The Washington Post, still giddy at the prospect of Joe Biden as the presumptive president-elect, said in its headline when Biden picked Antony Blinken as his secretary of state nominee that he was “emphasizing experience and the foreign policy establishment.”
That straight-news headline segued into a lot of straight news that was more like an overlong laudatory clip on a book jacket.
Blinken, much like almost everyone else coalescing around Biden thus far, was a pick that reminded a lot of us about what we didn’t like regarding the Obama administration when it came to foreign policy: He chose to intervene in the wrong places at the wrong time with the wrong level of force.
He drew down troops from Iraq just as the Islamic State group was gathering steam. He stepped up our intervention in a civil war in Syria that, at best, would have ended up being a proxy war between the United States and Russia. He advocated military involvement in Libya, a country which is still in a state of borderline anarchy nearly a decade on.
The Post mentions these things briefly, without much criticism, before launching into hard-hitting analysis like this: “His reputation as a nonideological consensus-builder is also in the mold that Biden is attempting to craft in his administration.”
So you can imagine the servile praise heaped upon Alejandro Mayorkas when he was picked by Biden as his pick for head of the Department of Homeland Security.
Or you don’t have to imagine. Quoth The New York Times: Mayorkas “would be tasked with restoring faith in a department that carried out the Trump immigration agenda.”
That department, The Times reported Monday, “has been accused of bending to Mr. Trump’s political whims, whether that meant separating children from their families at the border, building a wall with Defense Department money or pulling protesters from the streets of Portland, Ore.”
And now it’ll be in the hands of a man who bent to Mr. Obama’s political whims, especially when it came to maximizing immigration into the United States under any means possible.
Between 2009 and 2014, Mayorkas was the head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. During his time there, he faced allegations he was essentially dismantling any sort of roadblocks designed to ferret out fraud when issuing visas.
As GOP Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley noted in a 2010 letter, there were accusations “senior USCIS officials are putting political pressure on career employees to approve more visa applications, even if the applications might be fraudulent or the applicant is ineligible.”
After interviews with employees, Grassley said that “the evidence suggests that Director Mayorkas is fostering an environment that pressures employees to approve as many applications as possible and condones retaliation against those who dissent.”
“During a recent visit to the [California Service Center], Director Mayorkas became ‘visibly agitated’ when advised that the employees were interested in learning more about fraud detection efforts. Mayorkas asked, ‘Why would you be focusing on that instead of approvals.’ One witness stated that ‘his message was offensive to a lot of officers who are trained to detect fraud.’”
The letter described a “get to yes” culture in which the goal was to approve as many applications as possible; those who didn’t agree would find themselves transferred. It went far enough that a 2015 DHS inspector general report found Mayorkas “intervened improperly” in several visa applications.
By then, however, he’d already become deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security.
During the period between 2014 and 2015, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, there was an average of 550,000 new illegal immigrants per year in the United States, up from 350,000 a year between 2012 and 2013.
Meanwhile, it’s not as if Mayorkas has learned anything in the interim. If anything, he believes it’s time to pretend the Trump years didn’t exist and go back to status quo ante.
Two DHS-adjacent policies Biden has promised to end include “catch-and-release” and “remain in Mexico.”
In the former, illegal immigrants claiming asylum and awaiting hearing would be allowed to remain free before their hearing. The Trump administration ended it due to the security risks it posed.
“Remain in Mexico,” meanwhile required those claiming asylum at southern border crossings to stay south of the border while their case was being adjudicated. While the Trump administration said it discouraged spurious asylum applications, Democrats say it’s cruel to force asylum-seekers to stay in camps where they’re subject to the potential of cartel violence, according to Fox News.
If this sounds like a horror show, Jessica Vaughn of the Center for Immigration Studies says it’s something Republicans may be able to use for political gain.
Mayorkas, she said, “is a gift for Republicans who want to make an issue of Biden’s immigration policies.”
“He is the exact kind of nominee that people didn’t want to see — someone in favor of corporate interests on immigration, of looking the other way on fraud, of rubber-stamping every [migration] application,” she told Breitbart. “This should be an easy softball for them to hit out of the park. This is something that’s going to be helpful to them in the Georgia Senate races — I mean, [Sen. David] Perdue [R-GA] and [Sen. Kelly] Loeffler [R-GA] should be commenting on this.
“All of the stars align here — cronyism, corruption, swampiness, and the immigration issue.”
Lest we’ve forgotten, it was this flagrant disregard for immigration laws — not some latent nativism that was in remission — that helped propel Donald Trump to become president.
The presumptive president-elect now seeks to remind everyone, by nominating another swamp monster, exactly why we got rid of the ancien regime in the first place.
We’re supposed to forget the 2 million people who came here illegally during the Obama administration, immigrants who lowered wages and job prospects for working-class Americans.
But don’t tell The New York Times: “Advisers said [Mayorkas’] nomination would satisfy moderate Democrats, Republicans and the many officers in the department, which oversees the agencies that carry out deportations and patrol the border, while not alienating liberal Democrats.”
Four years later, Joe Biden hasn’t learned a thing. Neither has Mayorkas nor the Obama administration’s enablers in the media. No, the ones they think have learned are the rest of us. We’re finally ready to listen to them now.
At this rate, the honeymoon is going to be cut very short.
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