Xenophobia Created the Border Crisis, Not Biden

Let’s set the record straight about what’s happening on our southern border

karl marx junior


Credits: Alejandro Cartagena from Unsplash

One of the most beloved politicians in modern history once said:

“I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though some time back they may have entered illegally.”

If you thought this quote was from Barack Obama, then you’d be shocked to learn it was none other than Ronald Reagan.

Despite the 40th president’s far-right agenda, most people are surprised to learn that Reagan granted amnesty to nearly three million undocumented immigrants.

In 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was a bipartisanship effort which might be the last of its kind. The legislation granted 2.7 million green cards (to those who had been living in the country since at least 1982), created stricter hiring provisions in order to deter companies from employing undocumented immigrants, and allocated more federal dollars to secure the southern border.

Prior to the IRCA, nearly half of undocumented immigrants, who came to the United States, returned home within a year — many of them simply looking for temporary work. Four decades later, that number is practically zero. In other words, if you successfully make it into America (alive and not arrested), the chances of possible detainment aren’t worth it to try to return home.

According to Doug Massey, a preeminent immigration scholar and professor at the Princeton, the number of undocumented immigrants exploded in the past four decades not because our border patrol isn’t thorough enough, it is the other way around. Massey has long argued that the continued militarization of our southern border has led to even more undocumented immigrants, and our current border control policies, which are largely bipartisan at this point, are not mollifying the issue, they’re actually making it worse.

There is a long history of Mexican emigrants working in the United States on temporary work visas, dating back to the early 20th century. Since there were so many legal ways to enter the US, the number of people apprehended at the border was much lower than it is today, and most emigrants…