The Biden Border Crisis Goes Global as Aliens Enter Illegally from Farther Away

There is no way to address purported “root causes” everywhere, so focus on the loopholes here

By Andrew R. Arthur on July 21, 2021

June’s border numbers reveal a grim reality: More aliens are coming from farther away to enter the United States illegally — a lot more. The Biden border disaster is going global, as increasing numbers of aliens who are not nationals of Mexico or the “Northern Triangle” countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are exploiting the now-open border. The only way to stop them is to plug the loopholes in U.S. law that encourage illegal entry — not wasting money to address intractable “root causes” abroad.

First, some background. Before FY 2009, 90 percent of illegal migrants were Mexican nationals (almost exclusively single adult males). By FY 2012, the number of aliens apprehended at the Southwest border who were from the Northern Triangle climbed to more than 24 percent of the total.

During the “border emergency” in FY 2019, however, more than 71 percent of Border Patrol apprehensions at the Southwest border were aliens from the Northern Triangle; “just” 19.5 percent were Mexican nationals.

Last month, nationals of Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries accounted for fewer than three-quarters of the 178,416 Border Patrol apprehensions at the Southwest border — the remaining 46,400-plus aliens who were apprehended in June came from somewhere else.

The number of apprehensions of aliens from “other” countries has been on the climb since last November (when there were 5,594), but they really started to jump following Biden’s inauguration in February (11,606) and then more than doubled in March (when they accounted for more than 24,000 apprehensions). The share of aliens from "other" countries in Border Patrol apprehensions on the Southwest border has been climbing steadily as well, from 12 percent in February, to 19 percent in April, 23 percent in May, and 26 percent in June.

This is a significant and disturbing development, and one that shows just how much worse the disaster at the border could potentially become. At their peak during that FY 2019 emergency in June, the number of nationals of “other” countries who were apprehended by Border Patrol at the Southwest border stood at 12,517; last month’s numbers reflect a 270-percent increase in just two years.

CBP provides a breakdown of its monthly apprehension numbers for 20 different nationalities, plus a general catchall for all “other” nationalities. It reveals that in June, Border Patrol at the Southwest border apprehended—among others-- 12,735 Ecuadorans, 7,466 Venezuelans, 6,555 Brazilians, 5,692 Haitians, 2,969 Cubans, and 440 Colombians.

Not all of the migrants apprehended last month at the Southwest border were from the Western Hemisphere. There were also 179 nationals of Turkey, 81 Russians, and 73 nationals of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Those numbers may appear low, but consider the fact that in March, Border Patrol apprehended just 35 Turkish nationals, 16 Russians, and 17 from the PRC. The numbers are climbing, and as anyone who follows the border knows, once foreign nationals from any country determine that they can cross into the United States illegally and remain, more will follow.

Just three of the illegal migrants from the PRC who were apprehended last month were expelled under Title 42, while none of the Turkish or Russian nationals were, suggesting that the ones who entered illegally are going to be here for a while.

That poses a significant challenge for the Biden administration in its efforts to control what has become a very politically unpopular issue for it. The whole idea behind tapping Vice President Kamala Harris to head the president’s response to the migrant disaster was for her to work with Mexico and those Northern Triangle countries to reduce the flow by addressing the “root causes” of illegal migration.

What exactly are the “root causes” of migration from Ecuador, Haiti, Russia, or the PRC? I could give you an idea (I heard asylum claims from each), but the United States is not going to be able to give billions of dollars to every country in the world (as the Biden administration proposes to do in Central America) to convince their nationals to stay home. Even if we do, the results are unlikely to be very promising.

That said, funding to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras is not likely do much good, either. The United States has been sending money to those countries for decades, and as the foregoing shows, migration from each has just increased over time.

The only way to actually dissuade foreign nationals from entering illegally is to detain them (as is required by law), expedite the process of deciding any asylum claims that they raise, and remove those who are not eligible for protection.

The Biden administration, however, is actually expanding asylum eligibility (and probably going to expand it a whole lot more), and Biden’s attorney general recently resurrected “administrative closure”, a procedural tool that slows the adjudication of closed cases to a crawl (as I explained on July 17).

The surge in illegal migrants from the Northern Triangle over the past decade shows that once any nationals of a country recognize how porous the border really is, more of their countrymen follow. With additional migrants from “other” countries now entering illegally, the only way to reduce that flow is to address the “root causes” of immigration here — the loopholes in U.S. law that encourage illegal migration — not the purported ones abroad.