Amid a complex and challenging border situation, President Biden is slated to visit Arizona and New Mexico this week. According to the White House, he will focus on his administration’s “historic investments in conservation and protection of our natural resources.” The President claims the “Inflation Reduction Act” is the “largest investment in climate action in our nation’s history.”
Protecting our environment and natural resources is important, but the security of our southern border is equally important. Despite sweltering temperatures that regularly exceeded 100 degrees in July, Customs and Border Protection in the Tucson sector recorded an average of over 1,300 daily migrant crossings.
Arizona Senator Kristin Sinema, now an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, places blame squarely on the Biden Administration for the border’s escalating problems. She contends that small border towns bear an unfair burden as the federal government grapples with finding practical solutions to the crisis. Last year she told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “As a native Arizonan, born and raised on the southern border, I can tell you unequivocally that the federal government has failed its duty in the last 40 years.”
In an agreement with the Biden Administration, the Mexican government allows immigrants to proceed toward the United States border, provided they secure an appointment on the U.S. government’s CBP One phone app. The Mexican drug cartels have been offering VPN services to immigrants. This enables them to manipulate their internet connection’s location, leading to the app’s inability to determine whether the user is in northern Mexico. This tactic gives hope to Central American immigrants seeking to reach the U.S. border while greatly enhancing cartel profits.
Smugglers have openly promoted these VPN services in southern Mexico and across social media platforms. The deployment of these services is a potential factor contributing to the notable 30 percent increase in border encounters recorded by U.S. authorities in July. An easy fix to this problem is simply adjusting the app’s functionality to read GPS readings on devices instead of relying on server locations.
Of course, the border situation is resonating beyond the Southwest. New York’s Democratic delegation has urged President Biden to take action regarding the influx of illegal migrants in New York City. Amid these calls, local Democrats advocate for streamlined work authorization processes for asylum-seekers awaiting their immigration cases. However, the White House expresses concerns that more accessible work authorization might inadvertently encourage more border crossings.
New York Democratic lawmakers and the administration are at odds over declaring a state of emergency in the city. This declaration could bring federal resources, but the rationale for prioritizing an interior blue state like New York over a red border state like Texas raises questions about the allocation of resources.
Arizona Senator Sinema suggests that the allocation of funds to New York could be influenced by the prominent roles of New York leaders in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives: “The reason the money is going to New York is because the Speaker of the House is from New York, and the leader of the United States Senate is from New York.” (Presumably, she means House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.) Rep. Nick LaLota (D-NY) blames New York City’s sanctuary status for the influx of illegals, “You break it, you bought it should not only apply to retail shoppers but to those governments who approve these asinine [sanctuary city] laws.”
The ongoing border security crisis continues to divide congressional Democrats, who have raised valid concerns about the administration’s approach. President Biden will have to address border concerns while touting the successes of Bidenomics and the Inflation Reduction Act. It’s unavoidable.