by Brian Lonergan
In the arena of politics, incompetents and charlatans can have long careers in ways that others in fields like medicine and architecture cannot. If someone botches a heart bypass operation or designs a wobbly skyscraper, the consequences of those mistakes arrive quickly and cannot be explained away. Even when their policies fail spectacularly, politicians can obscure, deflect, and mislead for years and not be held accountable.
This is essentially what we are seeing now from the Biden Administration, practiced to a more shameless and insulting degree than any of its predecessors have ever attempted. The latest nadir of this strategy happened recently when Fox News reporter Peter Doocy confronted White House flack Karine Jean-Pierre about the glaring hypocrisy of not allowing unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic to fly to the United States to compete, while untold numbers of unvaccinated illegal aliens enter the country on foot daily and are allowed to stay.
“But that’s not how it works,” Jean-Pierre said over Doocy’s indignation. “It’s not like somebody walks over.”
When Doocy pressed further, Jean-Pierre could only respond by reading talking points about how the administration is adding technology at the border and securing more funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Those bullet points do nothing to explain why thousands of unvaccinated aliens are being allowed into the country.
Such comments are indicative of either next-level gaslighting or ignorance of the issues on a breathtaking scale. Any sentient being who has followed the news the last two years has surely seen the ubiquitous videos showing thousands of foreign nationals crossing the Rio Grande into Texas, then processed by the Border Patrol.
Biden’s own Customs and Border Protection has reported 1,822,160 encounters with illegal aliens so far in fiscal year 2022, a 586 percent increase since 2017. It is reasonable to assume that most, if not all, of those people are still in the United States. Maybe Jean-Pierre was being too literal and splitting hairs, since technically the border-crossers are swimming and wading across the border, not walking. Regardless, noncitizens are clearly traversing our border in record numbers and are being allowed to stay.
How did the situation get this bad? While the border security problem has been festering for decades, it is only in the last two years that the situation has spun out of control at its current record-breaking pace. The White House, again in gaslighting mode, has blamed the spike on everything from COVID to climate change. It couldn’t possibly be anything they did, right?
Even in a sea of political spin, the truth occasionally slips out. During a recorded deposition as part of discovery in a lawsuit filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody against DHS and other border agencies, Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz made a succinct and honest statement. Under questioning about the number of people crossing the border, Ortiz, a 31-year law enforcement veteran, said, “In my experience, we have seen increases when there are no consequences,” said Ortiz during the deposition.
This kind of off-script candor is rare in today’s hyper-political landscape. Ortiz works for the Biden Administration, and he essentially called out the administration for its lenient border policies. It’s the same phenomenon that is happening with smash-and-grab robberies in blue cities: when there are no consequences for bad behavior, that behavior is certain to increase.
There may have been some ignorance in Jean-Pierre’s comments as well, since top administration officials have avoided seeing the border for themselves. Throughout his five-decade political career, Biden has never made a dedicated visit to the border and seen the situation first-hand. The Washington Post’s “fact checker,” desperate to give Biden some cover against the embarrassing charge, last year dug up an obscure 2008 campaign stop that required him to fly to El Paso, then travel by motorcade to a rally in New Mexico. Sorry, that doesn’t count.
Then there is “immigration czar” Kamala Harris, who infamously dodged questions about not visiting the border in a cringe-worthy interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt. As damage control for that interview, Harris agreed to a border trip. Even then, the trip was to El Paso, far from the epicenter of the real border crisis in the Rio Grande Valley. How can both Biden and Harris claim to be concerned about a situation that they have never actually seen?
Faced with incontrovertible statistical and video evidence of the disaster its policies at the border have created, the Biden Administration’s response is to tell the American people not to believe their lyin’ eyes. Instead, believe the problem doesn’t exist because the White House said so and wishes it to be that way. That is abdication of responsibility and leadership so egregious, it should earn the public’s eternal scorn.
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Brian Lonergan is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
Photo “Karine Jean-Pierre” by The White House.