Last month, Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico line released 104,957 illegal migrants into the United States, even though Congress has mandated all of them be detained. If the Democratic mayors of New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago wonder why they are dealing with so many newcomers, those releases — not a handful of migrants bused to their cities by Republican border-state governors — are the reason. Some 2.4 million illegal migrants are now living in the country thanks to the president’s misbegotten policies, all while the Labor secretary is demanding more cheap migrant labor.
Biden’s Border Numbers in Context. In September, Border Patrol agents at the Southwest border apprehended more than 207,600 illegal migrants. It was the last month of the federal government’s fiscal year, and in FY 2022, Border Patrol apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico line totaled 2.2 million-plus, exceeding even my pessimistic estimates.
Border Patrol keeps apprehension statistics for all U.S. borders (Southwest, northern, and coastal) back to FY 1925, and in that 97-year period, agents had never before apprehended more than 1.677 million illegal entrants. In FY 2000 — more than a year before Congress beefed up the border in the wake of the September 11 attacks — agents stopped just over 1.676 million illegal entrants, the pre-Biden record.
During his first partial fiscal year in FY 2021, Biden oversaw 1.662 million-plus total Border Patrol apprehensions — again Southwest, northern, and coastal borders combined. The Southwest border accounted for the lion’s share, nearly 1.66 million apprehensions.
In total, Border Patrol apprehended 2.214 illegal entrants in FY 2022, again nearly all of them at the Southwest border. Why take a leaky “yola” hundreds of miles from Haiti or Cuba to Key West or Puerto Rico when you can just fly to Mexico, hop a bus, and cross illegally?
Putting these numbers into context, Border Patrol agents at the Southwest border beat their prior apprehension record — again, set under Biden’s first partial fiscal year in FY 2021 — by about 25 percent. In late March 2021, Biden asserted that a then-nascent increase in illegal entries under his watch was just a seasonal blip. We now know that’s just not true.
Illegal Entries Surge Because There Are Few Consequences. Why are so many foreign nationals travelling illegally to the Southwest border now? Simple — because the administration is imposing few if any consequences for illegal entry.
The only real significant consequence most illegal migrants face under Biden (if they are caught) is expulsion, mandated by public-health orders issued by CDC pursuant to Title 42 of the U.S. Code in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Even though DHS is required to expel all illegal migrants at land borders under those orders, the number and percentage of aliens expelled under Title 42 has been on the decline for the past two years.
Under Trump, more than 87 percent of illegal entrants apprehended by Border Patrol while Title 42 was in effect were expelled. Since February 2021 (Biden’s first full month in office), Border Patrol has expelled about 51.6 percent of the migrants it has apprehended, but in September, fewer than 73,000 illegal entrants — less than 35 percent of the total — were sent back under Title 42.
Prosecuting aliens for entering illegally is another consequence the Biden administration could impose, but even as the number of illegal entrants at the Southwest border has surged in the past two fiscal years, the number of illegal entrants who have been subject to criminal charges has plummeted under the 46th president.
Returning illegal entrants back across the border to await their removal hearings — the basis of the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), better known as “Remain in Mexico” — is yet another consequence that would deter foreign nationals from entering illegally.
Why is that a consequence? Because illegal migrants pay smugglers thousands of dollars to reach the United States, money that they plan on paying off by working here. If they cannot live and work in this country for months or years while awaiting their day(s) in court, however, smuggling fees become a poor investment.
Biden, however, hates MPP to such a degree that his administration has been fighting a lawsuit brought by state plaintiffs in federal court since April 2021 to avoid having to reimplement Remain in Mexico.
That leaves just one consequence, detention. Not only is detention Congress’s favored choice (it’s been in the law in one form or another since 1903), but as noted above the legislative branch requires DHS to detain all illegal entrants, from the point that they’re apprehended until they are either granted asylum or removed.
As with MPP, detention prevents aliens from living freely and working to pay off their smugglers. It also ensures that aliens who are ordered removed leave, whereas migrants who are released can abscond and continue to work in the United States “under the table”.
Not only does the administration disfavor detention of illegal migrants, however, it has asked Congress to cut funding for detention beds in its FY 2023 budget request — even while illegal entries surge.
Nearly 105,000 Border Releases in September. Which brings me to the nearly 105,000 illegal entrants who were apprehended by agents at the Southwest border and released into the United States in September.
The vast majority — more than 95,000 — of those migrants were paroled.
“Parole” in the immigration context is different from criminal parole, a release at the end of or in in lieu of incarceration. Under section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), immigration parole is a limited authority Congress has provided DHS to allow aliens into the United States for a brief period even though they are inadmissible.
It is a “limited” authority to the extent that Congress has tightly circumscribed how it can be granted, “only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit”.
There is no “significant public benefit” to allowing aliens who have jumped the line to live and work here, and yet that is the administration’s claim for why it has paroled hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants in FY 2022 alone. “Urgent humanitarian reasons” has been interpreted as a need to provide an alien emergency medical treatment, which in all but a handful of border cases is never true.
The real focus, however, is on the “case-by-case basis” aspect of parole. In September, CBP paroled on average 3,173 illegal migrants per day. There are fewer than 17,000 Border Patrol agents in total at the Southwest border, and at any given time just over 5,000 “on the line”. Those agents had to apprehend, transport, care for, and process an average of 6,920 aliens every day in September.
You can do the math and determine that the 95,000-plus aliens paroled in September were released en masse, not one at a time. And yet, the administration is utterly blasé about what the law requires.
Then, there were the 9,766 illegal entrants CBP released on their own recognizance (OR). Not only doesn’t DHS have the power to release aliens apprehended at the border on OR, but it’s also illogical to presume that a foreign national who paid thousands to enter illegally, who violated our laws in coming here, and who has every reason to stay and none to leave can be trusted to show up for removal.
2.4 Million Illegal Migrants Now Living in the U.S. Thanks to Biden’s Misbegotten Policies. In any event, Border Patrol released nearly 690,000 illegal entrants it apprehended at the Southwest border in FY 2022 alone, not counting more than 123,000 unaccompanied alien children from non-contiguous countries (most of whom were sent to the Department of Health and Human Services for release to “sponsors” in the United States) or an estimated 600,000 “known got-aways”, illegal entrants who evaded apprehension and made their way into the United States — all in the last fiscal year.
That figure also doesn’t include illegal migrants sent by CBP to ICE for detention who were subsequently released, nor the inadmissible aliens stopped by CBP officers at the Southwest border ports and let go.
Focusing on the nearly 690,000 illegal migrants released by Border Patrol at the Southwest border, that population exceeds the number of residents in Boston, Mass. (687,257).
When you factor in all the rest, the total pushes up on 2.4 million illegal aliens who have come to the Southwest border illegally and entered the United States under the Biden administration — a figure surpassing the population of Houston, America’s fourth largest city. All thanks to Joe Biden and his misbegotten border policies.
Costs and Effects of Cheap Immigrant Labor. Why would the Biden administration flout federal law to allow hundreds of thousands of aliens in?
Well, according to CNBC on October 25, U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh looked at our nation’s already horrendous economic situation and concluded that “we’re going to have a bigger catastrophe if we don’t get more workers into our society and we do that by immigration.”
Note that Walsh also complained that the federal minimum wage sits at “$7-plus”. Apparently, Econ 101 is not a prerequisite to head an entity whose mission is: “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.”
Thanks to the law of supply and demand, flooding the U.S. labor market with cheap and largely unskilled foreign workers will depress wages, undermine opportunities for lawful job seekers, degrade working conditions, and make it impossible to “assure work-related benefits and rights”.
You don’t have to trust me — section 212(a)(5) of the INA states as much and makes the Labor secretary responsible for ensuring that none of those things comes to pass.
Cabinet officials, however, don’t make simple off-hand comments about major policy decisions. It’s hard not to view Walsh’s comments through the prism of an administration that has facilitated the illegal entry of hundreds of thousands of alien workers into the United States and assume it’s not trying to slug more cheap labor into an already teetering economy.
If that’s the case, Biden should say as much.
The problem, though, is that major cities — NYC, D.C., Chicago — are scrambling to deal with an influx of recently released migrants. That’s just going to get worse if DHS continues to release 100,000-plus illegal migrants per month.
If the capital of the free world, the center of international finance, and the “Windy City” are struggling to house and feed a few thousand migrants, what effect is that flood of cheap labor having on hospitals, public resources, and schools in less-wealthy cities and towns across the United States?
Again, Border Patrol alone released a population of migrants the size of Boston — which has an annual operating budget of $3.99 billion — into the United States in FY 2022. That does not even account for all the state and federal spending there. Those costs are now spread nationwide, and somebody will have to pay to support those new workers. Walsh should know — he was the mayor of “Beantown” for seven years.