After pressure from Republican Senators, the White House finally allowed reporters access to a processing facility in Donna, Texas, where a large number of migrant families and children are being held, and the images from inside are predictably horrible. They were also horrific when reporters were allowed in to see children who were separated from their parents at the border and tossed in cages by the Trump administration.
If it strikes you as odd that the Republican Party suddenly feels compassion for migrants, you’re not alone. The same party that tried to build a wall along the southern border, that separated parents from children, that changed the rules and refused to allow amnesty seekers into this country, now suddenly calls the rush of children to the U.S. border a humanitarian crisis? Why do they suddenly seem to care? For as crass as it sounds, immigration, they feel, will always be a winning issue with their base. There’s a reason Ted Cruz and his senatorial cohorts are wading around the banks of the Rio Grande—polling. The new Biden presidency has surprisingly strong support, and polling numbers. The GOP was caught flat-footed by the popularity of Covid relief. And Donald Trump could only dream about the job approval ratings Joe Biden currently holds. So, the GOP, and the cable news compadres at Fox, have been knocked back on their heels. Time to dial up some hysteria.
The kids and adults at the Texas facility seem like they have little room to move. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a statement essentially admitting the children in that facility deserve better.
Mayorkas added that border agents were “working around the clock” to move migrant children out of overcrowded border facilities like the one in Donna and into government shelters before they are placed with family members or other sponsors.
But does the GOP really want to go down this road? While a tough stance on immigration played well with the base, it was a loser among all voters. Remember this?
And here was Ted Cruz in 2018:
A new poll shows that the praise Biden has earned for his handling of the pandemic has been tempered by disappointment over what’s happening at the border. And it’s become an issue for Republicans to use against Biden, with Senator Ted Cruz leading the charge with publicity stunts like border trips and dramatically-lit videos.
Allowing reporters access to see things for themselves is a good and overdue first step. Now the administration has to figure out a way to get those kids out of those crowded camps and into better, more humane shelters.
As for Republicans, it’s embarrassingly easy to see through the strategy. It didn’t work in 2018, or 2020. So please, play it again, Ted.
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