SAN ANTONIO, Texas - After refusing to do anything substantive about stopping the flood of migrants entering the country illegally, President Biden has acted, sort of. Only a cynic would say his order to deport certain Venezuelans, but not migrants from 40 other nations, is timed to influence the November election.
Call me a cynic.
The administration plans to invoke Title 42, a rule created during the Trump administration and one Biden denounced for inflicting "cruelty and exclusion" on those fleeing the government of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro. The new/old policy is intended to block single adult male Venezuelans from entering when they claim asylum.
That won't stop them or anyone else from crossing the Rio Grande River and other points. Suppose the "single adult male" claims to be married? What if he is carrying a baby he claims is his? Most immigrants crossing our southern border lack documentation so how will any of their statements be validated?
Customs and Border Protection says it encountered nearly 204,000 people at the border last month and more than 2 million in all of fiscal 2022. This doesn't count the "gotaways," estimated by Border Patrol to be nearly 600,000.
George Rodriguez is an American of Mexican descent who lives in San Antonio and regularly visits local migrant centers. He also worked in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations on community relations and immigration outreach.
Rodriguez, who vehemently opposes the "open border" policy of the Biden administration, thinks his fellow Americans should look beyond the crisis to the future impact of massive migration. These include, he says, a continuing disrespect for the law; the burden on the public school system, students and taxpayers; the need for special education and Spanish-speaking teachers for immigrant children; welfare, disability payments and health and medical services.
Rodriguez worries that many of those who have entered the country illegally will not be fully assimilated. He fears that should Republicans regain power in Congress and the presidency they may not finish the border wall and deport those who broke the law to get here for fear of the media calling them "racists" and "inhumane."
He is also critical of two major Spanish-speaking television networks - Telemundo and Univision - which, he says, defend those coming across the border and influence migrants already here.
Won't massive deportation - if it occurs - be seen as cruel by many Americans, because that is the way the media is likely to frame it? Rodriguez is adamant: "Anytime you excuse illegal activity, you get more of it." He thinks deporting those who broke the law to get to America - regardless of how long they have been here and even if their children were born here - is the best deterrent.
Rodriguez has other questions he thinks must be addressed. These include whether law enforcement will be allowed to track alien criminals? Will the cartels be designated terrorist organizations because of the fentanyl pouring into the country killing young Americans? Will some district attorneys continue to put "social justice" ahead of public safety? Will unskilled, unemployed migrants turn to crime like the Salvadoran gangs of the 1980s?
All of these - and more - are good questions. Will Republicans answer them in ways that in the words of the Constitution "provide for the common defense (and) promote the general welfare"?