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Editorial roundup: On Biden at the U.N., and the Haitian surge at the border

Editorial roundup: On Biden at the U.N., and the Haitian surge at the border


Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad:

The Wall Street Journal on Biden, the U.N. and Afghan women, published Tuesday:President Biden’s first speech as Commander in Chief to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday was full of the high-minded internationalist sentiment that defines his rhetoric. If only those words reflected the reality of the world he and America will have to navigate over the next four years.

“We’ve ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan,” Mr. Biden averred. “And as we close this period of relentless war, we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy; of using the power of our development aid to invest in new ways of lifting people around the world, of renewing and defending democracy.”

Mr. Biden told the assembled leaders what they wanted to hear: America will lash itself to the idealistic offices of the U.N., to the World Health Organization, to the Human Rights Council, and even to a New Global Health Threat Council. Aren’t pandemic threats the WHO’s job? Well, you can never have too many international bureaucracies.

Nowhere was Mr. Biden’s rhetoric more divorced from reality than on women and Afghanistan. In his speech he highlighted “the expectations to which we will hold the Taliban when it comes to respecting universal human rights. We all must advocate for women — the rights of women and girls to use their full talents to contribute economically, politically, and socially.”

Meanwhile in Kabul, the Associated Press reports: “The Taliban expanded their interim Cabinet by naming more ministers and deputies on Tuesday, but failed to appoint any women, doubling down on a hard-line course.”

On Sept. 8, Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that “despite professing that a new government would be inclusive,” the Taliban’s list “consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates, and no women.”

This weekend the Taliban announced that girls would not be allowed to return to school. All signs so far in Kabul are that the Islamist group is reverting to the same medieval approach to girls and women it enforced the last time it controlled the country.

Perhaps the Administration thinks its well-meaning gender appeals can’t hurt. But the dissonance between the Administration’s words and its actions in abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban discredits its liberal humanitarian project. No single act by an American President has done more harm to more women than Mr. Biden’s willy-nilly withdrawal from Afghanistan. Noble but feckless exhortations at Turtle Bay can’t make up for that reality.

The Dallas Morning News on Biden’s response to Haitian border surge, published Wednesday:The scenes from the border are dire and heart-rending. More than 14,000 migrants, most of them Haitians, crowded under and near a bridge in a makeshift camp. Women gave birth among the squalor. Men and children waded through the Rio Grande to Mexico for food, clean water and diapers.

The wave of migrants, many fleeing poverty and political instability, overwhelmed authorities in the small community of Del Rio. Given the untenable situation and the realities of the pandemic, the Biden administration is right to use its authority to return migrants on charter flights.

The Department of Homeland Security said this weekend that it is working with “source and transit countries” to accept people who previously lived in those countries. It appears that many of the migrants who arrived in Del Rio had left homes in Brazil and Chile, where tens of thousands of Haitians resettled after a catastrophic earthquake in 2010.

It’s unclear how many Haitians at the U.S. border came from South America, but analysts tracking migration patterns point to data from the Panamanian government, which reported that more than 20,000 Haitians crossed its southern border this year, along with 4,365 Chilean and Brazilian children born to Haitian parents. Records show those numbers jumped dramatically in June and July. Misinformation and economic insecurity seem to be driving the surge.

Life for Haitians in Latin America has grown difficult. Some were given legal status by their host countries, making them ineligible for asylum here. Others settled illegally in Brazil, Chile and Central America or overstayed visas. Promising starts in Brazil and Chile soured when jobs dried up in Brazil and when Chile hardened its stance on immigrants. Meanwhile, Haiti’s instability has only deepened.

It’s undeniable that many Haitians face desperate circumstances, but economic insecurity is not grounds for asylum under U.S. law. Some migrants are also escaping racism, crime and gang violence, perhaps offering a stronger claim.

The Biden administration must demand that Brazil and Chile accept migrants who had resettled in those countries. It’s neither compassionate nor useful to return Haitians to a homeland they haven’t seen in years. The federal government must also look for regional solutions by pressuring governments along the migrant journey to control their own borders.

A lenient admissions policy at our border will prompt more migrants to make the dangerous journey north with their families. It’s easy for President Joe Biden’s critics on the right and left to denounce him when they are not the ones having to balance compassionate treatment of those coming here for relief with the need to manage the border and enforce laws.

We support a proposal by the Biden administration to shift the decision-making on some asylum claims from immigration judges to specially trained asylum officers, which would speed up the process for applicants. And we reiterate our calls to lawmakers to create more legal pathways for people who want to find work in the U.S. This would fill gaps in our labor market and give more families a chance at a better life.

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