Mainstream media consumers may think all news stopped on January 6, 2021, but readers of The Daily Signal know illegal border crossings at the US border are reaching “astronomical and record-breaking levels,” according to a just-released report the Republican minority on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee formulates it.
The 47-page report, “Biden’s Border Crisis: Examining Policies That Encourage Illegal Migration,” details the ongoing disgrace on our southern border and the utter failure of the Obama and Biden administrations to address it, and concludes with some recommendations for immediate action to secure our country against uncontrolled illegal immigration.
First the numbers: According to the report, in April 234,088 foreigners were encountered by US Customs and Border Protection trying to enter the country illegally. This is the highest monthly total so far.
This stunning record had already been broken when the report was written. In May there were “239,416 encounters along the southwestern land border,” according to the government.
That doesn’t count the unknown (and unknowable) number that has completely eluded detection. One estimate puts that number – the “outliers” – at about a third (32%) of prisoners, which would mean more than 600,000 in the past year.
According to the report, most illegal cross-border commuters still come from Mexico and Central America’s Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras), but numbers from elsewhere almost doubled between President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January 2021 and March ninefold this year to more than 88,000.
It seems that not only Ecuadorians, Haitians and Cubans, but also Cameroonians, Bangladeshis and Chinese have received the Biden administration’s message that the border is wide open for illegal border crossings without credible consequences.
Throughout 2022, we are on track to surpass the 1.7 million illegal immigrants arrested at the southern border in 2021, which was itself an unprecedented number.
As the report makes clear, this crisis has been brewing for decades. The “push factors” in Latin America (not to mention much of Africa and Asia) are getting worse: helpless governments, corruption, poverty, and economies handicapped by socialism or incompetence, unable to harness the labor power of their growing populations .
Transnational criminal organizations like the Tijuana cartel and gangs like MS-13 have established themselves as indispensable brokers on the way to the US, making billions.
The report says that “55% of illegal travelers [use] a smuggler” at rates of up to $10,000 a head. Illegal cross-border workers from the Northern Triangle alone paid out an estimated $1.7 billion to get to the US via Mexico in 2021
What has the US done about it now?
To summarize the report’s conclusion, we have spent billions of dollars in foreign aid to address the “root causes” of immigration. Some of it no doubt made it to the target countries, but much of it will have gone to the “Beltway Bandits,” run by NGOs with government affiliations, in administrative and overhead costs.
The Obama administration’s strategy for engagement in Central America was based on the fantasy that any amount of US money ($3.6 billion in this case) could fix the problems of countries to the south.
The idea that we can spend in El Salvador, Honduras or Guatemala on noble but vague goals like security cooperation, promoting economic prosperity, promoting good government and fighting corruption in time enough to keep their youth from leaving the country now , is ridiculous.
In the words of the senior Latin American State Department official in 2019, “That approach has failed.” There is no realistic correlation between US aid funds spent in Mexico and the Northern Triangle and a reduction in illegal border crossings by the target nations, let alone out Places like Eritrea and India, which the Root Causes faucet doesn’t even touch.
As the report makes clear, former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents programs were essentially a slow-boat amnesty and contributed to the factors that illegal migrants to the United States
Just as “justice deferred is justice denied,” so actions to delay immigration, whether through temporary protection status, humanitarian probation, or willful omission of prosecution, are in practice amnesty.
With an official policy of “prosecutorial discretion,” non-deportation, work permits, schooling for their children, medical attention in emergency rooms, and even driver’s licenses and “free” state college tuition in many states, illegal residents of the US have strong incentives to stay .
The Biden administration came to power with an open borders mentality, determined to undo everything former President Donald Trump had done to control the border. Biden ended successful migrant protection protocols that, by turning would-be illegal immigrants back into Mexico while their cases were being decided, deterred fraudulent and frivolous asylum claims by economic migrants.
Biden also ended promising asylum cooperation agreements with the Northern Triangle countries, and through regulatory abuse and prosecutorial discretion — which in practice means telling prosecutors not to do their jobs — wrecked efforts to streamline the asylum-processing system.
US immigration courts already have 1.7 million cases pending, and that impossible backlog is growing rapidly.
The Biden regime is also determined to end Title 42, the health-related provision Trump issued due to COVID-19, which allows the CBP to expel illegal immigrants before they can be admitted and seek asylum.
The contempt with which this administration treats career border guards and agents trying to enforce the law is a disgrace, from Biden’s silence when Texas National Guard Bishop Evans died saving illegal immigrants from drowning, to the refusal of the White House to unfairly apologize to mounted border patrol officers who accused them of using their reins to flog Haitians illegally entering the US.
The consequences of Biden’s pathetic refusal to enforce our immigration laws are obvious, albeit slow to unfold. At current rates, the Biden border admits enough illegal immigrants to fill a city the size of Houston or Chicago in a year. Among them, CBP is expected to arrest more than 10,000 foreign criminals in 2022.
How many made it through while agents were pulled from the border to stamp “credible fear” claims that result in asylum seekers being released indefinitely? The Department of Homeland Security reported in 2017 that of the 89% of illegal migrants from the Northern Triangle who applied for asylum and then passed an initial “credible fear” test, “more than half never applied for asylum or sought asylum after their release did not report their first hearing.”
Drug seizures at the border are at record levels, but enough is getting through that more than 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year.
Despite the failure of Obama’s efforts to stem the tide of illegal migrants by spending money on “root causes,” the Biden administration has followed up with its own strategy to address the root causes of migration in Central America, according to the report.
It’s the same idea: billions of deficit-funded US taxpayers’ dollars to try to create workable democracies in the Northern Triangle. Because this is the Biden administration, it has sprinkled the plan with terms like “community-based solutions” and “safe spaces,” adding climate change and “sexual, gender-based and domestic violence” to the list of problems to be solved. but it is essentially the same program as Obama’s and will achieve just as little.
What we cannot do is clear. “The United States is not responsible for solving transnational crime, migration management, and border security problems in Mexico and North Central America,” the report concludes.
What the government can do, the senators recommend, is “use now all available tools to secure the border,” including Title 42 and the migrant protection protocols.
In the longer term, they recommend directing U.S. assistance toward “strengthening the capacity, funding, and staffing of migration management and law enforcement agencies” in Mexico and Northern Triangle countries to process refugees there, and signing asylum cooperation agreements or similar commitments with them to do so stem the flow to the United States
The senators also recommend working with our southern neighbors to prosecute the organized criminals who make their money from the misery of migrants and the tens of thousands of Americans who overdose on drugs trafficked through Mexico each year.
There is still more work to be done, according to a May 2022 joint letter to Congress from independent political groups, including The Heritage Foundation, former Trump administration officials and others.
These actions would restore the successful “Stay in Mexico” agreement, correct regulatory overruns, limit prosecutors’ discretionary powers, and generally gain control of the border through proper enforcement of existing laws.
Only when the border is no longer boundless chaos can the country begin to consider reforming immigration laws in the higher national interest.
Until then, warming up to the cold hash of foreign aid and social justice programs that have previously tried and failed will only make Americans poorer, less secure, and less confident in their government’s ability to protect them.
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