Recently elected U.S. President Joe Biden began his term with a flurry of hasty executive orders, signing more than three dozen in his first week in office—more than any of his predecessors. One area that received special emphasis was that of immigration—particularly from South and Central America across the U.S.’s southern border. Writes Martin Sherman
The inevitable outcome of the sustained application of the Biden administration’s emerging immigration policy will be to transform America into an unrecognizable remnant of its former self, increasingly reminiscent of realities that the immigrants wished to leave behind.
Recently elected U.S. President Joe Biden began his term with a flurry of hasty executive orders, signing more than three dozen in his first week in office—more than any of his predecessors. One area that received special emphasis was that of immigration—particularly from South and Central America across the U.S.’s southern border.
Policies more progressive than those of any predecessor
Indeed, within the first two weeks of his presidency, he enacted no less than eight executive orders concerning immigration—on issues ranging from the reunification of families separated at the Mexico border, through the reversal of the defunding of “sanctuary cities” by former U.S. President Donald Trump, to the termination of travel bans on residents of terror-afflicted countries.
Significantly, within hours of taking office, Biden signed an executive order that heralded the lax attitude that the new administration planned to adopt regarding immigration across the U.S.’s southern border. The opening paragraph of the order states: “It shall be the policy of my administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.” Accordingly, it called for the immediate cessation of construction of the southern border wall—within seven days at the most—and “the redirection of funds” allocated for that purpose. Another executive order annulled a previous one that involved robust efforts to locate and deport illegal immigrants.
According to the assessment of the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution, Biden’s “immigration policies are among the most progressive of any president,” aimed not only at reversing Trump’s “America First” policy, but also “the policies designed and/or administered by previous presidents.”
A sanctuary for criminal predators?
Just how radical the new approach is can be gauged by a report that 18 state attorneys-general implored the White House to reverse a recent decision to shelve an operation targeting illegal immigrants with convictions for sex crimes. One concerned A.G. warned: “The cancelation of this program effectively broadcasts to the world that the United States is now a sanctuary jurisdiction for sexual predators …This message creates a perverse incentive for foreign sexual predators to seek to enter the United States illegally.”
Of course, it is impossible to deny that the U.S. has benefited immeasurably from the waves of immigrants who have arrived on its shores over the centuries, bringing with them creativity, talent, ingenuity and grit. Thus, a Feb. 2 executive order aptly states: “[Immigrants] have helped the United States lead the world in science, technology and innovation … Our Nation is enriched socially and economically by the presence of immigrants.”
The American ethos and immigration
Indeed, in my July 5, 2020 column, “De-Americanizing America,” I wrote that for well over the last half-century, the U.S. has arguably been the most remarkable, and certainly the most powerful and prosperous, country on the face of the globe—a magnet for immigrants around the world wishing to partake in the material plenty and political and intellectual liberty that it can provide.
In many ways, it has been an inspiring—if not unblemished—model, showing how widely disparate societal elements can be synthesized into a functioning and cohesive entity, welding broad ethnic diversity, social tolerance, religious freedom and individual liberties into a binding sense of national identity, which helped propel a highly effective and inclusive sociopolitical unit.
In essence, this success was fueled by an ethos of rugged individualism, self-reliance and personal responsibility. It fostered a sense of national exceptionalism and propelled it to rarely surpassed heights of achievement in virtually every field of human endeavor.
However, immigrants can only contribute beneficially to U.S. society if they absorb and internalize its values, and they themselves become absorbed and integrated into the overarching sociocultural fabric of the host nation; otherwise, they will, almost inevitably, become an onerous and disruptive element.
The unavoidable outcome
But when immigrants arrive in unrestricted, unregulated masses, such integration and absorption are liable to be very difficult, indeed, virtually impossible. Thus, the social values and mores to which they are liable to be exposed and in which they remain immersed are those of their country of origin, which they left, rather than those of the country of destination, in which they reside.
As the presence of such immigrant inflows increase, the environment in which they live will inevitably begin to resemble that which they left. Thus, for example, instead of a Mexican immigrant becoming Americanized, more and more of America will be transformed into Mexico.
Accordingly, the inevitable outcome of the sustained application of the emerging mode of governance adopted by the Biden administration will be to transform America into an unrecognizable remnant of its former self, increasingly reminiscent of realities in South and Central America. This will induce accelerating emigration, with increasing portions of the more mobile and successful population fleeing higher taxes, sociocultural alienation and economic decline.
Increasingly unable to compete in international markets, the U.S. will fall into steep decline, reeling ever closer to the status of a third-world nation—with a decaying nuclear arsenal—unable to keep up with more virile rivals. Soon it will begin to resemble the lands that the immigrants left behind far more than the land to which they flocked—thus jeopardizing the very Union that, for more than two centuries, held it together so successfully.
Martin Sherman is the founder & executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.