FRI, FEB. 12th by CHRIS CHMIELENSKI, NUMBERSUSA DEPUTY DIRECTOR
We’ve seen this before. Any time lawmakers in Washington begin talking about rewarding illegal aliens with a mass amnesty, a border surge ensues.
With the Biden Administration’s push for amnesty legislation, combined with its executive actions to reduce enforcement and border security, we’re seeing the beginning stages of a surge along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The last major border surge occurred in 2019. The year before, Congress attempted to pass a permanent amnesty for illegal aliens who received a temporary amnesty through former Pres. Obama’s illegal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Despite failed attempts to pass the amnesty in both the House and Senate, border apprehensions steadily rose and peaked during the summer of 2019.
After the failure of the Gang of 8 mass amnesty bill in 2014, Obama announced a package of major immigration executive actions, including an expansion of DACA that would extend the amnesty to illegal alien family members of U.S. born children (DAPA). While the courts would eventually strike down DAPA, it led to a massive border surge during the summer of 2015.
BORDER APPREHENSION NUMBERS REACH PANDEMIC HIGH
The Biden Administration assumed power in January. With it, the announcement of executive actions that paused most deportations for 100 days, rescinded former Pres. Trump’s actions to strengthen interior enforcement and withhold federal funding for sanctuary cities, and terminated the Remain in Mexico policy that was so helpful in stopping the 2019 border surge.
Foreign nationals wishing to illegally migrate to the United States took notice. The Department of Homeland Security reported this week that Border Patrol officers encountered 78,323 illegal migrants in January.
That’s the highest number of encounters reported since July of 2019. Incidentally, the United States announced Mexico’s cooperation in stopping illegal immigration and the Remain in Mexico policy in June of 2019.
In fact, border encounters — a statistic used to gauge actual illegal border crossings — have steadily increased since the 2020 election. In FY2020 that ended Sept. 30, Border Patrol agents encountered 458,088 illegal migrants. In the first four months of FY2021, Border Patrol agents have already encountered more than 296,000 illegal migrants. If the trend continues, Border Patrol will apprehend more illegal border crossers in the first six months of FY21 than in all of FY20.
WHAT’S THE BIDEN ADMIN DOING?
Politico is reporting that Pres. Biden’s immigration proposal will finally be introduced in Congress next week. An outline of that plan says that the legislation will grant amnesty to nearly every illegal alien living in the United States and roll back most immigration enforcement, making it much easier for future illegal aliens to come and stay.
Knowing that a border surge will significantly impact the chances of any amnesty passing through Congress, the Biden Administration began taking action this week to discourage illegal immigration. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said this week:”Now is not the time to come. The vast majority of people will be turned away.”
But will they be turned away? Border Patrol agents told the Washington Times this week that after apprehending and processing illegal border crossers, they’re releasing them into the United States. BP is also saying that Mexico is refusing to accept anyone turned back across the border.
There were also media reports this week that the Biden Administration is constructing tent cities along the border to hold illegal aliens. But because of the Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements, those tent cities are serving more as processing stations than detention centers. Not to mention, none of the illegal border crossers who are caught are being tested for Covid before being released into the U.S.
It appears that the Biden Administration recognizes that the a surge is coming, but whether it’s willing to do what it takes to stop the surge remains to be seen. As DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged during his confirmation hearings, it was the Obama Administration who built the “cages” to stop the 2015 border surge. Will members of the Biden Administration be willing to take the same actions that they’ve so publicly criticized over the last several years or will they simply look the other way?