Biden will be facing a crisis at the border shortly. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Border Patrol agents made 78,000 arrests last month. That is an increase since December, and since migration levels are usually lower in the winter and rise in the spring, it is cause for concern:
Arrests in January were the largest number that immigration authorities have recorded for any January in more than a decade. The mix of migrants stayed largely steady from previous months, with single adults from Mexico accounting for most of the arrests, and families and unaccompanied children ticking up.
The author notes this is a demographic shift from the general flow over the border beginning in 2014. For the last few years, the border has seen large numbers of families migrating from Central America. The Trump administration worked with those countries to secure their borders and return migrants to their countries of origin to apply for asylum. The Biden administration is terminating those agreements. According to ABC News:
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday the administration had notified El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that it had started the formal process of terminating agreements that had been part of Trump’s effort to restrict asylum.
The agreements, which had been on hold since early in the coronavirus pandemic, required many people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to go instead to one of the three Central American countries and pursue their claims there.
“The Biden administration believes there are more suitable ways to work with our partner governments to manage migration across the region,” Blinken said in a statement announcing the immediate suspension of the agreements and their eventual termination.
So while we see an uptick in single men from Mexico and unaccompanied children right now, we also hear about caravans organizing in Central America and heading north before these reversals. Now that it is clear the U.S. will not return migrants to their own countries to apply for asylum, it is realistic to expect these caravans will resume.
The Journal notes that Mexico is experiencing an economic slump, motivating people to look for work over the border. A pair of hurricanes also hit Central America late last year, wiping out homes, farmland, and infrastructure. The leaders of Honduras and Guatemala asked the U.N. for aid to overcome the devastation, which has been compounded by the pandemic. Many residents lost everything and, rather than rebuild, were talking about migrating.
Authorities report that human traffickers are emboldened and advertising the Biden administration’s new policies. These include a 100-day moratorium on deportations that effectively abolished ICE by restricting its activity, terminating the Remain in Mexico policy for migrants seeking asylum, and publicly stating that the administration would be seeking a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants. Economic and hurricane devastation aside, a rush to the border was utterly predictable.
As my colleague Bryan Preston pointed out, Mexico is currently a hotbed of COVID-19. Migrants from Central America will be passing through Mexico to get to the border. While the administration has pledged to test all asylum seekers, it is unclear if it has the resources to do this. Because there are COVID-19 capacity restrictions in holding facilities, some migrants receive a Notice to Appear and get released into the United States. During the Obama administration, this was called a catch-and-release policy. It appears that is where we are headed back to when it comes to families with children.
U.S. officials know that these incentives lead to tragic outcomes. Human traffickers kidnap, recycle, and abuse children to get adult counterparts that are not relatives released into the United States. Senators James Langford (R-Okla.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) wrote an op-ed in USA Today in 2019, rejecting the radical Left’s call to abolish ICE:
The flood of migrants has created an undeniable humanitarian crisis. The recent exponential increases are a direct result of our outdated immigration laws and the snowball effect of refusing to properly fund ICE. Border Patrol agents are doing everything they can to manage a humanitarian crisis they are neither trained nor equipped to handle. If our Democratic colleagues continue to work to defund or abolish ICE, people will continue to stack up at the border with nowhere to go.
They went on to say precisely who these lax border policies benefit:
However, if we ignore our illegal entry problem, we just help the cartels and ignore the real humanitarian crisis. We can and must address the challenges at our border.
It’s time we stop child smuggling and human trafficking, fix the loopholes that exist in our immigration laws, and support the hardworking women and men of our federal law enforcement.
The Biden administration’s new and proposed policies will embolden these criminal organizations and result in tragedy for thousands of women and children on their way to the southern border. The incentives they provide, including the prohibition of deporting illegal immigrants convicted of a crime, make America less safe and secure for its citizens. Amid a pandemic affecting the U.S. economy, these policies also ignore the threats to Americans’ health and prosperity. For President Biden, it is America and Americans last.
WATCH: Is the White House attempting to vaccinate illegal immigrants before Americans?