CNN — How many times has the Biden White House had an unresolved conflict between idealism and pragmatism on the issue of immigration? How many times has it hesitated to take action, opting instead for political messaging? The sad answer to both questions is: every time.
Most of the officials appointed by President Joe Biden to work on immigration have resigned in frustration, according to a bombshell report from The New York Times in April. “The White House has been divided by furious debates over how – and whether – to proceed in the face of a surge of migrants crossing the southwest border,” the report said.
Some wanted more openness to immigrants of all kinds. Others wanted a coherent set of rules to be applied to the millions of people at the border. And some others wanted a compromise with Republicans to create a new merit-based, green-card system. They all got nothing.
A new report from the Department of Homeland Security for August confirmed over 2 million border apprehensions and expulsions this year so far. Previously, the United States only experienced more than 1 1/2 million apprehensions a few times in its history: during the late 1990s and then in 2021. At the current pace, that record could be doubled by the end of this year. And next year, if no policies change, it could double again…
Open border chaos increases human trafficking and drug trafficking. It turns what should be a foreign policy strength into a national security weakness.
When we ponder what Biden should do to address the immigration mess at the border, the honest answer is: something, anything. Because the status quo of playing politics while seemingly ignoring policy is not only politically divisive, but it’s also missing a golden opportunity.
Biden should take advantage of his moment in history to boldly reform American refugee policy. He could, at the stroke of a pen, redefine how many refugees are allowed into the United States by taking advantage of the distinction our laws make between those granted temporary protection and those awarded permanent residency.
Editor’s Note: Tim Kane is the president of the American Lyceum and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. His most recent book is “The Immigrant Superpower.” The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN.https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/05/opinions/immigration-policy-biden-administration-kane/index.html