The border crisis isn’t coming; it’s already here.
It is here because the Left is actively encouraging, incentivizing, and facilitating it. Team Biden, while on the campaign trail and now firmly ensconced in the White House, put out the message loud and clear to those south of the border: Come over illegally, and we will release you, protect you from deportation, and give you amnesty. They are waving in illegal aliens like a third base coach telling his star base runner to head home.
We have warned for years about the need to secure the border, fully enforce our immigration laws and close loopholes via legislation. But Congress did not act. Now, President Biden’s administration is turning off fundamental enforcement and security measures and promising mass amnesties.
And the predictable surge is upon us.
Last week, the Biden administration announced that, so far this year, the Border Patrol has apprehended more than 75,000 people crossing the border illegally — many of them families and unaccompanied minors. This number is double what it was just one year ago and is the highest in the last 10 years. And that’s just those who have been caught. Undoubtedly, many more turned back to avoid apprehension or got away, fading into the interior of the country where Mr. Biden’s ICE is not allowed to remove them.
The influx is so staggering, the Biden administration has had to open a new facility in Donna, Texas, to handle the skyrocketing number of detainees. Remember those Obama “cages” the
Left accused the Trump administration of building? And the Left’s outrage at the allegedly “inhumane” practice of housing detainees in “tents”? Those are exactly the same type of facilities being used in Donna.
Indeed, the facilities were planned by members of the Trump administration, who anticipated that Mr. Biden’s open-border policies would beget a new illegal immigration crisis. The only difference is that now, in the Biden era, the media call the Donna detention center a “soft-sided facility” rather than a “tent city.”
Now, we must add that opening additional detention facilities is exactly what the CBP should be doing. But the double-speak on this issue from the Biden administration is astounding. The Left tried to incite a national moral panic over the Trump administration’s detention of illegal aliens. Now they claim that the same practices, when performed by the Biden administration, are somehow more “civilized.” It’s blatantly false and shamelessly hypocritical.
Unfortunately for the Biden administration, the surge won’t be stopped by detaining some, however pleasantly, while reinstating “catch and release” for many others who say the magic word: “asylum.” Nor will the cartels or human smuggling organizations compassionately comply with the administration’s current strategy of asking nicely, “Don’t come yet.” Nor can the U.S. expect other countries to conduct immigration enforcement operations on our behalf, as the administration has reportedly asked Guatemala, while it rolls back our own enforcement authorities.
The surge will be mitigated only when the administration publicly retracts its amnesty promise and restores meaningful, effective and responsible immigration policies.
This needs to be coupled with a reinstatement of the ICE’s enforcement authorities, a commitment to continuing to build a border wall system on the southern border, and a message of strong enforcement, consequences and certain removal for those who break our laws.
Unfortunately, the Left views illegal immigration is a potent political weapon — one wielded at the expense of American sovereignty, security and well-being. As the crisis intensifies along the border, the Left will attempt to use it to negotiate for the mass amnesty legislation they covet, even though the crisis is of their own making, and even though it means that women, children and other vulnerable populations will be dangerously exploited and trafficked far distances.
America’s national and economic security should not be traded for political power, but this is where we now find ourselves, in the midst of another predictable and entirely unnecessary crisis.
⦁ A former acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan is a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Mike Howell is the think tank’s senior advisor for government relations.