Late on the afternoon of August 15, CBP released its latest statistics on migrant encounters at the Southwest border. In July, the agency encountered nearly 200,000 aliens at the U.S.-Mexico line, including 181,500-plus illegal migrants who were apprehended by Border Patrol there. Agents have already set a new yearly record for apprehensions in FY 2022 — which is even more disheartening given that there are two more months to go in the fiscal year, and things are about to get worse.
Two Dismal Record Years in a Row. Through the first 10 months of FY 2022, Border Patrol agents at the Southwest border have stopped 1,816,353 aliens who entered the United States illegally. That beats the old record for apprehensions, set in FY 2021, when agents nabbed 1,643,679 illegal entrants.
Border Patrol provides statistics on Southwest border apprehensions stretching back to the Eisenhower administration in FY 1960. The previous high prior to Biden in that 62-year period was in FY 2000, when Border Patrol agents caught 1,643,679 aliens who had entered illegally at the Southwest border.
Contrast this with the situation at the border under the Obama-Biden administration.
Between FY 2010 and FY 2016, apprehensions at the Southwest border never exceeded 500,000, and in FY 2011, FY 2012, and FY 2015, apprehensions never topped 400,000. Put more starkly, 269,775 more illegal entrants have been stopped by agents at our border with Mexico this fiscal year than were apprehended in the four fiscal years between FY 2010 and FY 2013.
Those numbers are worse than they appear. More than 98.2 percent of the migrants apprehended in FY 2000 were Mexican nationals, nearly all of them adult males, who could be quickly screened and removed or returned within about eight hours.
By contrast, just 34.7 percent of the aliens apprehended by Border Patrol this fiscal year have been Mexican nationals. Worse, just 25 percent of those caught by agents at the U.S.-Mexico line are from the “Northern Triangle” countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
The remainder, 732,661, or more than 40 percent of those apprehended this fiscal year, are “long-distance migrants” who have come to the United States to enter illegally from farther away than ever. “Biden’s Border Fiasco”, as the editorial board at Bloomberg Opinion has termed it, is a now a global affair.
Title 42 Removals Decline Further, and Are Poised to Fall to Zero. The Biden administration has attempted to end CDC orders mandating the expulsion of illegal entrants at the border, which were issued under Title 42 of the U.S. Code in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A federal district court judge has enjoined the termination of Title 42, and while the administration is appealing that order, it is supposed to comply with it in the interim.
Biden’s DHS is honoring that order increasingly only in the breach. Just 40 percent of the aliens who were stopped by Border Patrol at the Southwest border in July were expelled under Title 42, down from 47.7 percent in June and 62.3 percent in all of FY 2021. By contrast, Trump expelled more than 87 percent of migrants subject to Title 42.
The administration is appealing that injunction, meaning Title 42’s days are numbered. DHS estimates that post-Title 42, up to 18,000 aliens per day will enter illegally, three times as many as in July. Border Patrol agents are already too overwhelmed to stop the drugs and migrants who didn’t want to be caught (more than 800,000 illegal entrants have successfully evaded agents under Biden). That’s going to get exponentially worse, and all Americans will soon be paying the price of this fiasco.
DHS Hides Release Numbers. Unless Congress gets involved, we are unlikely to know how many of the nearly 109,000 aliens who were caught by Border Patrol in July and not expelled under Title 42 were released into the United States.
That’s because DHS is no longer obligated to publish monthly status reports on border releases, which had been ordered by district court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk as part of his injunction in Texas v. Biden.
Texas is a suit brought by the states of Texas and Missouri to force the Biden administration to continue the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), better known as “Remain in Mexico”. The court’s injunction prevented DHS from ending the program.
In June, the Supreme Court held Judge Kacsmaryk couldn’t enjoin MPP’s termination, and on August 8, the judge was forced to rescind his order. Not only has that ended Remain in Mexico (for now), but it also means DHS is no longer required to reveal how many aliens the agency is releasing in violation of a 119-year-old congressional requirement that all those migrants be detained.
A lack of transparency is a big defect of an administration that had promised to “bring transparency and truth back to government”. DHS has attempted to hide the scope of the border catastrophe from the voters. The order in Texas shined a light, but that light is extinguished (for now).
More than 1.129 million aliens encountered by CBP at the Southwest border had been released into the United States by Biden through the end of June, a huge back eye for the White House. Congress could compel DHS to provide those numbers, but the border is a major vulnerability for the Democrats who control the House and Senate going into the midterm elections in November, and they likely won’t ask.
Strategist Warns Democrats on Immigration. Proof for those last two points can be found in a piece authored by the venerable Democratic strategist, Stanley B. Greenberg, in the “progressive” journal The American Prospect on August 3.
Democrats are facing strong headwinds headed into the midterms, but Greenberg argues that the party has the chance to right the ship, bolstered by the Supreme Court’s June ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org. (which overruled the constitutional right to abortion finding in Roe v. Wade), and by a series of what Greenberg terms “gun massacres”.
The right to abortion and gun restrictions play to key Democratic constituencies, and energize the party’s base, he explains. Among the issues on which the party polls badly, however, are crime and immigration. Based on his own research, Greenberg explains:
Major parts of the Democratic base accept Trump’s dire warning that America has never been more at risk from crime, open borders, disrespect for police, and a lack of pride in America.
Democrats have problems in their base that are impacting the turnout of Blacks and Hispanics and the vote of Asian American (AAPI) voters. In this survey exercise, I asked voters to choose between a Democratic message, with its hugely popular policies, and a Republican message, embodying Trump’s words on making America great again, that led with crime and borders and ended with the police.
A stunning 28 percent of Blacks chose the America First message. But more alarming, 45 percent of AAPI voters and 47 percent of Hispanics did too.
Note that Greenberg doesn’t tell his fellow partisans to improve border security. If anything, his implicit message is for Democrats to sidestep the issue, as he explicitly tells them to do with respect to crime and welfare.
As Greenberg’s analysis suggests, these record border numbers provide an opportunity for the GOP in November. That will require Republicans to demonstrate how they will force the administration to gain “operational control” of the Southwest border, which they have failed to do thus far.
While Republican leaders have offered proposals to address border wall construction, agent hiring, MPP and Title 42, asylum reform, and unaccompanied alien children, and to mandate E-Verify, the GOP will need to prove (1) that they are willing to choose border security over constituencies that desire cheap labor and (2) that they have a strategy to put these proposals into law to win over undecided voters.
With respect to border barriers, a defeated Republican effort to amend the “Inflation Reduction Act” (a bill Greenberg suggests Democrats tout) provides a pathway for a Republican-controlled Congress to force Biden’s hand. That hand holds a veto pen, however, so congressional Republicans must be prepared to use the “power of the purse” to bring the border to heel, if voters give them the chance in November.
Obama vs. Biden. In 96 months under Obama, Border Patrol at the Southwest border apprehended just over 3.329 million illegal migrants. In the first 18 months of the Biden administration, apprehensions are approaching 3.191 million, and will eclipse that Obama total easily by September. Biden’s policies are to blame, and if anything, the catastrophe at the border is going to get much, much worse before it gets better.