Creative Destruction, October 6, 2021
In October 2020, the national news media and liberal Democrats practically regaled the release of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security annual “Threat Assessment” for its conclusion that white supremacists posed the “most persistent and lethal” domestic terrorism threat to America. Few challenged the DHS report’s credibility that month before the presidential election, no doubt because it confirmed a Democratic political narrative that four years of Donald Trump had fueled a rise of violent white nationalist racism.
Entirely ignored in this credible report, however, was an analytical prediction that seems eerily prescient now:
The DHS assessment predicted that a “mass migration event from Cuba or Haiti” was likely coming in 2021 and, together with huge numbers from Central America and nations around the world, could cripple the “immigration system,” “undermine our ability to effectively secure the border,” and unnecessarily cause the release of “dangerous criminal aliens and absconders who may then commit additional crimes.”
Perhaps most ominously, it said the resulting collapse of border control systems would herald the entry of national security “threat actors” from outside the Western Hemisphere within the flows of Haitians, Cubans and the rest.
Vulnerabilities in border security programs caused by mass migration “may create an illegal migration environment that [Foreign Terrorist Organizations] could exploit to facilitate the movement of affiliated persons towards the United States,” the report warned on page 19.
Of course, nine months in to the predicted border crisis, all of America now belatedly knows that DHS’s prediction of a mass migration surge came true after President Joe Biden was sworn into office, though only because a 15,000-migrant encampment of mostly Haitian and Cuban migrants formed in September at Del Rio,Texas, and finally drew bipartisan media coverage.
Why this report matters now and warrants revisiting is that policy-driving media coverage that started with Del Rio has endured since the Biden administration liquidated the Del Rio political problem. Now, after nine months of the DHS-predicted mass migration crisis, even the Associated Press, Axios, and the New York Times are reporting that 65,000-85,000 more migrants from Haiti and countries around the world are on their way right now through Panama’s Darien Gap.
This section of the DHS report is worth reviewing in light of how thoroughly prescient it was in seeing the current border crisis and what, exactly, it had to say that might still inform any policy solutions as this international wave of humanity crashes into the southern border.
The assessment, written by career intelligence community analysts, saw an increasing likelihood for 2021 that a potentially crippling new mass migration event would come sweeping out of the usual Central American nations but that Haiti and Cuba would emerge as major source countries. The report cited “weak socio-economic conditions” in Cuba and “political instability and food insecurity in Haiti” but also a probable resurgent American economy and coming policy changes that were going to ease illegal border crossings.
In addition to the steady-state norm that home countries are terribly poor and America prosperous, a main new impetus for the coming crisis was that migrants had chosen to remain in place rather than flail at Donald Trump’s deterrence-and enforcement-based border policies and also that he and transit countries ordered borders closed for the Covid-19 pandemic. The DHS analysts figured all of that border toughness was going to ease not long after the national election, and even named two specific categories of aspiring migrants who would notice changes and show up in droves.
DHS analysts put what they thought was going to happen this way, in part:
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. ... 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.”
Since the report was written and released before Joe Biden’s election, analysts could not possibly have predicted that the administration’s opening immigration moves would be to accommodate those very same family units and unaccompanied alien children arrivals and grant vast numbers of them legalized resettlement privileges, which fueled historic levels of mass migration and has collapsed border management systems as predicted.
Almost immediately upon taking office, Biden exempted those two categories from “Title 42” instant expulsions back into Mexico to protect against the cross-border spread of Covid-19.
The Biden administration said it would let in families, pregnant women, and children because turning them back into Mexico under the pandemic-containment policy was cruel and inhumane. Hundreds of thousands from around the globe who heard this and saw all this naturally rushed the border and were accepted in, which propelled and exponentially accelerated ever more.
By fall 2021, tens of thousands per month were being let in to settle in American cities and towns, unworried about becoming illegal later, given that Biden ended almost all interior deportation operations.
The nation is now grappling with the highest volume of illegal alien apprehensions in two decades. Some 200,000 per month are now being logged, with the nation on track to the highest number in American history in a single year.
The DHS analysts who wrote this report are either crying that they were so right, or patting themselves on the back.
Who could not have predicted that rewarding tens of thousands of illegally crossing family units, unaccompanied minors, and plenty of single adults too from Haiti, Cuba, Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Senegal, Syria, Iraq and Somalia would social-media message those still in home countries that they would all get in too if they were just willing to trek the tough Darien Gap trail from Colombia into Panama and on north?
It was as though the new administration used the DHS assessment as a playbook by which to create the crisis, rather than as a guide to prevent one.
The report plainly said that vast numbers of aspiring migrants waiting out tough border enforcement were paying close attention to everything American (and also Mexican) leaders were saying and doing about their borders and would respond to any perceived opportunity to exploit one to get in and stay.
It said a driving force for a coming border crisis would be migrant “perceptions of U.S. and Mexican immigration and enforcement policies” especially in light of ongoing “inter-governmental division and inconsistent messaging.”
Despite this warning about the importance of messaging followed by on-ground action, the Biden administration messaged and acted at direct variance with the DHS warnings.
In addition to exempting family units and unaccompanied alien children from pandemic push-backs, Biden ended almost all of the tough Trump deterrence policies the DHS report suggested had been keeping migrants at home.
Aspiring migrants worldwide heard and saw that Biden sharply curtailed detention time, and reopened the asylum system to mass abuse by ineligible economic migrants who have use it as a mechanism to get past Border Patrol and go illegal after their claims are inevitably rejected, and he ended almost every kind of interior deportation activity so that they would never have to worry about the lawful deportation orders hanging over their heads.
The Terrible Consequences of a Border Systems Collapse That Is Happening Now
In predicting what would likely happen in 2021, DHS analysts used understated language to describe terrible consequences of past crises where mass migration overwhelmed immigration enforcement agencies and systems. That collapse is happening now, in some of the very systems that DHS analysts predicted would go first. DHS analysts, for instance, predicted a vast expansion of backlogs to the asylum system and overcapacity in detention facilities that would force quick releases of huge numbers of illegal aliens into the country not very well vetted.
With less specificity, the report suggested that immigration enforcement agencies like Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement would become unable to do their normal jobs. The results that DHS predicted?
“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.
Transnational criminal organizations that engage in drug and sex trafficking will intermingle “with migrants traveling to the US Southwest border” and pose an “intrinsic risk to the U.S. lawful immigration system.”
All of that has come true, albeit it is too early yet to ascertain the terrible toll.
But the report includes a rarified national security threat warning that no media outlet ever reported but which is detailed at length in my book, America’s Covert Border War, the Untold Story of the Nation’s Battle to Prevent Jihadist Infiltration.
On page 19, the DHS threat assessment observes that “terrorists overseas will continue to probe for vulnerabilities in the U.S. immigration and border security programs. Collectively, vulnerabilities may create an illegal migration environment that [Foreign Terrorist Organizations] could exploit to facilitate the movement of affiliated persons towards the United States.”
It seems as though only an event like that, its high visibility causing a political problem far worse than a Del Rio migrant camp, might awaken the Biden administration to what professional federal experts so successfully foretold in their thoroughly ignored October 2020 assessment.