New DHS Threat Assessment: Expect a Mass Illegal Migration Crisis Next Year

National security 'threat actors' from outside the Western Hemisphere likely to surge, too

By Todd Bensman on November 1, 2020

Judging by the news reporting about the freshly released U.S. Department of Homeland Security's first annual "Threat Assessment", the most important takeaway was that white supremacists pose the "most persistent and lethal" domestic terrorism threat to America.

That may well be true, as I testified before Congress last year, and it is worth noting that no one has attacked the credibility of the DHS report that pegged white supremacy as such a prominent threat, coming as it did from the Trump administration. However, traditional media overlooked what this same very credible report said about other important homeland security threat matters that Americans also care about, such as the increasing likelihood of another swamping mass-migration crisis at the southwest border in 2021.

The DHS outlook is as dire as it is newsworthy. The collaborative intelligence community assessment, written by career analysts, sees an increasing likelihood that a new mass migration wave will come out of the Caribbean and Central and South America, especially Cuba and Haiti, next year. Two main push-pull factors will converge to cause this: A) lifting of pandemic-related border restrictions among Latin American countries, which will release postponed, pent-up plans to cross the U.S. border; and B) economic distress from the pandemic coupled with a resurgence in the American economy. Here's how DHS puts it, on p. 25:

Since 2014, DHS has experienced repeated illegal immigration surges at the Southwest Border. DHS anticipates that the number of apprehensions at the border will significantly climb post-pandemic, with the potential for another surge as those who were previously prevented from seeking entry into the United States arrive at the border and as poor economic conditions around the world fuel migration. This high volume of illegal immigration, including unprecedented numbers of family units and unaccompanied alien children arrivals, stretch government resources, and create a humanitarian and border security crisis that cripples the immigration system.

It also predicts surges in migration from outside the Western Hemisphere, among them unspecified national security "threat actors", a likely reference, in part, to terrorist travelers who would stand a better chance of disappearing in a huge, smothering crowd. (See CIS's video report on "extra-continental migration".)

"Although the majority of migrants do not pose a national security or public safety threat, pathways used by migrants to travel to the United States have been exploited by threat actors," the DHS report states. "As a result, surges of migrants could undermine our ability to effectively secure the border."

Consequences of a Democratic Victory at Election Time?

Most interestingly, the report names a third factor likely to drive the next mass migration event along with economic and pandemic ones: migrant "perceptions of U.S. and Mexican immigration and enforcement policies" due to ongoing "inter-governmental division and inconsistent messaging".

This last factor, left unexplained but repeated elsewhere in the document, probably references the coming election where the likely outcome is a rise in Democratic Party power over immigration policy that would be viewed by aspiring migrants around the world as a green light to largely unimpeded passage over the southern border and then successful resettlement.

As I have explained recently in predicting a new mass migration, a phenomenon I call "The Biden Effect", aspiring border-crossers around the world will rush the border if Biden wins because they have heard his promises to end deportations, limit detentions, reopen the asylum system and its loopholes to all comers, end all Trump-era asylum initiatives, provide free healthcare, and prioritize a "pathway to citizenship" for millions of illegally present people already in the country or who can get here in time to get it.

The DHS report issues a general observation about the present state of political affairs as a contributing factor the coming crisis:

DHS projects that until fundamental changes are made to the immigration enforcement process, including legislation that addresses current legal loopholes that incentivize high levels of illegal immigration, the United States will periodically experience additional humanitarian and border security crises.

Predicting Collapse of the Asylum System and Interior Enforcement

In predicting the next one, DHS describes the consequences of past crises where mass migration events overwhelmed immigration enforcement agencies and systems, the most critical of these being the asylum and detention systems. The report predicts that the coming wave of illegal immigrants who will claim asylum will once again swamp U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency charged with processing credible-fear-of-return claims, which are prerequisites for asylum applications.

The report says the crush of people would exacerbate an already vast backlog of cases, which, coupled with filled-up detention centers, in the past resulted in mass releases of border-crossing strangers, criminals among them.

Continuing disagreement about whether illegal immigrants should be detained has prevented investments in bed-space expansions needed to cope with mass migration events, leading to mass releases into the public when they happen. The DHS report noted this ominous consequence:

Lack of bipartisan support of detention measures continues to lead to the release of dangerous criminal aliens and absconders who may then commit additional crimes when they might otherwise have been expeditiously detained and removed from the United States.

Alluding to the probable next mass migration event in 2021, the DHS report reminds its readers of past times when "record migration" distracted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from their duty to arrest fugitives and criminal aliens and "resulted in decreased interior arrests".

White supremacy is a serious threat and deserves time in the spotlight, as well as resources. But in terms of priorities, the nation need not be forced to choose one over any other threat problem. The U.S. homeland security establishment is big enough to handle more than one threat at any given time.

The American media is, too.