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Biden Is to Blame for the Border Misery

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In March of 2020, the Trump administration effectively closed the border, citing the Covid-19 pandemic in order to invoke Title 42, a little-used public health provision in the U.S. code. It quickly became clear that this was not, in fact, necessary to combat the pandemic—it was a pretext to enact the twisted white nationalist fantasies animating the president’s immigration policies. Trump adviser Stephen Miller, the New York Times reported last year, had “suggested using the president’s public health authority to seal the border so frequently that it was difficult to recall specific scenarios.” The pandemic provided the opportunity Miller had been waiting for. Under Title 42, more than one million people have been refused entry to the U.S., and denied the chance to make asylum claims, as they have the right to do under U.S. and international law. As one immigrant rights advocate put it, “Donald Trump did get his wall. It’s called Title 42.”

Despite all his campaign promises, Joe Biden has done little to tear down that wall. He has continued the use of Title 42 to summarily expel and deport would-be migrants and asylum-seekers, including thousands of Haitians who arrived at the border in recent weeks. Officials have framed this as a temporary situation: In February, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said they needed more time “to put in place a humane, comprehensive process for processing individuals who are coming to the border.” To would-be migrants, the message was blunter: “Now is not the time to come,” Psaki said, adding, “The vast majority of people will be turned away.”

Simply telling people fleeing poverty, the devastating effects of climate change, political instability, and violence (often stoked by decades of U.S. policy) to not come is, of course, not an effective strategy. And if it might have been reasonable to give the Biden........

© New Republic

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