Media Let Biden Take Credit for Pause in Border Crisis. Now They're Letting Him Shift Blame.

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
September 22, 2023

When illegal immigration unexpectedly dipped a few months ago, Democrats and the mainstream media were quick to credit President Joe Biden. Now that the migration crisis has come back as bad as ever, the media have resumed blaming factors outside the president's control.

Then: The Biden administration in May ended the use of Title 42, a rule that allowed for quick expulsion of migrants at the border, warning that the move would likely lead to a surge at the border. But the expected influx of migrants failed to materialize, and the White House and its Democratic allies took a victory lap.

The media joined the celebration, already imagining a boost for Biden's reelection campaign.

Politico, June 6—"As Border Crossings Dip, Biden Admin Crows About the Fiasco That Never Happened."

Axios, June 24"Biden's Breakthrough on Immigration."

New York Times, July 9"Number of Migrants at the Border Plunges as Mexico Helps US To Stem Flow."

Washington Post, July 12"Southern Border 'Eerily Quiet' After Policy Shift on Asylum Seekers."

Axios, July 22"GOP's Crumbling Case Against Biden on Crime, Immigration and Inflation."

Guardian, July 30"Where Did It All Go Right for Biden? Facts Blunt Republican Attack Lines."

Now: Illegal border crossings, after rising for months, this week approached record highs set last year. Overwhelmed border officials were forced to separate families and release migrants into communities. As during much of Biden's presidency, the White House and congressional Democrats blamed root causes and Republicans for the border crisis.

The media, meanwhile, returned to repeating the White House's talking points, including that new rules further incentivizing people to enter the country illegally may fix the situation.

Reuters, Sept. 21—"US offers work permits to half million Venezuelans already in country":

The U.S. will grant temporary deportation relief and access to work permits to nearly half a million Venezuelans already in the country, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, a move that follows calls by Democrats to help newly arrived migrants work legally. …

President Joe Biden, a Democrat seeking reelection in 2024, has faced record illegal border crossings, fueled by a sharp rise in recent years of migrants fleeing economic and political turmoil in Venezuela. …

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the expansion of protected status for Venezuelans was warranted due to "Venezuela's increased instability and lack of safety."

New York Times, Sept. 21—"Biden Plan Seeks to Keep Migrants Away From the Border. Will It Work?":

As the Biden administration struggles to tackle a humanitarian and political crisis at America’s doorstep, it is focusing increasingly on keeping migrants far from the U.S.-Mexico border by establishing migration processing centers in Central and South America.

CNN, Sept. 22—"More military personnel head to the US-Mexico border as officials describe an increase in migrant crossings":

The Defense Department is ramping up resources at the US-Mexico border as officials describe a surge in border crossings in places including Eagle Pass, Texas, where the mayor has declared a state of emergency. …

Officials gave no clear explanation for what has prompted the latest surge and said they're still working through specific reasons. They continued to identify disinformation from smugglers, poor economies, authoritarian regimes and the climate crisis as forces driving migration.

Many who leave their homes for the United States face long and dangerous treks in hopes of finding better, safer lives. Some may flee violence, while others may immigrate for economic opportunities or to reunite with family, experts say. Deteriorating conditions in Latin America exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic also have contributed to the influx of migrants into the US.

As White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre explained on Friday, "We are dealing with a broken system."