The Morning Jolt

Immigration

We’re Nearing a Serious Immigration Crisis

Migrants from Central America walk across the Paso del Norte international border bridge to continue their asylum request in the U.S., in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, February 26, 2021. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

Earlier this week, I noted that 40 days of a Biden presidency had taught us that the new administration wasn’t as centrist as advertised, but that it was offset by the new president and his team being less competent than advertised. As the first week of March ends, Democrats at all levels are learning that governing is harder and more complicated than campaigning. Biden is stumbling into another major crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing our southern border, Andrew Cuomo covered up nursing-home deaths while writing a book about how well he was managing the pandemic, and some of those allegedly “Neanderthal” pandemic decisions by Texas and Mississippi are cropping up in deep blue Connecticut.

ICE: We Expect Border Crossing by Unaccompanied Minors to Be the Highest in 20 Years

Who could have possibly foreseen that electing a Democratic president who promised to repeal and undo Trump’s immigration policies would lead to a rush of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the southern border?

U.S. Border Patrol agents caught more than 4,500 migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on Wednesday, according to government figures shared with Reuters, a big single-day tally that comes amid growing fears that illegal entries could soar in the coming weeks.

The figure is comparable to the daily average of arrests in May 2019, the peak of a major border surge that former President Donald Trump used to justify his broad immigration crackdown. In January 2021, Border Patrol caught about 2,400 migrants a day at the southwest border.

“We are weeks, maybe even days, away from a crisis on the southern border,” Representative Henry Cuellar, a Democrat whose Texas district abuts Mexico, said in a statement on Thursday. “Our country is currently unprepared to handle a surge in migrants in the middle of the pandemic.”

Are migrants more likely to be infected with and carrying SARS-CoV-2 than those living in America? Quite a few migrants get stuck in close quarters during their journey northward. We know some asylum seekers do test positive and are urged to quarantine and socially distance, but then they’re released and free to travel as they please.

Wait, though, there’s more: ICE says this year’s surge is going to make the ones in the Obama years look small by comparison, and your tax dollars will be used to put migrant families in hotels.

Russell Hott, a senior official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, notified staff of the rapid-processing plan in an email Thursday that said arrivals by unaccompanied minors and families this year “are expected to be the highest numbers observed in over 20 years.”

If U.S. border officials continue to take in more than 500 family members per day, the change in use to the family detention centers “may not be sufficient to keep pace with apprehensions,” Hott warned in his email, which was reviewed by The Post.

Individuals who cannot be housed in one of the rapid-processing centers may need to be placed in hotels, Hott wrote. MVM, an ICE contractor, will help transport the families to hotels if there is no longer capacity at the rapid-processing centers, he said, adding that the company plans to use hotels in McAllen, Tex., El Paso and Phoenix.

Some might have believed that the departure of Donald Trump from elected office, and the emergence of other issues such as the pandemic, would make the issues of illegal immigration and border security fade into the background. But situations such as the one developing in our border states make that scenario particularly unlikely.

Andrew Cuomo Tried to Hide 15,000 COVID Deaths in Nursing Homes

Remember how during the Trump years, whenever the president would do something scandalous or outrageous or controversial, Democrats would say, “Can you imagine how Republicans would react if Obama had done this?” About four times out of five, it was a fair complaint. That fifth time, though, Obama had done something similar — put border-crossing kids in cages, tried to make nice with Vladimir Putin, skipped briefings, played golf a lot, etc. — and the speaker had just forgotten about it.

It’s time to start using the phrase, “Can you imagine how Democrats would react if Trump had done this?” or “Remember when Trump did this?” Because Trump did argue that the death toll from coronavirus was overstated, and he did dispute official government statistics that there was no reasonable reason to dispute.

By comparison, Andrew Cuomo and his team merely altered official government statistics on the coronavirus-death toll to hide deaths:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top advisers successfully pushed state health officials to strip a public report of data showing that more nursing-home residents had died of Covid-19 than the administration had acknowledged, according to people with knowledge of the report’s production.

The July report, which examined the factors that led to the spread of the virus in nursing homes, focused only on residents who died inside long-term-care facilities, leaving out those who had died in hospitals after becoming sick in nursing homes. As a result, the report said 6,432 nursing-home residents had died—a significant undercount of the death toll attributed to the state’s most vulnerable population, the people said. The initial version of the report said nearly 10,000 nursing-home residents had died in New York by July last year, one of the people said.

The changes Mr. Cuomo’s aides and health officials made to the nursing-home report, which haven’t been previously disclosed, reveal that the state possessed a fuller accounting of out-of-facility nursing-home deaths as early as the summer. The Health Department resisted calls by state and federal lawmakers, media outlets and others to release the data for another eight months.

State officials now say more than 15,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities were confirmed or presumed to have died from Covid-19 since March of last year—counting both those who died in long-term-care facilities and those who died later in hospitals. That figure is about 50 percent higher than earlier official death tolls.

Then there’s this detail:

The extraordinary intervention, which came just as Mr. Cuomo was starting to write a book on his pandemic achievements, was the earliest act yet known in what critics have called a months-long effort by the governor and his aides to obscure the full scope of nursing home deaths.

Cuomo had invented his own storyline, featuring himself as the heroic governor, and the team running CNN’s prime-time programming was only too happy to cooperate. He and his team couldn’t let the world know just how damaging his decisions on nursing homes had been; his book would be a laughingstock, and he would be seen as delusional.

Cuomo’s American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic, debuted at number seven on the New York Times combined print and e-book nonfiction-bestseller list. (Then again, Cuomo’s book probably should have been measured against other works of fiction, shouldn’t it?)

One other detail of how book publishing, even for a book that generates zero public interest, can be wildly lucrative for certain politicians: “As of Oct. 9 of this year, “All Things Possible” [published in 2014] had sold a total of 3,800 copies total, according to NPD BookScan. Cuomo’s tax records showed he was paid an advance of $783,000 by publisher Harper Collins for that book, which worked out to about $206 per book sold.”

Is Opening Up Everything but Keeping Mask Mandates Not ‘Neanderthal Thinking’?

Hey, remember when President Biden contended Texas and Mississippi were acting like “Neanderthals” for relaxing restrictions and rescinding mask mandates . . . Wednesday?

Does it all just come down to masks? Because the deep-blue state of Connecticut just made almost all of the same changes but kept the state’s mask mandate in place.

Yesterday, Connecticut governor Ned Lamont went almost as far as Texas did — declaring that starting March 19, the state will have no more capacity restrictions for restaurants, retail stores, libraries, gyms and fitness centers, museums and aquariums, offices and workplaces, and houses of worship. Connecticut residents and visitors can now gather in groups of up to 25 indoors, 100 outdoors at private residences, and 100 indoors and 200 outdoors at commercial venues. Starting March 29, preschool classes can have 20 people, up from the current 16. Less than a month from now, Connecticut outdoor amusement parks can open, outdoor event venues can increase to 50 percent capacity, capped at 10,000 people, and indoor stadiums can open at 10 percent capacity.

Will any Democratic officials denounce Connecticut as reckless? Connecticut’s number of active cases declined from 183,000 to 170,000; Texas — a much a bigger and more populous state — saw its active cases decline from 410,000 to 171,000. Where Connecticut can really brag is that their daily test-positivity rate is down to 1.8 percent; Texas’ molecular tests are at 8.29 percent, and the Antigen tests are at 2.67 percent — but both of those rates are down significantly from the beginning of the year.

ADDENDUM: Allahpundit is right: “Of course [people are] going to chance it and reward themselves for their decision to get immunized by enjoying certain activities again. If you tell them that the only activity they can conscientiously engage in is small social gatherings with other immunized people — which is what, it seems, the CDC is poised to do — then you’re begging them to ignore you.”

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