21:49 GMT17 April 2021
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    Earlier this week, some in the media suggested that US President Joe Biden might restart the construction of the so-called 'Trump Wall,' a barrier that was promised to prevent illegal migration from Mexico. As tensions at the US-Mexico border intensify, making it hard to deny a crisis, we spoke to a political consultant on recent developments.

    Billy Grant, a political consultant based in Minnesota, spoke to Sputnik about the current border crisis. He offered his thoughts on why the current administration refuses to call the situation a "crisis” and expressed his position on how a possible decision to continue construction of the border wall could affect Biden's standing. He also shared his thoughts on the future development of the situation on the southern US border.

    Sputnik: According to The Washington Times, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told colleagues that some construction may be resumed along the border wall to plug some "gaps." Meanwhile, the White House still refuses to acknowledge a "border crisis.” Could a change in US immigration policies happen, and how might it correlate with Biden's election promises?

    Billy Grant: Well, I think what you're seeing is a serious gap between the political department of the Biden White House, which wants to have nearly unlimited illegal immigration coming into the country. And then the border security experts are saying, "OK, hang on, we need to do something about this." This is a huge crisis. So I got some numbers for you. So, right now we are seeing the largest number of people coming across the border [and] getting detained in history. There's also 3,500 kids being held in these facilities. Again, they criticize Trump all the time, so the idea that they're now shifting their policy to say, "OK, we have to do something about this" is telling. It’s also telling that the actual security experts, not the political people, realize there’s a serious crisis and something needs to be done about it. 

    Sputnik: Biden campaigned in part on the promise of repealing Trump’s so called "zero tolerance" policies. One of his first executive orders on his first day in the White House was to freeze the Department of Defense’s funding for border wall construction. How, in your view, would Biden's electorate react if construction of the border wall was restarted ?

    Billy Grant: That's a great question, because the people who voted for Biden are going to be upset with any further action to actually finish the border wall and enforce border security. So they're going to be very upset about that. So he's got this problem where he's got people on the left that are going to say: "OK, hang on, you campaigned on and being super progressive on this issue that you were going to be welcoming to people who are coming here illegally,” and then you have the rest of America, which is pretty common sense, which says: "OK, we don't want, thousands of thousands of people coming across our border illegally. And people want to feel that a problem is being solved. And actually, the numbers are starting to move on this topic now that this is actually getting some media attention. So, people are holding the Biden administration accountable for this. And if this keeps going, they're going to have a serious problem there.

    Asylum-seeking migrants' families queue to board a bus as they wait to be transported by the U.S. Border Patrols after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in Penitas, Texas, U.S., March 26, 2021.
    © REUTERS / GO NAKAMURA
    Asylum-seeking migrants' families queue to board a bus as they wait to be transported by the U.S. Border Patrols after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in Penitas, Texas, U.S., March 26, 2021.

    Sputnik: Do you expect construction of the wall, if restarted, to undermine Biden's positions in Democratic establishment? 

    Billy Grant: Absolutely. I think there's no question that it would undermine his position because it's so different from what he campaigned on. And like I said, there's this growing divide now between the political people who want unlimited illegal immigration, they want to allow people to come across the border. And then the actual security experts who are working in the Biden administration who say "OK, hang on a second, we have to do something to solve this, because this is a serious national security threat and we just can't allow that." So there's a divide between the people who are actually the experts in defense and national security and the political people who think it's good for them to allow unlimited illegal immigration. 

    Sputnik: Biden released a video thanking newly-naturalised citizens. Meanwhile, a new poll released by the Associated Press and the Centre for Public Affairs Research found that 40 percent of Americans participating in the poll disapprove of his handling of the situation at the southern US border. Could a controversy create a further split in American society? 

    Billy Grant: I think it does. I think that split already exists. I think this could just widen it. We just went through a global pandemic. Thankfully, that's coming to an end. But our economy is still recovering. And the people that get hurt the most by thousands of illegal immigrants coming here are the middle class, specifically African-American workers and Latino workers. So the idea that the Biden administration says they're so progressive, but they also want to hurt these people by allowing unlimited illegal immigration that actually hurts the middle class and largely African-American and Latino workers. I think that's going to heighten the divide, too. And that's where they're going to start losing people in their own party because these people are realising, OK, this doesn't benefit me if all these people are being allowed to skip to the front line, break the law and come here illegally, that they're not going to be on board with that. So I think they're going to risk losing more people on their own side. Most Americans do not want unlimited illegal immigration. I just think that position is way out of touch with mainstream society. 

    Sputnik: You mentioned possible damage to the economy. How would an uncontrolled influx of migrants affect US security and the economy, as well as the fight to control the pandemic in the United States? 

    Billy Grant: Well as it pertains to national security - they just found out that two people were on the FBI's top watched criminal list, came across the border and we apprehended it. This is actually a national security threat economically, as I said. I mean, this hurts the middle class most because it's driving down wages when illegal immigrants are coming in such large numbers. And that ends up hurting the people who are working middle-class jobs that rely on stable wages. And if the wages are being driven down, that hurts the middle class the most and it's competitive for jobs right now. The economy is getting back to where it was, but we're still not in a great spot. So the idea that we're going to let thousands of people come in and skip to the front of the line and then get ahead of American workers who have been here fighting for their job, fighting for their family, I just think that's a terrible policy because it really hurts the middle class the most. And I think people are going to realize that. 

    Sputnik: What is your forecast for the situation? How will this situation with the immigration surge play out? 

    Billy Grant: It's really hard to predict because the administration is literally refusing to say that it's a "crisis." So it's not like they're coming out and they're taking it seriously. They won't even say that it's a crisis. Now they say that Kamala Harris is handling it and nobody really knows what they're doing. I think things are going to continue getting worse for a while. But I think eventually, the experts and security are just going to take matters into their own hands because if Joe Biden is not going to lead the experts, they're going to take their jobs very seriously. So they're just going to do what they need to do to solve the problem. And I think they're good Americans who would take their job very seriously and they'll do what needs to get done to solve the crisis. 

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Tags:
    migration, illegal migration, US-Mexico border, Mexico, US
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