90 Miles From Tyranny : Incoming Officials Reveal Biden's Plan for Undoing Trump Immigration Restrictions

Friday, December 25, 2020

Incoming Officials Reveal Biden's Plan for Undoing Trump Immigration Restrictions

'Guardrails' and the recipe for boiled frog

In a December 15 article captioned "Boiling the Frog Slowly on Immigration", my colleague Mark Krikorian explained that President-elect presumptive Joe Biden will undo the Trump administration's immigration policies, but "will ... try to hide the politically explosive consequences from public view" by rolling out those changes incrementally. On Tuesday, the former vice president, Susan Rice — Biden's choice to lead the Domestic Policy Council — and others gave hints as to the recipe that he will use to do so.

The reference in Krikorian's headline to the "boiling frog" is a common analogy for any action that is done slowly to hide true intentions and inevitable outcomes. It is based on the premise that a frog put in boiling water will jump out and save itself, but a frog put in room-temperature water that is slowly heated will not sense it is being cooked until it is too late.

Rice tweeted:

And, as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, Biden has vowed to "keep his pledge to roll back the Trump administration's restrictive asylum policies", but will do so "at a slower pace than he initially promised, to avoid winding up with '2 million people on our border.'"

Biden's campaign website was fairly clear about the former vice president's intentions — when he was running for president. He promised that in his first 100 days in office, he would: "End Trump's detrimental asylum policies", as well as the Migrant Protection Protocols — MPP or "Remain in Mexico", under which asylum seekers from countries other than Mexico must await hearings on their asylum claims on the Mexican side of the border.

Now, however, Biden is seemingly backtracking on those vows. He claims that it will take six months to rev up his plans, asserting that it will take months to stand up the machinery by which asylum claims can be heard. He blames government bureaucracy and the appropriations process.

Specifically, the Post references Biden's statements to the effect that "creating a system to process thousands of asylum seekers will take months," as "the government needs funding to put staffers such as 'asylum judges'" — logically referring to asylum officers in U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) — "in place".

As I have explained previously, government hiring takes time, and appropriations are usually a year-long process, while USCIS funding comes from those who are seeking benefits from the agency. Nonetheless, Biden expects to have all of this done in "six months".

The Post continues: "Biden said he was not dragging his feet but 'setting up the guardrails' to find a solution to the immigration issue, instead of creating a crisis 'that complicates what we're trying to do.'"

The "crisis" that Biden is referring to is a rush of illegal migrants at the border, which is "bad optics" in Washington parlance — that is, a scenario that reveals the deleterious effects of governmental action, and which provokes a...

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