Former President Donald Trump appeared via telephone on Monday for an interview with Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner, in which the two attempted to pin blame on President Joe Biden for undocumented immigrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, through an alleged abandonment of key Trump policies.
The problem is that those Trump policies are part of the reason why there have been so many people at the border who are attempting to cross over and over again.
During various parts of Trump’s rambling interview, Faulkner sought to focus on one element of his border policies known as Title 42, which she claimed he had “created” to “stem the tide” of COVID-19.
Trump had invoked this public health law last March in order to simply expel migrants caught at the border — with no legal processing or a chance to apply for asylum — in the name of preventing the spread of the coronavirus. However, Reuters documented back in November that these policies had resulted in “unintended effects,” creating new business opportunities for human smugglers:
That is because U.S. authorities are depositing the migrants on the border, rather than returning them home, which allows smugglers to eliminate some of the costs of repeat border crossings, said three smugglers working with transnational networks. The price migrants pay smugglers, which can be $7,000, or double that, often includes two or three attempted border crossings to offset the risks of being intercepted by Mexican or U.S. authorities, according to the three smugglers, as well as migration experts.
Not all migrants travel with smugglers, but even those braving the dangerous journey alone or in small groups often turn to coyotes at the border for the final stretch of the journey. Since they too are now being returned at the Mexican border when caught they now often pay for a second or third try, in another boon for the smuggling networks, said migrant experts and a guide tied to a smuggling network in the Sonora region.
During Trump’s interview with Faulkner, the show also displayed an on-screen graphic, “Biden reverses Trump-era immigration policies,” in which scrolling text displayed a number of examples that included “Halted part of Title 42 — allows minors to stay in the U.S.” as well as “Ended the ‘Remain in Mexico’ provision.”
But the Biden administration has only drawn back the Title 42 policy slightly, in cases of unaccompanied minors and some families with young children. The policy has otherwise largely been kept intact, while an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who first sued the Trump administration over this issue calls it “flatly illegal” and declares, “There is zero daylight between the Biden administration and Trump administration’s position.”
Speaking on Fox, the former president lied that the Biden administration is “applying nothing. They’re not doing Title 42 or any title.”
In its recent immigration coverage, Fox News has also engaged in a familiar nativist trope of suggesting immigrants are supposedly bringing in diseases, this time latching onto the COVID-19 pandemic. This claim may seem a tad ironic — considering the networks’ own record of constantly undermining public health measures in the pandemic — but also because, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the rate of positive tests for migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border has been lower than the overall positivity rate in Texas.