BAILEY: The Unsummit

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during the opening plenary session of the Summit of the Americas, June 9, 2022, in Los Angeles. This past week as Biden played host at the Summit of the Americas his decision to exclude leaders he considers dictators generated considerable drama and prompted a number of other world leaders to boycott the event. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Last week President Joe Biden convened the “Summit of the Americas” in Los Angeles in his latest feint to shift responsibility for the migrant crisis at our Southern Border. He promised the assemblage of leaders from across the Hemisphere “aggressive new leadership to confront economic despair and mass migration in Latin America…” 

We now know that President Biden’s leadership promise didn’t elicit much followership. Key countries boycotted the event; prime among them Mexico and the entire Central American Triangle — all leading sources of illegal migration across our Southern Border.  

Regional leaders openly criticized the summit. Understandably ― there is something unappealing about an invitation to an event where you will be reminded how poor and corrupt you are. 

More aptly, it was an “Unsummit.” The Biden administration barred Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from attendance due to conflict with other U.S. policies about working with autocracies, even though all three are significant contributors to illegal migration. “…[W]e stand divided,” reproached Belize’s prime minister. The entire venue highlighted the ineffectiveness, if not outright rejection, of U.S. leadership in the Hemisphere. 

We can expect the unenthusiastic reception of this newest stratagem to further embolden the whole industry of migration. Illegal migration is already reported at levels never before seen and from places as far away as Bangladesh and Nepal. With Title 42 teetering on reversal, ever-larger caravans are headed this way. 

That among these migrants are criminals and terrorists ought to give pause. The worst of them wriggle their way into the U.S. and disappear. Note the extraordinary contradictions when our own government is complicit in scattering migrants about the country on midnight flights and cross-country bussing. Gangs, MS-13 as a notable example among a very long list, exploit loose border enforcement to expand their hybrid criminal-terror enterprises from Los Angeles to Long Island. 

The consequences of all this evoke a sense of depressing helplessness. Drugs are smuggled across the border in stunning varieties and volume, unaccompanied minors overload, human trafficking sickens. Migrants become human flotsam, subject to crime in an array of assault: rape, murder, child molestation, and other hideous inhumanities. Consider also the gamut of infectious diseases for which the Border Patrol lacks capacity to manage. We only guess about the “got aways”. Inconvenient truths, to steal a phrase, of the ugliest kind. 

This administration deflects these realities. Vice President Kamala Harris, assigned as czar to oversee the southern border, evades any responsibility and authority. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, in outrageous willingness to prevaricate, insists against all evidence that the border is secure. 

Why is this so? Well, because we will not employ measures we know are effective, such as remain in Mexico, the Wall and meaningful asylum screening, among others. Why is that so? Because those were Republican administration policies and, therefore, auto-rejected regardless effectiveness or consequences.  

This summit backfired on its own purpose. It may have even achieved the opposite. What options are left to persuade regional leaders to help us solve a problem against which we refuse to commit our own resources? At least now we know we are on our own, either we act in our own best interests or get used to this ever-worsening crisis at the border. 

The crisis at our border is a national tragedy of a magnitude we will not know for years, if not decades.  

This administration cannot or will not deal with it — the Summit in Los Angeles makes that clear. It is now time to move on, elect solid Republican leadership with courage and conviction to face this tragedy head-on, reverse its damage, and who will have the vision to begin what we must do to secure our borders for the future. 

Cecil E. Bailey Retired U.S. Army officer. During the 1993 Clinton administration served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Haitian and Cuban migration policy.