To restore order at the border, Democrats must fund enforcing the law, not handouts to cities and migrants

By Andrew R. Arthur on December 19, 2022

New York Post, December 19, 2022

President Joe Biden inherited what his first Border Patrol chief called “arguably the most effective border security in” history. Operational control rapidly disintegrated, however, as Biden reversed nearly all of President Donald Trump’s successful border policies without implementing his own promised “guardrails” to prevent a wave of illegal entries.

With Title 42 possibly ending this week, sanctuary-city mayors like Eric Adams are calling for federal aid for what’s expected to be an even bigger deluge. To restore order, taxpayers should demand the administration detain all illegal entrants — as the law already requires — and Congress pay for detention beds, not border-related handouts to municipalities and migrants themselves.

In the decade between fiscal year 2011 and FY 2020, agents at the southwest border apprehended 4.27 million illegal migrants — 1,170 per day, on average. Under Biden, Border Patrol has apprehended more than 3.785 million migrants at the US-Mexico line — 5,933 per day, or roughly six times Border Patrol’s capacity.

Of all the Trump-era border policies that Biden eliminated, the most prominent and effective was the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), better known as “Remain in Mexico.”

The Department of Homeland Security determined in an October 2019 assessment that MPP was “an indispensable tool in addressing the ongoing crisis at” the border and “restoring integrity to the immigration system.” Nonetheless, Biden’s Department of Justice has been fighting efforts by states affected by illegal immigration to force DHS to reimplement Remain in Mexico since April 2021.

A federal district court recently granted those states’ request to stay DHS’s latest attempt at ending MPP, but courts can’t force Biden to send any migrant back across the border.

Title 42 was the only Trump-era border policy Biden maintained, likely because it was based on pandemic emergency orders the administration is using to maintain Medicaid expansions and forgive student-loan debt. Nevertheless, Biden tried to end Title 42 effective May 23, only to be prevented from doing so by a federal court in Louisiana May 20.

Even while the administration was appealing that order, it was also defending Title 42 in a suit migrants and advocates brought in DC federal court. In November, the judge in that case vacated Title 42, and it was slated to end Wednesday until Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts halted that Monday.

If Title 42 does end, up to 14,000 migrants per day will pour illegally across the southwest border, overwhelming already-overworked agents and swamping DHS processing facilities.

DHS recently released an update on its plans to handle that surge, which largely entail sending additional resources to release migrants into the United States more quickly.

That will devastate border communities (the Democrat-controlled El Paso, Texas, declared a state of emergency Saturday) and further drain resources in cities where those migrants are headed.

One of those is New York City, where Mayor Eric Adams (D) is calling for more federal aid (he’s already asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for $1 billion, which exceeds the administration’s recent congressional request for migrant assistance by $180 million) even while warning about a deluge of new arrivals if Title 42 ends.

More resources are needed to address Biden’s border fiasco, but that money should go to detention, not handouts to cities and migrants.

Congress requires DHS to detain illegal entrants while they’re in the asylum process, and the administration’s flouting of that mandate has driven the border surge. Regardless of whatever other reasons they have for entering illegally, every migrant comes to live and work here, and if he or she can’t do so until granted asylum, few will pay thousands in smuggling fees to make the trip.

Like detention, Remain in Mexico dissuaded illegal migrants from entering illegally and filing fraudulent claims simply to live and work here — and it was created because congressional Democrats (and more than a few Republicans) wouldn’t provide the funding DHS needed to satisfy Congress’ detention mandate.

And MPP worked: Migrants with bogus asylum claims stopped coming and went home once they realized those claims no longer constituted a “free ticket” into this country.

Complaints that migrant detention isn’t “humane” are uninformed — and there’s little humanity in Biden’s border policies. A record number of migrants died in FY 2022 entering illegally, even while Border Patrol searches and rescues nearly doubled.

That’s just on this side of the border. A 2019 bipartisan federal report detailed the horrors (rape, robbery, kidnapping, etc.) to which migrants are subjected on the trip north. If anything, things have only gotten worse since then.

Biden’s response to the border disaster he’s created is to spend more money funneling more migrants into the country. That waste of taxpayer dollars will just exacerbate the problem by encouraging more aliens to enter illegally. Biden is unlikely to reinstate Remain in Mexico, so Americans — and their elected representatives — should demand that money go to migrant detention, the only other proven deterrent to illegal entries, instead.