Congress is debating emergency humanitarian aid to care for migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border. The need is obvious. With virtually no barrier to stop them, thousands of migrants are crossing illegally into the United States every day. More than a million will come this year. U.S. law prevents border officials from quickly returning them. While they are being processed, some of the migrants, including children, are being kept temporarily in terrible conditions. American officials have an obligation to take care of them before those with no valid claim to be in the United States are returned to their home countries.
Capitol Hill Democrats are reportedly torn about an emergency aid measure. On one hand, they want to care for the migrants. On the other hand, they fear approving aid would empower President Trump to carry out a plan to deport illegal immigrants whose cases have received full legal due process and who have been ordered deported. Such deportations used to be relatively uncontroversial but are now, apparently, unacceptable to some Democrats.
This moment might be a time for introspection for those who have consistently downplayed the urgency of the situation on the border. Earlier this year, with the number of illegal crossings rising; with the nature of the crossers changing — more families and more children than in earlier years; with the testimony of border officials that they were unable to handle the situation — with all that happening, many Democrats and their supporters in the media forcefully denied that there was a crisis on the southern border. Here are a few — actually, more than a few — examples:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the situation “a fake crisis at the border.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer called it “a crisis that does not exist.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said, “There is no crisis at the border.”
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries said, “There is no crisis at the border.”
House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Eliot Engel called the situation “a fake crisis at the border.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said, “There is no crisis at the border.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, former chair of the Democratic National Committee, said, “We don’t have a border crisis.”
Rep. Lloyd Doggett called the situation “a phony border crisis.”
Rep. Earl Blumenauer called it “a fake crisis at the border.”
Rep. Sanford Bishop called it “a crisis that does not exist.”
Reps. Jesus Garcia, Jose Serrano, Suzanne Bonamici, Donald Beyer, Pramila Jayapal and Adriano Espaillat called it a “nonexistent border crisis.”
Former congressman and current California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, “There is no border crisis.”
All are in public office and all have a say in determining policy. In the media, NeverTrump Republicans, former Republicans and other commentators have joined in.
Former Rep. Joe Scarborough, now with MSNBC, called the situation “an imaginary border crisis.”
Former Bush White House official Nicolle Wallace, also with MSNBC, said, “There’s not a crisis.”
Former Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol called the situation “a fake crisis.”
GOP strategist Rick Wilson said, “There is no crisis on the border.”
Former conservative talk radio host Charlie Sykes said, “There is no crisis at the border.”
The Washington Post’s Max Boot called the situation a “faux crisis.”
The Post’s Jennifer Rubin said, “There is no crisis at the southern border.”
The Post’s editorial board called it a “make-believe crisis.”
And finally, lest anyone ignore the late-night Resistance, comedian Jimmy Kimmel called the situation “a fake border crisis.”
Are 26 examples enough? There are plenty more, for those who care to look.
The situation at the border is so terrible in part because those in power, and those cheering them on in the media, have steadfastly resisted common-sense measures to reduce the flow of illegal migrants — the large majority of whom do not have a valid claim of asylum — across the border. The resulting paralysis in border policy encourages more migrants to come, making the situation worse by the day.
Perhaps some of those quoted above only want to deny the president a victory, no matter how sensible. Perhaps others are simply looking for a partisan advantage. Perhaps some sincerely believe in open, or virtually open, borders. It does not matter what their motives are. The crisis — yes, crisis — at the border worsens every day they do not act.
Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.