This is a nice thought experiment, but I don't buy it. I suspect these former officials don't appreciate the state of the border pre-inauguration—esp. Mexico's rejecting families. From 12/31 to 1/20, 41% (1,293 of 3,143) of families were released. The trend was already there.
Like, this list of things Biden did actually had little/no policy effect on the border.

- Deportation pause didn't apply
- Ending MPP affected <1.2% of encounters
- ACAs suspended since March 2020
- Border wall freeze unrelated
- UCs already not expelled.
Of course, it's all a counterfactual. Is the suggestion seriously that Biden should have gotten on TV on Day One and said "America, I know I made a lot of promises for immigrants. I'm breaking every single one of them."

Obviously that would have been a political disaster too.
But let's suppose Biden does exactly what these Obama-era DHS officials say he should have done. Would it have worked? Well, 40% of families were already getting in, Mexico was already rejecting expulsions, and unaccompanied kids were being accepted. So...
Of course, all of this ignores that single adult apprehensions were already at levels not seen for January or February in a decade. Fox News and the GOP would obviously have seized on that to declare a crisis anyway—and in fact already began ringing that bell weeks earlier.
So let's say Biden takes office, renounces his campaign promises, and redoubles efforts to expel families. Is there any evidence *at all* that it would have been effective at stopping the trends already occurring by January 20 and the media backlash Fox was already brewing? No!
To sum up; these Obama-era DHS officials offer a nice, but very devoid of context, theory for how Biden might have "controlled" the border. But the theory has little connection to the facts on the ground and reflects an arguable naivete about the complex reasons people migrate.
And, of course, I'd be remiss in saying that the idea that Biden would have fully embraced the idea of not only keeping every absurdly cruel Trump immigration policy fully in place but also restoring the Trump practice of expelling unaccompanied children is profoundly dumb.
I mean, for god's sake, SCOTUS was hearing oral arguments on MPP later in the spring. Biden couldn't have just said "oh we'll just let it keep going for a bit, even though we think it's illegal."

"Just keep all the Trump stuff" is an unserious response for a new administration.

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More from @ReichlinMelnick

30 Mar
These images, which look so much like 2019, are a reminder yet again that CBP has had SEVEN YEARS to get its act together.

Congress keeps pouring billions into more agents, more tech, and more wall. But that won't do anything to stop scenes like this. We need a better system.
These are images of children held in filthy Border Patrol cells in 2014, packed in like sardines. They were leaked to Breitbart by Border Patrol officers to make a splash against the Obama administration.

This is the first time that "hieleras" at the border made national news. Image
These are images of people packed into Border Patrol cells in 2015, revealed as part of a lawsuit @immcouncil and other organizations brought against the Tucson Sector Border Patrol.

At the time, no one even got mats. They slept on the concrete floor. Image
Read 6 tweets
26 Mar
This article from is @saletan has a LOT of problems, and I'd strongly recommend he read the @AP memo from yesterday.

One of the biggest issues, aside from the repeated use of dehumanizing "deluge" language.? No mention of asylum—which is legal—at all!…
Sadly, there's not really much daylight between this article and what Stephen Miller and the Trump administration argued on a daily basis. About the only difference is some professed moral qualms about a belief that cruelty is the answer.

We have years of evidence that it isn't. Image
You hear this "well we can't let them all in" argument all the time, and it's so frustrating, because

1) Asylum IS legal immigration
2) Obviously not everyone is going to migrate
3) We've tried cruelty, and it does. not. work. long. term.
4) Actually we'll be totally fine.
Read 4 tweets
25 Mar
I want to make it crystal clear that I've been acknowledging the unprecedented levels of unaccompanied kids, and arguing that the real challenge is how we handle those numbers safely and humanely.

The problem is conflating 12,000 unaccompanied kids with 100,000 encounters.
"Chart-makers" like myself also want people to acknowledge the facts about what's happening, and to ensure that lazy reporting doesn't throw blame around and incorrectly put the burden for the increase on specific things, or falsely conflate perception with reality.
The biggest critique of the Post article isn't that it got the trends wrong, it's that it ignored when the overall trend began, ignored the complicated policy reality on the ground, and acted as if the perception of Biden doing something was the same thing as him doing it.
Read 6 tweets
25 Mar
In 2018, when I helped screen separated parents, I talked to a man locked in an ICE jail who literally wept as he described being unable to put a shirt on his son's back and only eating once a day. He *begged* for a chance just to live here for a few years. I'll never forget him.
There's nothing like watching a grown man on the other side of a plexiglass wall in a remote ICE jail break down and sob and plead with you as if you alone can save him, to really drive home the point of how desperate many people migrating to our borders are.
He told me that he felt like an utter failure as a father because in Guatemala he had no land, no money, no work, and no hope. So when he heard in 2018 that families were being allowed in, he sold everything he had and came to the border. And then his son was taken from him.
Read 4 tweets
22 Mar
"In conclusion, may I please remind you that it does not say R.S.V.P. on the Statue of Liberty" may still be the single-best movie line ever to emphasize this exact point.

We've tried deterrence and cruelty for 40 years. How about we try openness and humanity for a little while?
Are we worse off because we accepted hundreds of thousands of Haitian/Cuban refugees? No.

Are we worse off because we accepted hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese/Cambodian refugees? No.

Will we be worse off if we accept hundreds of thousands of Central American refugees? NO!
Thomas Jefferson famously said that "The Tree of Liberty is refreshed with the blood of patriots" but to that sanguinary metaphor, I would add "The Tree of Liberty is refresh by the blood, sweat, and tears of immigrants."

We call this country a nation of immigrants for a reason.
Read 4 tweets
20 Mar
Strongly disagree with this entire piece as a factual matter. The border has been “surging” with single adults (who made up 72% of all apprehensions last month) since Title 42 in spring 2020, and family apprehensions remain <50% of 2019. The evidence for the thesis is missing!
Last month, 100,000 people were encountered at the border and 72,000 of them were single adults, almost all of whom were expelled. Single adult apprehensions have been spiking since spring 2020 and that FACT is literally *not mentioned once* in this piece. That actively misleads.
Also, where the heck does this number come from, tossed into the public like a bomb with no sourcing, not even "anonymous officials."?

To reach 2 million, we'd need to see an average 182,111 encounters a month for the next 10 months straight. That has *literally never happened.*
Read 4 tweets

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