On the campaign trail, Democrat Joe Biden slammed President Donald Trump’s tough immigration policies as cruel and heartless.
But in a sign of some jitters, Biden acknowledged Tuesday that going full throttle on reversing Trump’s approach will create a “sudden” border crisis, the Washington Examiner‘s Byron York reported.
Biden’s comments followed reports that his team was privately apprehensive about moving too quickly on an open borders agenda. The Democrat said that his administration could be dealing with “two million people on our border” if they rapidly dismantle Trump’s policies.
“The timeline is to do it so that we, in fact, make it better, not worse,” he said, according to the Examiner. “The last thing we need is to say we’re going to stop immediately the access to asylum the way it’s being run now, and end up with two million people on our border.”
Biden’s comments may come as a surprise. “Kids in cages” has been a constant refrain of his party during Trump’s presidency, and Biden’s campaign promises led many to expect that he would go all the way on opening the border, as he pledged amnesty in his first 100 days, a pause on deportations, and an end to Trump’s strict asylum policies like “Remain in Mexico.”
Biden team tempers expectations
Amid concerns of a border surge, Biden and his advisers appear to recognize that simply throwing the gates open is not realistic, as they call on would-be migrants and left-wing ideologues to temper their expectations until there are “guardrails.”
“It will get done and it will get done quickly. But it’s not going to be able to be done on day one,” Biden said, noting it may take six months.
Biden adviser Susan Rice warned migrants this week not to imagine that the border will open up like a light switch. “Migrants and asylum-seekers should not at all believe the people in the region who are selling the idea that the border will suddenly be wide open to process everyone on the first day. It will not be so,” she said.
As Biden tamps down, some activists are getting upset, but they’re determined to keep the pressure on, NPR reported.
“We’re going to push them every step of the way so they don’t take their foot off the pedal,” said Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice.
York made the sobering observation that migrants are “going to act on….their own schedule, not Joe Biden’s” after Biden signaled weakness on border security. And Trump’s border chief speculates that an “overnight” crisis may already be underway, as immigration rates increase and migrants anticipate little resistance from a Biden presidency.
Indeed, this matter may already be out of Biden’s hands.