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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been a thorn in the side of Democrats and the Biden Administration for some time now; in his latest salvo, an op-ed published Friday in Newsweek, he tears into the Biden Administration’s border policies.
Clearly, the migrant crisis resulting from the Biden administration’s refusal to secure our southern border has created impossible burdens for municipalities across the country. The idea of sanctuary cities was to protect immigrants from ICE raids. But no city can manage endless floods of migrants pouring through an open border.
The New York Post recently reported that upwards of 150,000 migrants got notices to appear before immigration judges in July, more than three times the number the Biden administration admits to under its “special parole program” for asylum seekers (a program Congress never authorized in the first place). The Post called the policy a “charade,” and that is precisely correct: 150,000 illegal migrants a month (1.8 million a year) is a rate that no country can sustain.
I’m actually in favor of immigration—legal immigration. High fences, wide gates. Politicians in the past have appealed to xenophobia and bigotry in calling for a tough border policy. My call for a tough border comes from a different place. It comes from compassion and humanitarian conscience.
Mr. Kennedy is beginning to sound like a Republican — on this issue. And he is reportedly flirting with the idea of a Libertarian Party run, according to a NY Times analysis piece:
If Mr. Kennedy does decide to leave the party of his famous father and uncles to run in the general election, one potential landing spot may be the Libertarian Party, which at the moment lacks a widely known candidate but has excelled at securing ballot access.
In July, Mr. Kennedy met privately with Angela McArdle, the chair of the Libertarian Party, at a conference they were both attending in Memphis — a meeting that has not previously been reported.
Libertarian candidates have generally been seen to draw more votes from Republicans than Democrats, as there is a strong, small-L libertarian wing of the GOP — myself among them. But RFK Jr. is, for the most part, a 1980s-1990s Democrat, which may well change that calculus. We’ve mentioned before the possibility of Mr. Kennedy making a third-party run, a move that would probably be viewed with great pleasure by national Republicans, especially if he decides to run with, say, the Green Party as opposed to the Libertarians.
Just to add another complication, we’ve seen that Mr. Kennedy has some appeal among independent voters, who are often the voters who decide close elections.
Republicans will likely take issue with many of Mr. Kennedy’s policy positions, especially as we get into the campaign season and he starts laying out more of his ideas. If RFK Jr. does make a third-party run, that is liable to help Republicans. But on the border, he’s spot-on. His opinion piece continues:
As president, I will secure the border to get the cartels out of the human trafficking business. Second, I will work with other countries to stem the tide of migrants. Finally, I will build wide doors for those who wish to enter legally, so that the U.S. can remain a beacon of freedom and diversity. This includes funding the administrative infrastructure for lawful, orderly immigration to this country.
It’s a good statement. It’s a statement that will appeal to a lot of voters, from El Paso to New York; it will absolutely be one of the largest issues in the 2024 Presidential campaign.
Here’s the problem; it will likely take more than securing the border to tamp down the drug cartels. There’s just too much money in it, and too many ways to evade even the stricter border control. Mexico’s drug- and human-trafficking cartels present a whole different problem, and it’s one that the United States will have to lean hard on Mexican authorities over to help with; the only way the U.S. could do this on our own is with a Blackjack Pershing-style punitive expedition, which is probably not in the cards.
The longest journey begins with a single step. What Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is proposing is a good first step, but he is paraphrasing the same thing every Republican candidate has been saying for some time, and it will take more than that to propel him into the White House. We should, however, look forward to his continuing to be an annoyance to the eventual 2024 Democrat candidate, whoever that may turn out to be.