- - Tuesday, June 21, 2022

During his time as secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas has often said that our current immigration crisis has been partly caused by what he claims was a broken and dismantled immigration system inherited from the Trump administration.

As a veteran of more than 30 years in immigration enforcement, I can tell you that statement is a lie. Just like the lies this administration tells about how the border is secure, the border is closed, the border is under operational control, the Border Patrol’s mounted agents whipped Haitians, and many more.

Here are the facts. It is the Biden administration that dismantled the most secure border we ever had, and the data proves it. Illegal immigration was down 83% to 90% after President Donald Trump and his administration, including myself, made the necessary policy decisions to address the loopholes that Congress has failed to address.



Within his first few weeks in office, President Biden signed over 90 executive orders that “dismantled” almost every policy created under Mr. Trump. He dismantled the Migrant Protection Protocol, better known as the Remain in Mexico program, which allowed migrants to still claim asylum, but to do it from Mexico until their hearing rather than be released into the U.S. and rarely show up in court for their immigration hearings.

Even when they do show up in court, the data from the Executive Office of Immigration Review — our federal immigration courts — show nearly 9 out of 10 Central Americans that claim asylum never get relief from federal courts because they either do not qualify or do not show up in court. The vast majority who are ordered to be removed never leave, and just live here illegally hoping for the next amnesty bill to be passed.

The “Remain in Mexico” program was a game-changer, and it worked. Many people didn’t bother making the journey and attempting asylum fraud because they knew they wouldn’t be released into the U.S. Catch-and-release was ended by the implementation of this Trump program.

They dismantled the Asylum Cooperative Agreements, better known as the Third Safe Country Agreements, that were created in partnership with the three Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras). This was a historic agreement with the countries that are the three biggest importers of illegal aliens into the U.S.

The agreement was simple. If you claim asylum because you need to escape fear and persecution from your home government because of race, religion, political affiliation or membership in a specific social group, then you should claim asylum in the first country to which you escape.  

Next, they dismantled the asylum process itself. They were not happy that so few qualified or got relief from the U.S. courts. So, they vastly expanded who qualifies and what qualifies as a valid asylum claim, which would result in more positive asylum approvals.

The Biden administration also dismantled the detention system. It ended agreements with local jurisdictions to hold detainees. It shut down other immigration detention facilities. It shut down all family residential centers. The number of detainees went from 55,000 to less than 20,000.

It severely cut the amount of detention capacity at the same time it had historic illegal immigration at our southern border. It has recently asked Congress for funding for only 25,000 beds, down from the current level of 34,000 beds. It should have added beds, not shut beds down. Again, it knew, based on DHS’ own Lifecycle Report, that if an alien is detained when they get a final order, they are removed 99% of the time. However, if they are not in custody at the time of the order, the vast majority never leave.

Then they stopped construction of the border wall. A border wall that data proved was effective in reducing illegal immigration and illegal drug flow in that area. Where is the surge happening right now? Where there isn’t a wall. Walls also save lives because they force the most vulnerable to cross where there isn’t a wall. This funnels them to an area where the Border Patrol can deal with the humanitarian crisis in a more efficient manner.

As a senator, Mr. Biden voted for border walls in the 2006 Secure Fence Act. As president, he terminated wall construction, a move of pure political convenience to appease the rabid anti-borders left.

Very recently, Mr. Biden began a purge of federal immigration judges who were appointed during the Trump administration. This move is similar to packing the Supreme Court, another concept the left supports. It wants to politicize the immigration court system because it doesn’t like that these judges followed the law which resulted in many asylum denials. So far, it has removed at least eight judges, all appointed during the Trump administration.  

The next time you hear Mr. Mayorkas use the word “dismantled,” you now know the truth about who dismantled what. The sad thing is that this threat to our nation and safety is just starting. It’s going to be a long, treacherous two and half years.

• Tom Homan is a senior fellow at the Immigration Reform Law Institute and the former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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