AUSTIN, Texas — The Biden administration appears to be admitting illegal border-crossers into the United States interior under the new strategy it told the American public was a tough deterrent that would dissuade illegal entries, the Center for Immigration Studies has learned.
Illegal border-crossers are finding that, if they claim asylum and then appeal the administration’s vaunted automatic denials, they get released into the American heartland on their own recognizance with “notices to appear” for a distant court hearing.
That outcome stands in sharp contrast to the threatened — and much feared — quick asylum-claim denials the administration vowed would be followed by “expedited removals” to home countries or Mexico.
But the administration built into its plan “rebuttable” appeals processes that delay expedited removals. And these “rebuttal releases” threaten to undermine a much-ballyhooed pause in border surges after Title 42 and its asylum-denying rapid expulsions ended at midnight, May 11. Since that moment, an estimated 120,000 immigrants in Mexico, a population that swells by the day as people continue to enter via Central America, have been eager to learn how the first illegal border-crossers have fared after testing the administration’s new Title 8 expedited removal regimen.
They have wanted to know if the administration’s new plan will still let them into the American interior to work for a long time.
The administration has remained tight-lipped about what it is doing, even to law enforcement partners on the ground, for fear that word of the post-Title 42 releases will reach this volatile population on the Mexican side of the border and set off a new flood of illegal immigration and end the current “pause”, about which senior Biden officials have taken public victory laps, according to two law enforcement sources who are regularly briefed by the administration’s DHS in Texas.
The administration is pursuing a two-track method. Immigrants caught illegally crossing the border all claim asylum. But officials are attempting to persuade them to “voluntarily withdraw” these claims and be returned to Mexico with no black mark on their record and then encouraged to come back under a separate humanitarian parole permit that is being handed out in Mexico through a greatly expanded “CBP One” cell phone app, two government sources tell CIS.
Those who get the CBP One permits can then be “legally” escorted through a port of entry and be given two-year work permits and access to certain welfare benefits, avoiding the much-backlogged asylum process. (Twenty states have sued the administration over the CBP One program, claiming its reliance on mass paroles is illegal.)
But those who enter illegally, claim asylum, and then stand their ground to appeal the administration’s streamlined denials are quickly released into the interior anyway on their own recognizance on a promise to work through their appeals in a years-long backlog.
A third source, who works for a non-profit organization in Texas that receives aliens released by the Border Patrol and arranges for their transportation to interior American cities, confirmed that “the bulk” of the delivered immigrants entered after Title 42 ended and that the new “voluntary withdrawal” was often a rejected option.
Ben Bergquam, national correspondent of the conservative Real America’s Voice internet television network, told CIS that a confidential Border Patrol source in California told his crew that the agency was apprehending 400 immigrants a day in the San Diego sector. Instead of putting them through Title 8 expedited removal processes, Bergquam said, the agency was channeling them through to the front of the CBP One line, in a basement facility, so that other immigrants cannot see that they got priority treatment. Many recipients of the CBP One appointments have waited for weeks and even months.
“The word is going to spread that the doors are open, basically they have found a way to get you in,” Bergquam said. “There’s no expedited removal. Everyone is getting in, one way or another, if they cross illegally.”
Biden administration officials have been lauding their plan as having quickly stemmed recent surges of immigrants north over the southern border. They also have frequently blamed “cartel disinformation” for those surges.
But that claim is objectively untrue. Migrants say they act mainly on information sent to them by cell phone from other migrants who accurately report exactly when and how they were allowed into the country. Hundreds of immigrants in recent years have told CIS they receive such information from friends, relatives, neighbors, and acquaintances who communicate their good fortune by cellphone calls, texts, chat room discussions, and selfies.
Bergquam, who often interviews immigrants on their way to the border, agrees that news of releases up-trail will soon reach nervous immigrants down-trail in these ways and they will act accordingly, even when top administration officials insist they are letting no one through and that “the border is not open”, as Secretary Mayorkas has often insisted about his new plan.
“As this word spreads, you’ll see more people, who have been waiting, stop waiting and flow in over the border,” Bergquam said. “Millions of people around the world are all watching for this to happen right now. And they’re going to see that what they were told by Mayorkas is not true.”
One complicating factor for this prediction, at least in Texas, is that Governor Greg Abbott recently found success using Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety officers to physically block immigrants at the river’s edge between Matamoros and Brownsville, a major hot spot in recent weeks.
The governor plans to expand his ability to use the tactic anywhere immigrants try to cross in significant numbers, at least in his state, and has invited all 50 states to send reinforcements. To date, Idaho and Florida have agreed to send help.