Yesterday — Wednesday — was one heck of a hump day! New government figures showed that the Biden administration is getting it wrong on the border, getting it wrong on the economy and job creation, and getting it wrong on inflation. And, Mr. President, this is NOT the “usual seasonal migration.”
We knew that this month’s immigration numbers would be high and represent a flashing red light. Last week we thought that the border crisis must have been solved. It certainly wasn’t and still isn’t solved: the media just stopped discussing it. In fact, the federal government’s official statistics undermine Biden’s argument that what Americans saw on the border was just a routine seasonal pattern.
I’m sorry, Mr. President, but that is a load of bull. It is not a regular seasonal pattern to break a two-decade-old record two months in a row. In April, U.S. Customs and Border Protection caught 178,622 individuals attempting to cross the U.S./Mexico border, one month after they had caught an eye-popping 173,348 individuals.
Over at the Center for Immigration Studies, Andrew Arthur wondered why it took until May 11 to release the numbers for April. No doubt it takes time to check and collate all of the data, and as of now, there’s no indication of any deliberate delay from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). But any time that new information that makes the administration look bad takes a while to get released, a bunch of folks will wonder if someone in the chain of command was dragging his or fiddling with the numbers!.
On April 30, when asked about March’s numbers, Biden insisted in an interview with NBC News, “Look, it’s way down now. We’ve now gotten control.” But the April numbers are not way down; they’re up a bit over the previous month’s record. At the time of that interview, did Biden genuinely believe that CBP encounters at the border had dramatically declined? No way! Biden’s usual denial of making a mistake and his habitual fuzziness with the facts make it very tough to tell when he’s lying, when he’s misinformed, and when he’s having any memory issues. It’s probably all of the above!
Biden told NBC News that he “inherited a Godawful mess” from Trump at the border. But in January, CBP had only 78,443 encounters at the southern border. The first big jump came in February when it rose to 101,120, and then it continued rising into March. What happened in late January?
These are cold, hard numbers that prove that Biden’s assessment of the situation in late March was completely wrong. Whether or not Biden wanted to tell Central America that the border is open, his first moves on immigration — halting construction of border fencing, new guidelines to ICE agents to sharply curb arrests and deportations, and an attempted moratorium, proposing a path to citizenship — all sent a signal to migrants and human traffickers that the door was wide open and everyone was welcome.
Many migrants said they had spent their life savings and gone into debt to pay coyotes — human smugglers — who had falsely promised them that the border was open after President Biden’s election.
There is only one way people in the poorest and most isolated communities in Central America will disbelieve the false promises of human smugglers and coyotes and understand that the border is not open. It requires the U.S. president to send a clear signal, loudly, frequently, and publicly, that U.S. immigration laws are still enforced and that those caught crossing the border illegally will be criminally charged and quickly deported.
Probably deep down, Biden and many other Democrats think those actions are inherently mean and unjust. This is why half the Democratic presidential field supported a repeal of the criminal statute for entering the country without permission. Additionally, almost all Democrats believe a government-run healthcare plan should cover illegal immigrants, and they’re iffy at best on the use of E-Verify.
Usually, a Record Number of Job Openings Would Be Good News
Tuesday of this week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the number of job openings across the country had reached 8.1 million, the highest that the agency had ever recorded.
But the Labor Department numbers show we’re already doing pretty well at creating jobs, or at least creating job openings. An economy in which there are a record number of job openings is not one that is sluggish or struggling or that desperately needs another round of stimulus spending. What it needs are the currently nonworking job applicants to walk through the door and go to work! Right now, in Massachusetts, the maximum weekly unemployment benefit amount is $855 per week. In a 40-hour workweek, that comes out to $21.37 per hour.
What About all these Unfilled Jobs?
The updated unfilled jobs numbers released Tuesday morning were bad. The updated immigration numbers released Tuesday evening were bad. Guess how the updated inflation numbers released Wednesday morning looked? Horrendous!
- The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 0.8 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.6 percent in March. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 4.2 percent before seasonal adjustment. This is the largest 12-month increase since a 4.9-percent increase for the period ending September 2008.
- The index for used cars and trucks rose 10.0 percent in April. This was the largest 1-month increase since the series began in 1953, and it accounted for over a third of the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The food index increased in April, rising 0.4 percent as the indexes for food at home and food away from home both increased. The energy index decreased slightly, as a decline in the index for gasoline in April more than offset increases in the indexes for electricity and natural gas.
- The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.9 percent in April, its largest monthly increase since April 1982. Nearly all major component indexes increased in April. Along with the index for used cars and trucks, the indexes for shelter, airline fares, recreation, motor vehicle insurance, and household furnishings and operations were among the indexes with a large impact on the overall increase.
- The all-items index rose 4.2 percent for the 12 months ending April, a larger increase than the 2.6- percent increase for the period ending March.