President Biden did something this week that his predecessor would be too ashamed to do. While discussing immigration at his much-hyped presser, Biden spoke proudly and passionately about how his great-grandfather came to America. It stands in stark contrast to the story of how the Trump family stumbled ignominiously into the United States, and the difference underscores Biden’s valuing of immigrants and deep appreciation of their plight and potential.
So far, every individual who has served as President of the United States can thank our nation’s immigration policies for allowing his family to have journeyed here at some point, often under trying yet hopeful circumstances. When Biden was asked about the tough choices people have to make when deciding to leave their countries to come to America, Biden saw fit to recall his own family’s struggle.
“When my great-grandfather got into a coffin ship in the Irish Sea,” Biden explained, “the expectation was if he was going to live long enough on that ship to get to the United States of America, but they left because of what the Brits had been doing.” Biden then made it clear that “they were in real trouble. They didn’t want to leave, but they had no choice.”
Of course, Biden’s show of empathy doesn’t mean that his administration will simply open the borders for all without vetting. In fact, Biden swiftly struck down the notion that his reputation for goodness and decency, particularly following a narcissistically deranged and cruel cretin, is a liability when it comes to immigration policy.
“The truth of the matter is: Nothing has changed,” Biden asserted, after suggesting he should perhaps be “flattered” at the suggestion that a mother would send her child on a thousand-mile journey because she knows “Biden is a nice guy and he’ll take care of him.” He then handily shut down the line of questioning: “Does anybody suggest that there was a 31 percent increase under Trump because he was a nice guy and he was doing good things at the border? That’s not the reason they’re coming.”
Regarding Trump, Biden dismissed him as irrelevant with a facetious quip: “My predecessor. Oh God, I miss him.” Indeed, a look at how the Trump family came to America is far from admirable. Frederick Trump, Donald’s grandfather, fled the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1885 to dodge mandatory military service. The emigration was illegal, and so in 1905, he was formally banished—despite a groveling letter from Trump to Prince Luitpold begging him for citizenship and forgiveness.
Biden’s former boss, President Obama, told the nation in 2014 that being an American is more than about “what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship.” Biden understands this, and, unlike Trump, he is not embarrassed to recall his family’s story as he shapes immigration policy today. After four long years, the United States again has a leader who is committed to lifting the lamp beside the golden door.