Biden is Right on the Border

Pres. Joe Biden is making the hard, but correct, call on Haitian refugees and others camped near Del Rio, Texas.

What is the greatest threat to liberal democracy in the world? Far-right populism. And what is driving far-right populism more than anything else? Immigration. More accurately, not so much the normal, regularized immigration between nations, but the flow of refugees. Refugees put strain on social service systems, challenge the settled culture and activate nativist and xenophobic tendencies that otherwise lie mostly dormant.

And populists take advantage of that opening.

So, while it’s hard to see innocent people in need sent back to face the problems in their home country, in the long-run it’s the right thing to do. America is the strongest force in the world for liberal democracy and we’re now recovering from four years of a near-fascist government under Donald Trump. Moreover, Trump got 75 million votes last November. One way to look at it is that Biden won the Electoral College by only 44,000 votes spread over three states, including Wisconsin.

Haitian refugees in Del Rio, Texas. In the long-run it’s best to send them home.

So, we’re at a key moment in history. Liberal democracy — another phrase for freedom — is very much in doubt. We’re nowhere near being out of the woods yet. So, anything that would threaten it has to be fought or defused. And nothing threatens liberal democracy like uncontrolled immigration. Biden’s first job is to strengthen democracy here and around the world. And to do that he must tamp down populism.

So, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas struck the right tone yesterday when, while acknowledging that the situation was “heartbreaking,” he also said, “If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life.”

Of course there are exceptions. Americans are overwhelmingly (for now) in support of asylum for the thousands of Afghans who helped us in the war there. But that support may erode as time goes on and as issues may arise with some of those immigrants. Also, there’s a big difference between Afghans who face the likelihood of death or torture back home and Haitians who are fleeing natural disasters and the manmade disaster of their own government.

In fact, we could hope that the Haitians themselves, with nowhere else to go, might work to rebuild their country, not just physically, but they should also work to establish democratic institutions and norms. The U.S. should do all it can to help. As I’ve written before, we should not give up on nation-building.

It’s a tough call, but the greater good in the long run is to send the Haitians back home.

Welcome to the 216th consecutive day of posts here at YSDA. Thanks for reading!


Published by dave cieslewicz

Madison/Upper Peninsula based writer. Mayor of Madison, WI from 2003 to 2011.

4 thoughts on “Biden is Right on the Border

  1. Dave wrote, “America is the strongest force in the world for liberal democracy and we’re now recovering from four years of a near-fascist government under Donald Trump.”

    I understand not liking President Trump, I really really do, but claiming that there was “four years of a near-fascist government under Donald Trump” is an absolutely absurd claim. This is one of the many big lies coming from the political left in regards to President Trump, it’s unsupportable hate mongering propaganda.

    Feel free to attack President Trump for things he actually did as President but attacking him based on unsupportable hate mongering propaganda is unethical.

    Dave wrote, “It’s a tough call, but the greater good in the long run is to send the Haitians back home.”

    Sending Haitian immigrants that illegally crossed our border back to Haiti is completely appropriate and they should be doing more of that with lots of the other immigrants that illegally crossed into the USA. There is a legal process.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOL! That may erode as “issues arise” with some refugees? Here’s how issues arise, Dave: One of them does something illegal and right-wing media seizes on it and uses it to fuel xenophobic rage. And you cave to it! Gotta make sure we don’t tick off a racist but undecided voter in Ron Kind’s district, right?


  3. Even when you make a misguided attempt to defend Biden, he let’s you down. Turns out he’s not actually sending the Haitians back, as you applaud; instead he’s just sending them to other processing centers that aren’t being filmed by the media.

    AP: “The Homeland Security Department has been busing Haitians from Del Rio to El Paso, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas border, and this week added flights to Tucson, Arizona, the official said. They are processed by the Border Patrol at those locations.” And, “A second U.S. official, also with direct knowledge and speaking on the condition of anonymity, said large numbers of Haitians were being processed under immigration laws and not being placed on expulsion flights to Haiti that started Sunday.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: