President Joe Biden is promising that America will take 100,000 displaced Ukrainians. He’s pretending to be magnanimous. Truth is, it’s a pathetically small number — a mere 3% of the mostly women and children fleeing Russian bombs.
Poland, by comparison, is currently housing 2.2 million Ukrainians, and other European countries are stepping up, allowing hundreds of thousands to live and work within their borders. Meanwhile, the U.S. has done almost nothing. In January and February, the U.S. admitted 514 Ukrainian refugees, and in the first two weeks of March, Biden’s dysfunctional State Department took in seven.
Most Americans support welcoming Ukrainians, polls show. Is Biden kowtowing to his party’s left-wing extremists who claim that the outpouring of compassion for Ukrainians is because they’re white?
Washington Post columnist Rokhaya Diallo claims that white people see “war and misery” as the “normal state of Black and brown people.” H.A. Hellyer, also for the Washington Post, claims the eagerness to help Ukrainians reflects a Western “double standard” that “dehumanize(s) non-White populations.” That’s racist garbage.
Here are the facts: The U.S. refugee program gives overwhelming preference to nonwhites, allocating about 40% of refugee admissions to displaced Africans and only 10% to refugees from Europe and Central Asia combined.
Americans are rallying to help Ukrainians not because of their white skin but because of their courage and values. Ukrainians are fighting for democracy and resisting totalitarian domination with all the strength they can muster. Ordinary people are arming themselves, assembling homemade bombs and confronting Russian tanks. The free world is cheering them on, but the valor seems lost on Biden.
On Saturday, he commented to the president of Poland, Andrzej Duda, that Americans understand the burden on Poland because “we have on our southern border thousands of people a day — literally, not figuratively — trying to get into the United States.”
Does Biden actually believe the lawlessness at America’s southern border is equivalent to Ukraine’s situation? Illegal migration across that border is continuous and opportunistic, surging now because of Biden’s tacit nonenforcement. That surge has brought with it families eager for a better life in the U.S. but also MS-13 gang violence and an epidemic of fentanyl-laced drug deaths. The vast majority of southern border crossers are men, not women and children fleeing a war while their husbands and fathers stay behind to fight.
Americans are polarized about how to handle illegal immigration — a difficult issue. But they are eager to welcome Ukrainian war victims, according to Gallup and Pew Research.
New Yorkers are especially eager. New York City and Syracuse boast large Ukrainian populations.
Until last week, Biden had slammed the door on Ukrainians. The European Union welcomed them, offering visa-free entry to stay for a year. Canada is fast-tracking visas. But U.S. consulates across Europe told Ukrainians not to even apply for tourist visas, and Biden administration spokespersons suggested Ukrainians were better off staying in Europe.
It typically takes years for a refugee to be screened and approved to come to the U.S. But some 70,000 Afghans have been allowed into the U.S. since the Taliban takeover under “humanitarian parole,” something the president can do. Members of Congress have been pressing Biden to take that approach again. Reuters reports that the administration is considering it.
Some Ukrainians have flown to Mexico and then made their way to the southern border. As of last week, the Department of Homeland Security instructed Customs and Border Patrol agents to admit them and stamp their passports with a one-year humanitarian parole.
Predictably, immigration advocates protested this preferential treatment as biased.
Wrong. At this moment in history, Ukrainians have earned a wide-open door.
It’s tragic they have to fly to Mexico and walk into the U.S., navigating the border chaos, rather than being offered a sensible, direct path to safety.
What’s your plan, Mr. President?
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of “The Next Pandemic,” available at Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.