The reality is that not much has changed at the border, according to an analysis by Tom Wong of the University of California at San Diego’s U.S. Immigration Policy Center. “This year looks like the usual seasonal increase, plus migrants who would have come last year but could not,” Wong wrote of the numbers of people coming to the U.S. What else hasn’t changed is that the border remains, far from “open,” effectively closed, the result of decades of militarization and ramped up border security and begun in earnest during the Clinton years, and that Biden, continuing some of his predecessor’s worst policies enacted under the guise of covid-19, has been turning away the vast majority of single adults and even families who are attempting to seek asylum under Title 42.
You wouldn’t know that, though, from watching or reading the mainstream political press. That this crisis narrative has been eagerly pushed by rightwing news outlets like Fox News and Republicans like Ted Cruz who now suddenly have found it politically expedient to pretend to care about unaccompanied minors crossing the border, while simultaneously characterizing them and other migrants as a threat, is wholly unsurprising. It’s political theater, meant to score cheap and all-too-easy points and to dehumanize people fleeing poverty and violence, in an effort to maintain the status quo and derail any chances of significant immigration reform.