President Joe Biden is fond of blaming former President Donald Trump for exacerbating issues at the U.S.-Mexico border, but his most recent problems are of his, and his team's, own making.
Biden was skewered by liberal Democrats last week for seeming to walk back a campaign promise to admit more refugees. Hours later, he appeared to bow to pressure from the political Left — a top spokeswoman on Monday denied Biden caved, saying critics merely misunderstood the White House's plans. On Saturday, Biden undermined some of his top officials by calling the immigration situation at the southern border a "crisis," a word his administration has aggressively avoided.
As Biden approaches his 100th day in office, his administration is set to be judged for its own uneven response to the immigration problem, including a slew of unforced errors.
Biden would have been better off "sticking to his original position" and permitting the number of refugees he pledged, "rather than backtracking and then backtracking again," according to Republican strategist Cesar Conda. He was Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s chief of staff during Congress's unsuccessful 2013 immigration reform push.
Plus, "the words Biden uses to describe the situation at the border are as important as what he does. It is a crisis," Conda told the Washington Examiner.
And a majority of people agree, at least those who responded to a Quinnipiac University poll published last week. The survey found 55% of the public disapproves of Biden's handling of immigration and the border. Another 29% approve, while 15% did not have an opinion.
But after months of White House press secretary Jen Psaki following Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas's lead in not categorizing the border situation as a "crisis," Biden did exactly that over the weekend after a round of golf in Delaware.
Biden made the comments while explaining why he had flip-flopped on his promise to lift Trump's refugee cap from 15,000 to 62,500 this fiscal year, a pledge made during the campaign and reiterated in February after his inauguration. The plan was also to admit more refugees from countries such as Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia while relaxing Trump's restrictions on applicants from Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.