On October 10, the majority Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee released a blockbuster report captioned “The Biden Border Crisis: New Data and Testimony Show How the Biden Administration Opened the Southwest Border and Abandoned Interior Enforcement”. It reveals how the administration has broken our immigration system, with one phrase therein ringing truest: “There is virtually no enforcement of our immigration laws.”
Border By the Numbers. Since February 2021 — Biden’s first full month in office — CBP has encountered more than six million aliens at the Southwest border, 5.4 million of whom were illegal entrants apprehended by Border Patrol agents after entering illegally, and nearly 618,000 other aliens who were deemed inadmissible by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Southwest border ports of entry.
Border Patrol set new annual records for migrant apprehensions in FY 2021 (nearly 1.66 million) and again in FY 2022 (2.2 million-plus), while the almost 379,000 aliens deemed inadmissible at the Southwest border ports in the first 11 months of FY 2023 (nearly 379,000) exceeds total Southwest border port encounters in FY 2017, FY 2018, and FY 2019 — combined (fewer than 362,000) — by more than 17,000.
Some 2.515 million of those 6 million-plus CBP encounters resulted in expulsions under CDC orders issued pursuant to Title 42 of the U.S. Code in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, but of course Title 42 ended on May 11, and no expulsions have occurred under those orders since.
Conversely, 3.57 million other aliens encountered at the Southwest border since February 2021 have been “processed for removal” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
“Processed for Removal”. There’s a reason why I put quotation marks around the words “processed for removal” in the paragraph above: Even under the best of circumstances, there’s a big difference between an alien being processed for removal under the INA and the alien actually being removed from the United States.
And as the House Judiciary Committee report reveals, things at the border are as far removed from the “best of circumstances” as they’ve ever been in U.S. history because hardly any of those aliens have been removed — and likely never will be.
The statistics above, as noted, start on February 1, 2021, and run through the end of August (the last month for which CBP has published border stats). The committee was dealing in most instances with figures that it had received from the administration between January 20, 2021 (when Biden took office), and March 31, 2023. CBP has recorded more than 979,000 Southwest border encounters since April 1.
Still, as that report explains: “Of the more than 5 million illegal alien encounters from January 20, 2021, through March 31, 2023, at least 2,464,424 illegal aliens had no confirmed departure from the United States as of March 31, 2023.” In other words, they’re still here.
More than 2.6 Million Releases and Counting. If those aliens have been “processed for removal”, you may ask, how could they still be here? Because, according to that report: “Of the illegal aliens encountered in those 26 months [January 20, 2021 to March 31, 2023], DHS released at least 2,148,738 illegal aliens into the United States.”
That’s a key figure, but as I noted above, a lot has happened in the past six months. Most critically, as per CBP’s own admissions, Border Patrol agents alone have released an additional 351,011 aliens into the United States, bringing releases — at a minimum — to 2,499,749, or 251 aliens short of 2.5 million.
That is an exceptionally low-side estimate, by the way. I’ve explained in the past that the Biden administration has refused to publicly disclose the number of aliens encountered by OFO at the Southwest border ports who were released, or the number of aliens encountered by CBP there who were transferred to ICE and whom ICE subsequently released.
That latter figure is likely to be pretty high, because if you head to the second page of appendix 1, you’ll see that ICE released nearly 673,000 aliens who had originally been encountered by CBP between January 20, 2021, and March 31, 2023, or more people than reside in Nashville, Las Vegas, or Washington, D.C.
By contrast, ICE “continuously detained” just short of 66,000 CBP-encountered aliens as of the reporting date.
That report shines some light on those OFO port releases, as well. According to appendix 2 in that document, 182,425 aliens who pre-scheduled their illegal entries at the Southwest border ports of entry using the CBP One app (in what I have termed the “CBP One app port interview scheme”) were paroled into the United States.
Nearly 110,000 of those aliens were paroled between April 1 (outside the committee’s initial reporting figure) and the end of July, which brings the administration’s Southwest border release total up to 2,609,631, not counting the CBP One app parolees and other port releases since August 1, or ICE releases of aliens first encountered by CBP since April 1.
And 1.7 Million-Plus “Got-Aways” Gets You to 4.3 Million New Arrivals. Needless to say, CBP has had its hands full at the U.S.-Mexican line since President Biden took office.
Specifically, Border Patrol agents have been so busy rounding up, transporting, processing, caring for, and releasing hundreds of thousands of migrants who entered illegally and turned themselves in with the reasonable expectation of release (known colloquially as “give-ups”) that, according to the report, “more than 1.7 million known ‘got-aways’ have evaded Border Patrol and escaped into the interior since January 20, 2021, with untold numbers of unknown ‘got-aways’ avoiding detection during that period”.
Again, on the low side, that gets you to more than 4.3 million new foreign nationals who have arrived in the United States — over and above those who have come here lawfully — since Inauguration Day 2021.
Add 205,473 More Thanks to Biden’s “Illegal Categorical Parole Programs”. And yet, I’m not quite done, because, as the committee explains: “The Biden Administration has released into the country at least an additional 205,473 aliens through its illegal categorical parole programs.”
What, exactly, are those “illegal categorical parole programs”? Those are side schemes that the Biden administration implemented starting last October in the faint hope that it could buy off nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela with promises of two-year periods of parole in the United States in lieu of having those aliens cross the border illegally, which it terms the “CHNV parole processes”.
Keep in mind, nationals of those four countries don’t have to be in the process of entering illegally to take advantage of CHNV parole, and as my colleague Todd Bensman has revealed, most haven’t been — they’ve simply flown into interior airports in the United States, just the latest example of the president’s attempts to hide the scope of his border crisis.
Respectfully, the entire CHNV scheme is like a gambit to prevent shoplifting by handing out gift cards at mall entrances, but that’s beside the point because it plainly hasn’t worked. In August, Border Patrol apprehended 23,450 nationals of those four countries who entered illegally over the Southwest border, or just less than 10 times as many as in August 2020 (well before CHNV was just a glimmer in some overachieving Biden staffer’s eye).
By the way, Bensman reported that 99.7 percent of all CHNV applicants were thereafter approved to travel to the United States, but according to the statistics in appendix 5 of that report, which was compiled by DHS’s Office of Immigration Statistics (OIS), the figure is actually closer to 95.3 percent. His analysis was based on FOIA disclosures that the Center received, so either the data we received was slightly off or OIS’s statistics were.
Still, even a 4.7 percent denial rate for random nationals of those four countries suggests that USCIS’s pre-screening of those individuals is not exactly robust. In any event, we’re now up to more than 4.5 million aliens present in the United States in violation of law.
Breaking Our Immigration System. Which brings me to the most shocking disclosure in that report: the fact that the Biden administration has broken the immigration system that was handed down by his predecessors.
As the committee explains:
Between January 20, 2021, and March 31, 2023, the Biden Administration has removed from the United States only 5,993 illegal aliens who were encountered at the southwest border and who were placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge during that time. In other words, of the at least 2.1 million aliens released into the United States since January 20, 2021, the Biden Administration has failed to remove, through immigration court removal proceedings, roughly 99.7 percent of those illegal aliens.
Undoubtedly, DHS has managed to remove a few thousand other aliens since March 31, but do the math and you’ll see that the administration only removed about 230 aliens CBP encountered and placed into removal proceedings per month during that 26 month-plus period. At that rate, DHS won’t get around to removing all 4.7 million who have come here illegally until sometime in the year 3722.
Plainly, our immigration system had more than a few glitches in it before Joe Biden took his place behind the Resolute Desk and unleashed his legion of ideologues on DHS. As the committee notes, however, “with more than 99 percent of illegal aliens staying inside the United States after being released by the Biden Administration, there is virtually no enforcement of our immigration laws”.
Malfeasance or Incompetence? That will put the next administration — be it on January 20, 2025, or four years later — in a deep hole in attempting to wrestle this fiasco to the ground. All of this raises the question of whether destroying our immigration system hasn’t been the administration’s plan all along, all the better to extort the massive amnesty it’s been demanding since Day One in exchange for a modicum of enforcement.
I’ve been a congressional oversight staffer, and generally when I saw a botched-up government program and had to determine whether it resulted from malfeasance or incompetence, incompetence won every time. The dog’s breakfast that Biden has made of our immigration system, however, may be the exception that proves the rule.