Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security declared victory over the border crisis this week as a result of recent policy changes. They may come to wish they hadn’t.
With Eric Adams and other sanctuary mayors bemoaning the effects on their cities from a tiny sliver of the border surge, the administration responded with Biden’s short drop-in at the border, and certain policy changes. Those measures, billed as “New Border Enforcement Actions,” included applying Title 42 automatic expulsions to border-jumpers from four countries that had been exempt: Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti.
That’s good as far as it goes. The number of people from those four countries arrested crossing the border illegally has reportedly dropped more than 90% over the past week. Illegals from those four countries made up about 38% of all border arrests in December, so if they’re out of the picture then January could see the lowest number of apprehensions since February 2021, when the new administration sparked the border crisis. The Biden-friendly media duly reported this new storyline, and can now go back to ignoring the border.
But while the administration and its media groupies may not be interested in the border, the border is interested in them. There are two reasons the border crisis isn’t over yet.
First, the arrest numbers will go back up. Border-jumpers from the other 190-odd countries of the world in December totaled “only” 137,000, which is low by the ridiculous standards of the Biden administration, but is still nearly double the number from December 2020, the last full month under Trump.
The four countries Biden targeted did send a lot of illegal immigrants in December, but even that’s a new development; two years previously, they accounted for barely 5% of border arrests.
And just because wannabe illegal migrants from those four countries have decided (for now) to hold back, it doesn’t mean those from other countries are sitting still. While the totals are lower, the number of border-jumpers in December from India and Turkey, for instance, were triple the year before; Peru nine times higher; Colombia 10 times, China 14 times, Ecuador 24 times higher.
And the threat to expel border-crossers from the four countries is based on Title 42, a COVID-related measure that the administration is actively trying to end. What happens when it succeeds, as it eventually must? And anyway, Mexico has agreed to take back only 30,000 illegal immigrants from those countries per month — what happens to Mr. 30,001? He’ll be released into the U.S., of course.
The other reason the border issue isn’t going away is that the threat of expulsions is being offset by a new illegal scheme to just wave in people from those countries “legally.” The administration has no intention of stopping the flow of inadmissible foreigners across the border; instead, it plans to relabel them as legal and — poof! — make problem disappear.
Biden is using something called immigration parole, which Congress created to allow the authorities to let in a handful of emergency cases where there is no time to get a visa. Under Biden this tiny loophole is swallowing the whole immigration system.
Even before this latest ploy to parole in up to 360,000 people from the four countries, Biden has been paroling in hundreds of thousands of others, many of them via an app called CBP One, which is like the OpenTable app but for visa-less foreigners — call it the OpenBorders app.
But that’s not what parole is for. As a congressional committee reported in 1996, “the parole authority was intended to be used on a case-by-case basis to meet specific needs, and not as a supplement to Congressionally established immigration policy.”
It’s for that reason that there are now two lawsuits challenging the administration’s flagrantly illegal use of parole. The state of Florida is suing over the administration’s whole anti-borders agenda, including the abuse of parole, while Texas and 19 other states just filed suit this week to stop this latest parole scheme.
More than 15,000 people from these four countries who would have come illegally have already been paroled in (most from Venezuela, since the program was applied to them starting in October). The likelihood that any of them will leave after their two years of parole is over is basically zero, whether or not they succeed in claiming asylum. But there may not be many more, depending on the outcome of these lawsuits. If the courts do their job, the administration will be foiled in its scheme to hide illegal immigration at the border.
Written by Mark Krikorian for Center for Immigration Studies ~ January 27, 2023