In 2021, President Joe Biden opened wide an inherited, secure Southern border that had finally stopped mass illegal immigration.
When he overturned former President Donald Trump's efforts, a flood of more than 8 million illegal immigrants entered the U.S.
For four years, Trump battled the courts, his Democratic opposition and the open-border establishments within his own party to ensure legal-only immigration. Somehow, he rebuilt some of the old porous border fence. He had begun to build his long-promised new wall to the Gulf of Mexico. He had ended Obama-era catch-and-release.
Would-be refugees had to apply for asylum in their home country. Trump leveraged Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to police his own border and stop cynically transiting millions of illegal aliens into the U.S.
There was general Democratic Party opposition to all of Trump's measures, both through Congress and via the courts.
For the last three years of Biden's mass influx, the left has applauded open borders. That is, until late last year, when overwhelmed Southern border state governors began busing and flying illegal immigrants en masse to northern sanctuary-city jurisdictions.
For years, these sanctuary zones had preened their liberality about open borders. They smeared as "racists" and "xenophobes" any who insisted on legal-only immigration.
But now they were subject to the real-life ramifications of their own destructive ideologies.
The liberal architects of illegal immigration are usually rich and powerful enough to be insulated from the consequences of their utopian policies.
But not so their poor or minority constituents. They deal first-hand with spiking crime, appropriation of their parks and civic centers, and restricted access to now overwhelmed social services.
So the once open-border Democrat Party and Biden are in a quandary. They now fear mass defections of core Latino and Black voters in an election year.
But how can they square the circle of insisting on open borders with the need to appear to their own voters as determined to close them?
We saw the absurd answer last week. Shameless Democrats tried to enlist naive and foolish Republicans to bail them out with a "comprehensive immigration bill."
It was really designed to keep the border open while spending billions of dollars to facilitate more rapid and orderly transits — and more substantial welfare support for millions of illegals here and still to come.
Now Democrats, in lunatic fashion, claim that anyone who did not sign on to codify and regulate illegal immigration was responsible for their own deliberate open border policies in the first place!
To add insult to injury, they next sought to piggyback their toxic immigration bill onto massive aid for Israel and Ukraine. It was a transparent effort to blame any Republicans for harming Israel and aiding Putin, should they not sign on to a more efficient open border.
The real agenda of the bill's supporters is absolutely no return to Trump's legal-only immigration and a secure border.
That simple solution requires no new legislation and almost no new spending. But it does imply acknowledgment that the hated Trump had solved the problem executively — and that admission is apparently taboo.
Finally, public outrage from the left and conservative anger at foolish and naive Republican enablers stopped the bill.
Many, left and right, make no effort to hide their desire for cheap imported labor — even though the current labor participation rate is only 62% of the potential American workforce.
Finally, one might expect this artifice from the left that is wedded to open borders.
But why some establishment Republicans aided and abetted these disingenuous efforts is yet another reminder why the doctrinaire Republican Party had to be reinvented by Trump.
Victor Davis Hanson is a historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.