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Open Borders for Thee, Not for Me
biden's potential "remain in texas" policy for migrants puts the crisis out of sight, out of mind for his progressive voter bloc — just as they like it
Last September, Ron DeSantis flew 50 migrants into the elite New England summer colony of Martha’s Vineyard. Less than 48 hours later, the town’s liberal blue bloods gathered teary-eyed in front of the Episcopal church to wave goodbye as their various amigos nuevos were loaded onto hastily-secured, idling Greyhounds. The CNN headline: “They enriched us.” Migrants’ 44-hour visit leaves indelible mark on Martha’s Vineyard.”
The residents of Martha’s Vineyard got everything progressive elites want: open borders and diversity for as long as it takes for the buses to pull into town. They got to live their values for a tight 44 hours, just long enough to imagine that their values might have been tested and, touchingly, proven. A year later, big sanctuary cities like New York, Chicago, LA, and others have actually had their values tested, and frankly, they’re getting sick of it.
“This action by the governor of Texas is a reflection of how incapable he is of running a state, of meeting a crisis head-on. It’s just really pathetic. But Los Angeles is a place where we value and welcome everyone,” said Los Angeles mayor Karen Bass this June, after Greg Abbot sent a bus of 42 migrants to her city as part of a larger bussing program that sends migrants to sanctuary cities and states. “This did not catch us off guard, nor will it intimidate us.”
So much for that.
Now, just two months and ten buses later, LA is ready to sue. Other Democratic strongholds targeted by Abbot’s bussing program are also starting to crack. Last week, New York mayor Eric Adams said that absent tighter border security and a federal bailout, the migrant crisis will “break” New York. Left-wing Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson, recently elected with the backing of the militant Chicago Teachers Union and the Democratic Socialists of America, echoed the same sentiment: “Let me state this clearly: the city of Chicago cannot go on welcoming new arrivals safely and capably without significant support and immigration policy changes.”
Johnson has appealed to the White House for help, as has Massachusetts Democratic governor Martha Healy, who recently declared a state of emergency and called in the national guard.
Does all this mean that Abbott’s border town simulator has worked? Are sanctuary-city Democrats really reconsidering their commitment to unlimited immigration? Not if Biden has anything to do with it. His administration is reportedly considering a policy that would use ankle-monitors and other GPS trackers to force migrants to remain in Texas while they await screening. If enacted, this policy would essentially insulate sanctuary cities from the material reality which so cruelly challenges their perfect ideals. One might call it the “Martha’s Vineyard Method.”
‘Remain in Texas,’ as Biden’s possible new policy has come to be called, would also punish Gregg Abbott for his insolence. A perk, no doubt; this isn’t merely a strategy to end his bussing campaign, and the hypocrisy it’s exposed. Even if Abbot hadn’t bussed any migrants out of Texas, many of the blue cities and states he targeted would still be facing migration crises. For example, of the over 100,000 migrants that have arrived in New York during the last year, only 13,100 were bussed in at the Texan taxpayer’s expense.
Of course, Biden isn’t running to be mayor of New York, he’s running for president. This is about politics and perception. More specifically, it’s about hiding the truth, which is that in 2021, Biden’s first year in office, there were 1,734,686 apprehensions at the Southern border — a three-fold increase from the year before, and the highest number ever recorded. That is, until 2022, when the number of southern border apprehensions topped two million — a population larger than the entire state of Nebraska — for the first time in American history. And those are just the ones we caught.
Such staggering numbers will be of no comfort to moderate voters, whose votes Biden needs, nor black Americans, whose support he relies on. Black support for GOP candidates has risen steadily over the past few election cycles, and a recent poll found that one in four black men would consider supporting Trump over Biden in 2024 — something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. It’s almost certain that immigration is a factor. Past waves of mass, unskilled, and illegal immigration have been incredibly destabilizing to the black community, hitting working-class black men particularly hard. According to a 2007 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the massive influx of immigration between 1980 and 2000 “generally explains about 20 to 60 percent of the decline in wages, 25 percent of the decline in employment, and about 10 percent of the rise in incarceration rates among blacks with a high school education or less.” Acknowledging this fact, or even better, doing something about it, might help Biden with black men, but it would offend the cultural and ideological sensibilities of another voting bloc whose support he relies on: college educated progressives. Better to keep the immigration crisis hidden from working-class black men, while assuring white-collar leftists that “no human is illegal,” just like their lawn signs say. Remain in Texas allows Biden to do both.
Though Remain in Texas seems radical, its ultimate purpose is to perpetuate the status quo, and not just within the Democratic party electorate. The status quo of the country will remain the same too: border communities will bear the brunt of arrivals, but slowly and surely the migrants will spread out, dragging working class wages down and giving yuppies new, interesting foods to try. Sanctuary cities can go back to pretending that the debate over immigration has nothing to do with material politics — a competition for resources and power — and that anyone who suggests otherwise is promoting the “The Great Replacement Theory.” For the uninitiated, this is a “conspiracy theory” which holds that Democratic strategists view the “browning” of America as an election strategy capable of propelling them into a permanent supermajority (which they’ve openly said for a decade). Conveniently, this fake conspiracy theory has the same name as an actual conspiracy theory, which says the Jews are covertly orchestrating a white genocide. Thus, pointed criticism of the Democratic party can be freely conflated with antisemitism, as the Anti-Defamation League — a group you’d wrongly assume might have a problem with such vulgar equivocation and wolf-crying — did in a tirade against Tucker Carlson last year.
Of course, demographics aren’t always destiny — the heavily Hispanic south Texas counties which flipped for Trump in 2020 are evidence enough. If Remain in Texas is enacted, the little Tejano border towns, long swarmed by foreigners, will become sites of quasi-permanent migrant occupation. That certainly sounds like political retribution, but in reality it's probably just the same cruel indifference which has allowed their lives to be disrupted for decades. The Tejanos in the Rio Grande Valley are rural, out of sight and mind, ancient. Many of the families date back to the Spanish and Mexican periods. They have roots, land, and money to lose. Unlike the hordes of “Latinx asylum seekers” flooding through their towns, nobody in the Biden administration cares whether or not the Tejanos remain in Texas. They aren’t pawns, like the Guatemalans who appear in their front yards and cow pastures, still wet from the river. They’re old toys, forgotten at best, thrown out at worst, and nobody cares if they get broken.