New York Post, March 29, 2022
The chief of the Border Patrol says his agency is on track to make 2 million arrests of illegal immigrants this fiscal year, up 20% from the year before. That’s not counting the estimated 40,000 “gotaways” who elude the Border Patrol each month. The result is that since President Biden’s inauguration, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has grown by about 1 million.
And a Border Patrol overwhelmed with the “processing” of illegal migrants turning themselves in (knowing they’ll be released) is powerless to stop drug smuggling, which has also surged under Biden.
And things may be about to get much worse.
As early as Wednesday, the administration could lift the COVID-related public health order, known in jargon as Title 42, that has allowed the Border Patrol to quickly expel at least some of the hundreds of thousands of people drawn to our southern border by Biden’s rhetoric and lax policies.
If Title 42 is ended, the career professionals at the Department of Homeland Security are so afraid of a “mass migration event” that they’ve asked the Pentagon for help.
The asylum pipeline
And even if the administration briefly keeps some limited version of Title 42 in place for political reasons, almost everything else it’s doing is sending the signal to prospective illegal immigrants to come on down.
The new White House budget proposal asks for a cut in detention space for illegal immigrants. The administration has dramatically reduced not just overall deportations from inside the country, but even the deportations of convicted criminals — and is trying to hide that fact by cooking the books.
And a new rule contrived by DHS would “solve” the illegal immigration crisis once and for all by simply granting asylum to most border-jumpers on the spot, whether it’s warranted or not.
Federal law says that border-jumpers can be quickly thrown out under what’s called “expedited removal.” The catch is that if they say they fear being returned to their country (which almost all of them say, having been coached by smugglers and American immigration activists), they then enter the clogged asylum pipeline. And even though border-jumping asylum-seekers are supposed to be either detained or sent back across the border to wait for their hearing dates, the Biden administration is releasing most of them into the US under one expedient or another, mainly through massive abuse of the narrow “parole” authority granted by Congress.
This has sparked numerous court challenges by red-state attorneys general, and the lawsuits have seen some success. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on one such case in April.
But there’s only so much courts can do to force an administration to enforce the borders if it doesn’t want to. And this administration is stocked, from the president on down, with true believers who simply don’t accept the legitimacy of America’s borders.
There’s a limit even to what Congress can do. The current Democratic majorities in both houses — slim as they are — certainly won’t use the power of the purse to try to force the administration to change direction. Even when Republicans take the House (and perhaps the Senate) in November, stipulations in spending bills are more effective in stopping a president from doing something rather than compelling him to act.
One step Congress could take in 2023 would be to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. This would be less disruptive and risky than trying to remove the president (and wouldn’t put Kamala Harris in the Oval Office). And even if Democrats retained enough seats in the Senate to block Mayorkas’ removal from office, as is likely, his impeachment by the House would send a powerful signal that the administration’s anti-border policies are unacceptable and prepare the ground for restoring the borders under the next administration.