WiscNews, October 8, 2022
Voters should think about immigration for two reasons when they go to the polls (or however they cast ballots these days).
The first and most apparent reason is the fallout of President Joe Biden’s border crisis on communities all over the country. The second is what the administration’s willful violation of immigration law means for all other policy.
Next month’s elections are for Congress, of course. The Biden administration will be in place for at least two more years. But whether his party has majorities in Congress will determine how free a hand he has in carrying out his anti-border policies.
The Border Patrol this fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, apprehended the largest number of illegal border jumpers in history, more than 2 million, topping last year's 1.7 million, which had been a record.
Not all these people were let go. Under a COVID-era public health order known as Title 42, the Border Patrol can just bounce certain illegal immigrants back into Mexico without hearings. (The administration is trying to end that border-control tool, but the court has stymied it.)
Yet the number released into the United States is bad enough — around 1.4 million since Biden was sworn in, with more coming every day. This immediately hits border towns such as McAllen and El Paso in Texas, and Yuma, Arizona.
But today, every state is a border state, every town a border town. New York Mayor Eric Adams declared the arrival of illegal immigrants to his city a humanitarian emergency, and that was before Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bused a single person there. Washington, Chicago and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts had also screamed when border jumpers were sent to their communities.
We can (and should) chuckle at the hypocrisy of sanctuary cities. But the sustained arrival of wave after wave of newcomers from abroad puts strains on schools, social services, the criminal justice system and housing stock — wherever they end up.
And people aren’t the only thing crossing the border illegally. When groups of 100 or 200 people at a time arrive and turn themselves in, knowing they’ll be let go, the rest of that section of the border is stripped of agents to handle the processing. The cartels take advantage of and might even arrange such mass crossings, allowing the cartels to move their fentanyl and other poisons undisturbed.
Large-scale illegal immigration also erodes respect for the law. This administration isn’t even winking at illegal immigration. It has an avowed policy not to stop illegal immigration and ignores the law.
Unlike prior administrations of both parties, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security secretary has announced its policy is not to deter many illegal crossings. This is directly contrary to the statutory requirement that the president strive for “the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States.”
Those people who do illegally cross the border are required, under another provision of the immigration law, to be detained during the entire course of their proceedings until they’re either given legal status (such as asylum) or deported. Even the small share of border jumpers the DHS does detain are often released. The White House says it doesn’t have the space to hold them all but then asks for fewer detention beds in its budget request.
If the Biden White House continues to get away with this, it will be emboldened to ignore other legal limits on its power, as we’ve already seen with, for instance, college loans.
People consider many different things when deciding for whom to vote. But the direct effects of Biden’s border crisis, plus what it portends for the rule of law more generally, mean that it matters a lot whether President Biden faces a submissive Congress, as he has now, or one that will try to hold him to account.