIELLO, Nominee to be Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement: “Well, the Klan was -- what we would call today, a domestic terrorist group.”
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): “Why? Why would they call them domestic terrorist group?”
VITIELLO: “Because they tried to use fear and force to change political environment.”
HARRIS: “And what was the motivation for the use of fear and force?”
VITIELLO: “Based on race and ethnicity.”
HARRIS: “Right. Are you aware of the perception of many about how the power and the discretion that ICE is being used to enforce the laws and do you see any parallels [with the KKK]?”
VITIELLO: “I do not see any parallels between...”
HARRIS: “I’m talking about perception.”
VITIELLO: “...officers and agents.”
HARRIS: “I’m talking about perception.”
VITIELLO: “I do not see a parallel between what is constitutionally mandated as it relates to enforcing the law.”
HARRIS: “Are you aware that there is a perception.”
VITIELLO: “I see no.”
HARRIS: “Are you aware that there is a perception...”
VITIELLO: “That to put the ICE in the same category as the KKK, is that what you’re asking me? …”
HARRIS: “I’m not finished. I’m not finished. Are you aware that there is a perception that ICE is administering its power in a way that is causing fear and intimidation, particularly among immigrants and specifically among immigrants coming from Mexico and Central America? Are you aware of that perception?”
VITIELLO: “I do not see a parallel between the power and the authority that ICE has to do its job and agents and officers who do it professionally and excellently with lots of compassion.” (U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Hearing, 11/15/2018)

Harris Voted Repeatedly ‘To Shut Down The Government Over Dreamers,’ Leading Other Dem Presidential Hopefuls In Announcing The Hardline Position

“Senate Democrats eyeing the 2020 presidential ticket have been consistent on one message for months: They’re willing to shut down the government over DREAMers. Since the fight over the lack of a long-term spending bill and immigration deal began in earnest in December, Democrats have tried to use what little political leverage they have to get a permanent fix for the sunsetting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program … even if it meant a government shutdown. But some politicians have been more consistent than others…. [A]mong some high-profile rumored 2020 contenders, there has been no debate. Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) all voted against every recent spending bill because they have not seen a vote on an immigration fix. They did it again on Thursday night, joining a handful of other Democrats voting against a long-term spending bill. (“Immigration Is Becoming A 2020 Litmus Test For Democrats,” Vox, 2/13/2018)

“The Senate Democrats’ hell-no caucus is saying hell yes to a shutdown showdown over Dreamers. Democrats have pressed Republicans to pass legislation by the end of the year to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants legal protections that President Donald Trump has vowed to end…. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) declared in a news conference last week that she wouldn’t vote for a spending package if the future of DACA was not resolved by then.” (“Liberal Senate Dems Embrace Shutdown Showdown Over Dreamers,” Politico, 11/03/0217)



Related Issues: Immigration, Homeland Security