As record numbers of migrants continue to cross the southern U.S. border, the Biden administration is taking a page out of the Trump playbook to get a handle on the situation. The White House recently announced new agreements with Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras for those nations to surge troops and resources to their borders, to stop migrants before they reach the U.S. President Trump had similar agreements in place, and they proved largely successful until President Biden undid them days after taking office.
The move to enlist help from south of the border may be a tacit admission by Team Biden that at least one Trump policy was effective and worth keeping. But this Biden version of the plan is already raising doubts. "The reason that the national guard deployment in Mexico under the Trump administration worked so well, was that it was done in conjunction with these other policies of Trump's," says Todd Bensman, senior fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Those other Trump policies included remain in Mexico---which required asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while awaiting their hearing---along with increased deportations and stronger standards for claiming asylum. "The Biden administration got rid of those policies, and put in new policies that are incentivizing migrants to push through, and that's what is happening," says Bensman, who has visited the border several times and spoke with migrants about how they got here. "They're just flowing right under, over, through, in between (the troops), some of them are flying to Mexico City to avoid the national guard."
"So it's really sort of pointless, in my view, to have these big agreements without the Trump policies that made them work," continues Bensman.
Aside from the doubt about whether these agreements will work is the doubt about whether they even exist. Guatemala's president already pushed back on the Biden announcement, claiming "there is no document signed" with the U.S. related to border security.
Regardless, Bensman tells KTRH he doesn't believe the plan will work. "No, and I'm getting that from the migrants who've defeated it," he says.