Joe Biden is building Trump’s border wall. In a response to criticism, Biden claimed that border walls don’t work, but that the money was already appropriated for the wall and there was nothing he could do to stop it. This is a lie.
It’s a lie because the Biden administration used executive power to move forward with the wall’s construction. The Department of Homeland Security has overridden 26 environmental protection laws so that they can build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. One of the most egregious, defining evils of the Trump years is continuing under Biden.
Some of the laws Biden is overriding show quite explicitly what environmental protections and human rights the administration is willing to sacrifice for this project. They include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Drinking Water Act, and the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. “Clean Air,” “Clean Drinking Water,” “Religious Freedom,” to name just a few of the protections Biden is overriding so he can continue building Trump’s border wall.
Biden is also resuming direct deportation flights for Venezuelans arriving at the border, all while continuing the sanctions Trump placed on Venezuela as part of a regime change effort. This aggression towards Venezuela received bipartisan support, even from supposedly progressive Democrats like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. It is no wonder then that Biden has continued aggressive policies towards Venezuela, including sanctions which only deepen the economic misery of the Venezuelan working class. It is bad enough that Biden has continued to fuel the economic crisis in Venezuela with these targeted imperialist policies — now he’s also forcing Venezuelans to return to the country where they’re subjugated by the Maduro regime and devastating U.S. sanctions. All while he continues building Trump’s border wall.
Really, this shouldn’t be a surprise. From putting kids in cages and separating families, to maintaining and even expanding a ban on the right to asylum, Biden has consistently agreed with Trump’s immigration policies. He has bragged on social media that he supports more funding for Border Patrol than what MAGA Republicans ask for, and the deadliest year for U.S.-Mexico border crossings happened last year under his administration.
Biden’s decision is in part a direct response to pressure from members of the Far Right who regularly lie to their base, claiming that Biden has lax border policies. Going into the election, these reactionary sectors have upped the ante, shrieking non-stop about a supposed invasion at the border and manufacturing consent for a new War on Drugs. The right wing of the Democratic Party, represented in figures like Eric Adams, have contributed to this scare campaign. Every leading GOP presidential candidate has said that they are willing to send U.S. forces into Mexico to fight cartels. A growing chorus of Far-Right ghouls, from Marjorie Taylor Green to Dan Crenshaw, call for drone strikes on Mexico. The result of these Republicans foaming at the mouth over a supposed invasion of fentanyl traffickers is that Biden is made to look weak on the border, even as he continues every single Trump-era policy.
Fighting over border security has also become a central policy issue within Congress which is undergoing a historic crisis, and bipartisan militarization of the border is quickly becoming one of the few issues that Democrats can “compromise” with the Republicans on in order to avoid greater tension and polarization. So, Biden will gladly build Trump’s border wall if it allows him to project stability and get some sectors of the Republican Party in line.
Even as Biden compromises with Republicans, it is clear that he has no intention to similarly respond to the pressure of environmental groups like the Sunrise Movement, which spent considerable amounts of their abundant resources getting out the vote for him in 2020. He also has no intention to be kinder to immigrants even if they vote and campaign for Democrats. Like Trump, Biden is a capitalist, intent on serving capitalist interests. In this case, he’s serving capitalism’s extreme and violent regulation of migration.
But the fact is, mass migration isn’t going away. Refugee crises aren’t going away. In fact, this level of migration will only become more common as the climate crisis and economic and geopolitical instability displaces more and more people. The immigrant rights movement and climate movement are grappling with how to address these crises. The fact is, they can be addressed, just not by relying on capitalist leaders and capitalist institutions. These crises are made and exacerbated by capitalism, but the United States has the resources to mitigate the harm of the climate crisis and accommodate migrants displaced by it.
To ensure that these resources are actually used in the interests of the planet and its most vulnerable communities, we need working-class leadership and a socialist system. We need organizations that don’t get out the vote for Democrats or spend their energy trying to push a capitalist party to the left. Instead, we need the type of organization that represents the working class and fights for the type of socialist system which could actually prioritize basic migrant rights and environmental sustainability. And we need to start building this now. Because we’re going into yet another presidential election where Democrats will position themselves as the more rational, more humane party and expect social movements to legitimize those lies, all while Biden continues building Trump’s border wall.