March 9, 2021
By Tom Homan
What is happening right now on the border and within the United States regarding illegal immigration is being misrepresented by the Biden administration and much of the media. Most nightly television broadcasts do not even mention the chaos on the border, what is causing it and what the government is doing in response. When they do, they merely copy the administration’s talking points that are inaccurate and misleading.
There is currently a surge at the border. Border Patrol is apprehending more than 4,000 people a day. There was one day this week that they arrested over 4,700 people. They are calculating that there is an additional 500-1,000 escaping apprehension daily. Those that are getting away are estimated by sensor traffic and camera traffic that Border Patrol couldn’t quickly respond to.
It is likely that we will see more than 120,000 a month cross illegally, or 1.4 million in a year at this rate. That is an unprecedented surge, especially on children and family groups. That is not a border under control.
Thankfully, Title 42 (COVID restriction) is still in place for adults, so many of those that enter can be turned back around immediately, but that will end soon. It is already being ignored by the Biden administration as more than 108 positive cases have already entered the country illegally and were quickly released. When Title 42 goes away for good, the border is lost.
So why is the border surging when just a few months ago illegal crossings were at an historic low? The answer is simple and you don’t have to be a border expert to understand. It is because the Biden administration is tearing down the progress that President Trump made piece by piece. They stopped building the wall. They ended the Remain in Mexico Program. They have stopped 90 percent of interior enforcement by taking U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) out of play. They are promising free health care for those that enter the country illegally. They are promising mass amnesty along with rewarding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients with citizenship.
The first point to clarify is that the wall works. The data is clear. The Biden administration says it doesn’t work. They are lying. The data clearly shows everywhere they have built the wall, illegal immigration has declined. It’s a fact, but they refuse to actually look at the data and the facts because it doesn’t play with their false narrative. Where is the surge happening right now? Where there isn’t a wall.
The Remain in Mexico Program was designed to address the massive fraud of asylum claims. The policy that President Trump stopped was allowing asylum seekers to use the asylum loophole to get into the U.S. and disappear. The data is clear on this, too. The Department of Justice stats clearly show about 90 percent of all Central Americans that enter this country and claim asylum never get relief from the courts because they simply don’t qualify or they never show up in court. That is a fact.
In response, the Biden administration is now allowing them to come back in knowing that most won’t qualify and will flee into America and hide. They will hide long enough for the next giveaway whether it is amnesty or DACA. Again, this administration ignores the data and the facts. Less than 3 percent of the nearly one million family units that entered this country illegally since FY12 have left after being ordered deported. And while they are here, many of them will qualify for work authorization and will compete with middle class Americans in a tough job market.
They have crippled ICE by taking almost 90 percent of their authority away to make arrests. If you look at who ICE arrested the past few years, almost 90 percent could not be arrested today because of the policies this Administration has imposed. Even though the data clearly shows that 91 percent of everyone ICE arrested last year had a criminal conviction or were pending criminal charges, the administration felt they needed to further prioritize and arrest fewer criminals. This was the highest percentage of criminals ever.
They say it was needed because of the limited resources of ICE, which is a boldface lie. In FY12 ICE arrested and deported over 409, 000 people. Last year ICE arrested just over 103,000. They arrested just one quarter of what they did in FY12 with the same number of agents. So explain to me how they now have limited resources. Again, Biden and his team ignored the facts and the data and further cut that remaining 25 percent by another 90 percent. It’s simple math but the administration chose to use that bureaucratic line of “limited resources,” another mistruth.
This constant rewarding of illegal behavior will cause our immigration system to fail over and over again. They refuse to learn from past lessons. Joe Biden was vice president in FY12 when 409,000 were removed. He was also there during the surge of FY15. He knows how we stopped the surge. We did it by detaining people until they saw a judge. We did it by taking away the enticements. We did it by enforcing the law on the border and inside the U.S.
ICE worked to remove those who crossed the border illegally and were ordered removed by a judge. We showed there was a consequence and deterrence to law-breaking and our country would enforce our laws. This was especially necessary for criminals and those who used loopholes to make fraudulent asylum claims, which steals that protection from people around the world who legitimately need safety from persecution.
However, they purposedly ignore the facts, the data and lessons learned. How are they dealing with this present surge? By doing the opposite of what works. By releasing them into the U.S. knowing most don’t qualify and will be left in the wind. By not detaining them long enough to see a judge. By not allowing ICE to arrest illegal aliens because they have not been convicted of an aggravated felony, so they are home free and no one is looking for them. By allowing them to work illegally because they also stripped ICE of the authority to conduct workplace investigations.
This is an anti-borders ideology at the cost of the taxpaying American citizen and American worker. Over 90 percent of the criminals ICE used to deport will remain in our neighborhoods. People pay taxes and expect to be protected from crime, and this administration has turned their back on them. They can call it anything they want, but we won’t allow them to lie, distort and misrepresent what they are really doing.
Tom Homan is the former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a senior fellow at the Immigration Reform Law Institute.
Also published at: Tom Homan, Correcting The Biden Administration’s Lies About The Border Crisis, The American Conservative, March 9, 2021.
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