President Joe Biden made several major gaffes during his trip to Europe last week. The president’s most notable gaffe occurred during a speech he delivered in Poland when he said that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” The White House had to clean up this potentially dangerous unforced error suggesting possible regime change. Biden made other slip ups as well, such as telling U.S. troops stationed in Poland what they will see when they arrive in Ukraine. But President Biden’s attempt to equate the influx of Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s killing field in Ukraine, during his exchange with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, with the illegal immigrants crossing the U.S. Southern border was no error.
“The fact that you have so many — so many Ukrainians seeking refuge in the — in this country of Poland, we understand that,” President Biden said, “because we have, in our southern border, thousands of people a day — literally, not figuratively — trying to get into the United States.”
More than 2.2 million Ukrainians are estimated to have crossed into Poland since the Russian invasion began. President Biden has committed to accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees into the United States, although reportedly only a trickle have been formally admitted so far. But even if Biden fulfills his commitment, 100,000 Ukrainians pale in comparison with the number of illegal immigrants from Latin America and other parts of the world whom his administration has allowed into the country.
As far as the Biden administration is concerned, pretend “refugees” and “asylum-seekers” leaving their home countries to seek a better life in the United States deserve no less of a welcome than real refugees escaping the ruthless Russian invaders of their country.
Thousands of illegal immigrants a day have not simply tried to get into the United States. They have successfully entered and remained in the United States in droves since President Biden took office, as a result of his administration’s lax enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws and open border executive actions. Immigrants who have entered the country illegally have benefited from the expansion of the number of individuals rendered eligible for protections such as deferred action, parole, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), asylum, or refugee status.
Nearly two million illegal immigrants were apprehended at the border in 2021, which is a record. More than 458,000 have been permitted to stay and seek asylum. Thousands more who entered the U.S. illegally without being caught are roaming around the country.
The illegal immigrant surge at the U.S.-Mexican border is not letting up. In February of this year alone, 164,973 encounters with border officials took place. We are on track for 200,000 encounters in March.
With the Biden administration’s imminent lifting of the public health rule known as Title 42 expected before the beginning of April, the grounds for immediately expelling illegal immigrants from the country because of COVID-19 concerns will disappear. Even more chaos at the border is predicted as hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who were expelled under Title 42 seek to return.
Leftist progressives, who represent the core of the Democrat base today, are seeking to racialize what are legitimate moral distinctions between bona fide asylum claims made by Ukrainians versus mostly spurious asylum claims made by individuals emigrating from Latin America and other parts of the world. As usual, they view the world through the lens of identity politics.
For example, Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas, said that “we cannot help but see a contrast between the way we are treating war-displaced people in Europe to the way we are treating those who are fleeing to our southern border. It is more important than ever to have policies that welcome and protect asylum seekers and migrants, and a key part of that is ending immigration detention.”
Many immigrants who have left Central America in vast migrant caravans wanted to start their lives anew in the United States. The “root causes” for their long treks were bad economic conditions and corruption in their home countries, together with the pull of Biden administration open border policies luring them to the United States. Vice President Kamala Harris’s short-lived search for “root causes” failed to turn up anything else of consequence.
Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala have not been invaded. No aerial attacks have been unleashed on their civilian populations. There have been no systematic government persecutions of civilians. Nothing forced Central Americans to choose between leaving their home countries or staying behind to face possible death from bombardments and sieges cutting off food and vital medical supplies.
Ukrainians have faced a radically different situation than the migrants from Central America or other parts of Latin America. Indeed, most Ukrainians were content with their lives in their own country before Russia invaded. They were not seeking better economic prospects for themselves and their families outside of Ukraine. Russia’s brutal invasion and unrelenting attacks on Ukrainian civilian population centers turned the lives of the Ukrainian people upside down.
Ukrainian civilians are being slaughtered in their own country by Putin’s war machine. Putin and his military commanders have unleashed artillery, bombs, and missiles upon hospitals, schools, residential buildings, and shelters. Putin’s henchmen fired at women and children trying to flee by bus or foot to safety. Functioning cities and towns have been reduced to rubble.
Most Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 to 60 have remained behind in Ukraine to fight the Russian invaders. Women and children have separated from their husbands and fathers, seeking at least temporary refuge outside of Ukraine. Many of these women and children desperately want to return to their homeland and resume their lives with their families intact, if and when conditions permit.
The Left loves to indulge in moral equivalency. However, there is no such equivalency when it comes to comparing the Ukrainian refugees fleeing Putin’s invasion and the illegal immigrants crossing the Southern border into the United States. The Ukrainians have legitimate moral and legal grounds for protection as refugees. The illegal immigrants who repeat what they are instructed to say in order to hide their true economic motives for migration with false asylum claims deserve no such protection on moral or legal grounds.