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Democrats' Free Pass on Immigration Is Over

www.theatlantic.com
7 min read
standard
As he extends Trump-era policies, President Biden discovers that many voters are no longer willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Throughout the last administration, Department of Homeland Security officials at all levels—from Senate-confirmed power brokers in Washington to rank-and-file agents along the border—often complained that they were facing a double standard: They were doing the same work, using the same methods, as they had under previous presidents, they said, but because their boss was now Donald Trump, the public was quick to assume they were acting out of racism or malice.

At times, of course, Trump's policies did break with those of previous administrations, including the zero-tolerance policy that separated thousands of migrant children from their parents. But in many ways, the DHS officials were right: Stories highlighting conditions and practices that predated the Trump presidency by years or even decades suddenly became front-page news. Reporters had doggedly covered those issues for years, but before Trump was inaugurated, their stories rarely generated any lasting national attention.

Caitlin Dickerson: America never wanted the tired, poor, huddled masses

Up until recently, the Biden administration seemed to have been banking on the persistence of this double standard, whereby the left-leaning parts of the public assume general goodwill on the part of Democratic politicians and therefore give them a pass. The administration has taken up court battles to protect some of Trump's harshest asylum policies and commenced flying multiple planeloads of migrants back to Haiti. Now-viral images show that, in recent days, Border Patrol agents have been charging at—and in some cases verbally assaulting—Haitian migrants marooned at the Mexican border across from Del Rio, Texas.

But the assumption that these tactics would go unchallenged when deployed by a Democratic administration, as was often the case in the past, appears to have been a serious miscalculation. The spotlight that Trump shined on the southern border for four years is still plugged in. The public is still paying…
Caitlin Dickerson
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