In the face of so many worsts, we need a new approach.
On November 24, in “the worst migrant tragedy in the English Channel in years,” over two dozen migrants died while trying to cross from France to Britain.
Across the Middle East, based on rumors, migrants pay approximately $2,500 to take a “new route into the EU.” But in the forests along the Poland-Belarus border, as Politico.eu reports, “What people don’t talk about in Syria is that migrants can get trapped for weeks in the border zone, living in freezing swamps and forests; at least 13 people have died trying to make the crossing.”
Meanwhile, late last week, smugglers crammed more than 160 migrants into a tractor trailer, promising to get them to the U.S.-Mexico border. At least 55 were killed and 104 injured when the truck lost control as it sped away. According to the Wall Street Journal, “It was the worst accident involving migrants in Mexico and the highest single-day toll since the killing of 72 migrants by the Zetas drug cartel in the border state of Tamaulipas in 2010.”
(The driver got away.)
And the New York Times cited International Organization of Migration data to reveal that with 650 people having died while trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border this year, “2021 has already been the deadliest for migrants at the U.S. border since 2014.”
While the Biden administration has attempted to shift away from enforcement measures that emboldened the cartels, their options are limited. For example, when they tried to end the Migrant Protection Protocols, which pushed asylum seekers into the hands of organized crime, Texas and Missouri sued. According to the Migration Policy Institute, the states claimed, “the end of MPP would cause federal officials to release more migrants into their states, saddling them with the cost of providing drivers’ licenses, education, health care, and other services.”
Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, nominated by President Trump, sided with the states to force the Biden administration to reimplement MPP. Which, last week, they began to do. Albeit, with changes.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the Johnson government is throwing its weight behind the Nationalities and Borders Bill.
The legislation, sponsored by Home Secretary Priti Patel, according to Al-Jazeera, “aims to rule as inadmissible asylum claims made by undocumented people as well as criminalise them and anyone taking part in refugee rescue missions in the English Channel.” And, as Bill van de Merwe reports for the New Statesman, Clause 9 of the bill “gives the government the right to deprive British people of their citizenship without informing them first.”
The New Statesman estimated that nearly six million people in England and Wales could be affected — including “two in every five people from a non-white ethnic minority background.”
According to Al Jazeera, until 2017, the number of people who were stripped of their UK citizenship was fewer than 20 a year. In recent years, it has been as high as more than 100.
And, of course, Patel is seen as a possible successor to Boris Johnson.
In the U.S., weeks away from another election cycle where anti-immigrant rhetoric will play a dominant role, there may be a different path.
Let me explain.
Americans’ distrust of the opposing political party is so deep-seated that they see “bipartisan” solutions as losses. Yet, Americans are also tired of inaction on immigration.
If budget reconciliation fails to provide any relief to Dreamers or farmworkers — much less solutions at the border — the pressure will increase on both parties to get something done. Particularly on Democrats.
A new consensus on limited reforms would require both sides to view immigration as serving their political interests.
Whether it is securing the border and disrupting the cartels making billions off of poor migrants; or, the legalization of Dreamers, farmworkers and TPS recipients who are critical contributors to an economy in desperate need of workers.
Look, our economy can’t afford to lose these workers and we need a border security solution that weakens cartels without harming migrants. A new consensus can serve this purpose and show the American public that instead of following the UK’s increasingly restrictionist model, Congress can find constructive solutions on thorny issues.
Otherwise, there will be more worsts to come.