The author notes that Biden’s plan suggesting an open-handed approach to migrants coming to the U.S., and his early moves to undo Donald Trump’s border policies, are creating a migrant surge that risks running out of control.
Consider the contours of this challenge. Twice as many people, about 80,000, tried to cross the border illegally in January of this year as compared with January a year ago.
Even though it isn’t peak traveling season yet (that traditionally comes in May and June), U.S. Border Patrol has already begun releasing migrants into U.S. towns on the border, and the number of minors arriving per day is four times higher than in October.
Axios reported on a briefing prepared for Biden that warned that the number of migrants kids is on pace to set a record, and there aren’t nearly enough beds to accommodate them. Per Axios, the briefing projects that an astonishing 117,000 unaccompanied children will show up at the border this year, and it says we’ll need another 20,000 beds.
Health and Human Services, which takes custody of minors, has begun expediting their release to adults in the U.S., and paying their transportation costs.
Meanwhile, the Biden team is reopening detention facilities at the border that drew the ire of Democrats during Trump’s presidency.
Despite the fact that at the beginning of his presidency, Trump overestimated the importance of the border wall and made a number of false starts at the border, by the end he still created a completely reasonable system, based on legal authority, to restore order at the border. At the same time, migrants still had the opportunity to apply for asylum in the United States.
There is no compelling reason to break much of this arrangement, although Biden did just that.
In the early stages of the pandemic, Trump quickly abandoned illegal border crossings for public health reasons. Biden created an exception for unaccompanied minors, which is an obvious incentive for families to send children under the age of 18.
Under Trump, the Migration Protection Protocols, also known as Stay in Mexico, have ended the practice of admitting Central American migrants into the United States while their asylum applications are being processed.
This was very important because under the old order, asylum seekers were allowed to enter the United States while their applications were being processed. Even if the claims were ultimately dismissed, as the vast majority of them were, the migrants still remained (we did not have enough resources to track down and deport them).
Biden crushed migrant protection protocols. No new asylum seekers will be enrolled in the program, and those who have waited in Mexico are accepted into the United States.
He also suspended the so-called safe agreements with third countries that Trump entered into with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to encourage asylum seekers to apply for asylum in one of these countries (the outbreak of the pandemic stopped these programs).
Allowing them to enter the United States without a robust internal enforcement mechanism to remove them if their claims are denied constitutes the end of the immigration system. Since American resources are not limitless, if enough families appear at the border, it will inevitably lead to overstressing of personnel and facilities.
Rather than admitting that the previous administration pursued sensible policies no matter what, Biden’s team wants to reject them entirely.
Mallorcas accuses Trump of “completely dismantling our country’s immigration system,” a claim as absurd as the claim that the Biden administration started vaccinations from scratch.
Needless to say, under Trump, naturalization and the issuance of green cards continued at a rapid pace. And he effectively took control of the border, which got out of control in 2014 and 2019, leading to a major humanitarian disaster.
Call it what you want, a crisis, a challenge, or whatever, but Biden is on his way to inadvertently repeating this experience.
RICH LOWRY, POLITICOProtests in Myanmar resume, violence still grows