President Biden’s Summit of the Americas Debacle

A missed opportunity to address the immigration crisis.

President Joe Biden’s failures at home and abroad continue unabated. The president’s latest foreign policy disaster is this month’s Summit of the Americas, hosted by the United States in Los Angeles.

The Biden administration trumpeted this summit as an effort to restore warmer relations with countries in the Western Hemisphere and to work on developing solutions to the worsening immigration problem. However, the meeting was a debacle from the outset. The heads of state from the countries that are most responsible for the torrent of illegal immigrants flowing into the United States - Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala - decided not to attend.

The Biden administration precipitated this colossal diplomatic embarrassment. It wasted a rare opportunity to forge a united front at the highest levels of government to stem the tide of mass migration just as the largest U.S-bound migrant caravan to date is trekking through Mexico with little interference.

During his June 8th remarks at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Summit of the Americas, President Biden said that he was expecting a joint declaration in support of  “managing migration.” Biden needs all the help that he can get, considering how poorly the U.S. president has done on his own in managing the immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

President Biden said that he was looking for a “mutual commitment” to “increase opportunities for safe and orderly migration through the region,” which he claimed would be good for the U.S. economy. (Emphasis added)

President Biden did not say how letting hundreds of thousands of dependent illegal immigrants into the U.S., who will strain the nation’s health, law enforcement, and educations systems, will be good for the U.S. economy.

Given President Biden’s open border policies, we can expect him to prioritize the needs of the migrants entering the U.S. illegally over those of law-abiding Americans, despite his empty words that “unlawful migration is not acceptable.”

President Biden said with a straight face that “we will enforce our borders, including through innovative, coordinated action with our regional partners.” His administration has presided over the illegal entry of record numbers of migrants who have been apprehended, plus the entry of many others who got away.

President Biden’s claim that “we will enforce our borders” is completely at odds with his administration’s release of hundreds of thousands of apprehended immigrants from detention, many of whom have been transported to the interior of the country.

Vice President Kamala Harris also delivered remarks at the summit. The Biden administration’s immigration czar identified what she considered to be the significant “challenges facing our hemisphere in the months and years ahead.” Omitting mention of the migration crisis, for which she had been tasked to find the “root causes,” the vice president listed as challenges only “the climate crisis, food insecurity, economic inequality, corruption, and gender-based violence.”

“When I think about these challenges,” Vice President Harris added, “I know and I am certain they will require new and innovative coalitions to solve, which is why President Joe Biden and I see this week as an opportunity for all of us — an opportunity to launch new initiatives, to begin new conversations, and to build new partnerships.”

Too bad that the leaders of Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala decided to bow out.

Mexico’s and Honduras’s heads of state have boycotted President Biden’s Summit of the Americas in protest against the Biden administration’s refusal to invite the autocratic leaders of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua to participate in the summit.

As an example of the Biden administration's hypocrisy, it excluded Venezuela from the summit because of its human rights abuses. Yet it had no problem easing restrictions on Venezuelan oil to make up for the shortfall resulting from President Biden’s war on fossil fuels at home. President Biden is also planning to visit Saudi Arabia, which he once vowed to turn into a pariah state because of its alleged involvement in the assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, to beg that repressive regime for more oil.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador explained that “I am not going to the summit because not all of the countries of the Americas were invited. I believe in the need to change the policy that has been imposed for centuries, the exclusion, the desire to dominate, the lack of respect for the sovereignty of the countries and the independence of every country. There cannot be a Summit of the Americas if all of the countries of the American continent do not participate.”

El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele and Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei decided not to attend the summit in protest against what they believe has been the Biden administration’s  unwarranted interference in their countries’ internal affairs.

“This country may be small, but as long as I’m president, this country and its sovereignty will be respected,” Guatemala’s President Giammattei said. President Giammattei announced in May that he would not attend the summit because of the Biden administration’s interference with his selection of Guatemala’s attorney general, including by imposing sanctions.

President Biden managed to alienate the leaders of the same key countries the United States needs to help control the flow of migrants at their source and while in transit, before they illegally overrun the U.S.-Mexico border en masse. He will not get the help that Mexico provided to former President Donald Trump when it ramped up law enforcement against migrants then trying to enter Mexico from Guatemala and trying to cross from Mexico into the United States.

But the Biden administration is in complete denial over the obvious failure of its Summit of the Americas. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, for example, claimed that “I think there’s no way you can look [at] the substantive outcomes of the summit and find that there is a link between the lack of leader-level representation from those countries and what those countries’ commitments are on the migration question…These two things are operating in entirely distinct lanes.”

The Biden administration is driving down a slow lane to nowhere.

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