New York Post, December 16, 2022
Don’t let anyone tell you the border isn’t a disaster.
Mayor Eric Adams has asked FEMA for $1 billion to cope with the consequences of the Biden administration’s refusal to enforce the border. FEMA’s responsibilities include dealing with wildfires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and now, another kind of disaster: an open border.
And it’s about to get worse.
This Wednesday, December 21, something called Title 42 is supposed to end (though a judge may keep it going a little longer). The program was a holdover from the COVID pandemic and allows Border Patrol agents to bounce illegal border-jumpers back into Mexico without getting a hearing or making an asylum claim. It was the only Trump-era immigration-related measure the Biden people kept in place, though they’ve been using it less and less.
Even though Title 42 is no substitute for actual border enforcement, it’s the only thing standing between today’s chaos and the total disappearance of the border.
President Obama’s DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has said that 1,000 border arrests per day was more than the agency could handle. We’re now seeing close to 7,000 border-jumpers per day, overwhelming our agents and freeing the cartels to move their poison over unguarded borders.
When Title 42 goes away, DHS has warned that daily border arrests could more than double, to as much as 18,000 a day, or more than half a million each month.
That’s a disaster.
But what kind of disaster? Democratic officials — Adams, Biden, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, among others — treat the border crisis as an act of God, like the aforementioned hurricanes and earthquakes, and so the obvious response is to have FEMA spend money to mop up the consequences.
At a press conference Thursday Adams sounded like a rural official in the wake of a devastating flood: “No one has helped us. No one. We have not gotten a dime from anyone. That has to stop. We need help.”
Similarly, Newsom recently visited a state-run migrant center near California’s border with Mexico and complained about the costs of the border crisis: “We can’t continue to fund all of these sites because of the budgetary pressures now being placed on this state.”
And Biden has asked Congress for billions in extra funding for the border — not to enforce it, but to process illegal immigrants more quickly into the United States.
None of these top Democrats is demanding that illegal immigration be stopped — any more than they’d demand that a hurricane go away. The best they can do — the only way they can even conceive of the problem — is to accept the border disaster as a given and seek funds for recovery.
Even beyond asking for money, Biden’s more general plan for the end of Title 42 also treats the flow as an unstoppable force, like rising floodwaters that can’t be stopped but might be channeled harmlessly. DHS recently published a memo revealing that a major part of its response to the border surge is a new program, first reported by the Center for Immigration Studies, that seeks to pre-legalize people who would otherwise have jumped the border, channeling them away from the politically damaging border-arrest statistics.
But the border disaster is not an act of God — it’s an act of Biden.
And unlike a tornado or earthquake, we can end the ongoing disaster with perfectly ordinary law enforcement and policy changes, rather than just try to keep up with the fallout. The Texas Republicans in Congress recently published a plan to do just that — complete the border wall system, restart Remain in Mexico, plug the catch-and-release loopholes, start deporting illegal immigrants again, and more.
These are all policies Biden canceled the day he was sworn in because they were the handiwork of the Bad Orange Man. The incoming administration was warned repeatedly that reversing those policies would lead to disaster, but as anti-border ideologues, they persisted.
For this man-caused disaster, FEMA is not the answer — law enforcement is.