It’s a policy choice. Nevertheless, the Biden administration and allied media are speaking of the massive influx at the southern border as if it were a hurricane or a business-cycle recession — a common but unpredictable phenomenon that the current president just happens to be stuck with. That’s why a reporter recently demanded that Ted Cruz explain what he has been doing to secure the border in his time as a Texas senator. It’s also why the administration insisted that the initial surge in 2021 was “seasonal”, then began to redirect blame to “root causes”, and now finally complains that Congress should have passed reform legislation 20 years ago.
The truth is that the Biden administration has chosen to allow millions of migrants to enter the U.S. without visas. In fact, rarely in public policy is cause and effect as obvious as it is here. The Trump administration had ended the massive flows principally by requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases were adjudicated. Because most of these asylum seekers were actually economic migrants who are ineligible for asylum under traditional rules, they simply went home rather than wait for the hearing. Their failure to gain entry then discouraged other would-be migrants from making the trip.
President Biden moved to abandon the Remain in Mexico policy upon taking office, sparking new migrant waves. Unwilling or unable to detain all of these new asylum applicants pending a hearing, his administration is releasing them into the U.S. on “parole”. As my colleague George Fishman has explained, Congress did not intend the president’s parole power to be an end-run around the legal immigration system. Parole is for “urgent humanitarian reasons” or a “significant public benefit”, each determined “only on a case-by-case basis”. Many presidents have abused the parole authority, but the Biden administration has taken the abuse to a new level by waving through visa-less migrants on a mass scale, even to the point of offering parole to hundreds of thousands of people who have yet to travel to the U.S. . . .