Voters are, to understate their mood, disenchanted with Congress. Yet paradoxically, voters re-elect, over and over, the same representatives they hold in dismally low esteem, consider ineffectual and out-of-touch.
On average for 2022, about 80 percent of polling respondents disapproved of how congressional representatives handled their jobs. Many critics had previously claimed that underrepresentation of women and diverse legislators was a key reason that Congress was so incompetent. But the 117th Congress was the most racially and gender diverse in history. In 2022, 142 women were in the U.S. House of Representatives, a record high.
Despite these House gains, voters maintained their same opinion of Congress – a bungling, self-important body that does little right.
In November, when the moment-of-truth mid-term election was held, 73 percent of voters disapproved of incumbents’ job performance. But the vote count told a different tale. Despite their 73 percent disapproval rate, congressional incumbents had a 98 percent win rate. Forty-one states had a 100 percent win rate in congressional races.
The takeaway: talk is cheap, but the votes tell the true story. Overwhelmingly, the majority wants to maintain the status quo.
The status quo translates into continuing high inflation, which in 2022 averaged 8.4 percent per month. Status quo also means national debt mounting from its current $31 trillion and funding the Ukraine war, which, with Biden’s signature on a $1.9 trillion omnibus spending bill, will put the U.S. investment in the faraway conflict at $100 billion.
As entrenched as those costs are, Biden’s open border is another unsustainable drain on taxpayers’ pocketbooks. To provide public education, Medicaid and other affirmative benefits to the 1.35 million illegal immigrants that have become part of the general population since Biden took office will cost taxpayers an estimated $100 billion over the aliens’ lifetimes. Many recent arrivals have limited education and English language skills, so jobs they may end up accepting likely will pay little.
Regardless of which candidate voters supported in the 2020 presidential election, only a tiny percentage would have cast their ballots in favor of adopting the current border policy. For the first quarter of fiscal year 2023, Customs and Border Protection reported that it had released 430,677 aliens into the interior, witnessed 240,340 migrants the agency calls “gotaways” and expelled 186,340 illegal immigrants. Agents caution that their official numbers may be low because many more aliens may have escaped without CBP’s knowledge. Nine out of 10 agents, a whistleblower reported, are away from the line.
The southwest border chaos also represents a dangerous criminal threat to innocent citizens. Too many migrants have either criminal or terrorist histories. Retiring Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott told his agents that known or suspected terrorists, as identified in the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database, are entering in huge numbers, representing “a real threat.”
CBP, which operates at ports of entry and along the border between entry ports, reported that during fiscal year 2022, they encountered more than 25,000 convicted criminals. When the numbers that pour across the border total millions, ill-intended people will be among them.
The argument against the border “management” of Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas shouldn’t be construed as anti-immigrant. Rather, the disagreement reflects reasonable questioning about the wisdom of open borders and a sincere concern that citizens are funding the administration’s immigration follies that only it approves of.
The border crisis is a direct result of the Biden’s administration’s willingness to allow anyone from anywhere to enter the U.S., even though the electorate is strongly opposed to such recklessness. The nation wants a responsible, sensible immigration policy, a prudent but, to date, elusive goal.
Copyright 2023 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected]