President Joe Biden has essentially told the American people the buck does not stop at the Oval Office — at least not on the border crisis. Having dismantled many of the immigration policies the Trump administration used to regain control of our southern border, Biden administration officials now insist the current mess is somehow all Trump’s fault.
Unfortunately, the facts are not on their side. In truth, the Trump administration reformed a broken immigration system — one that had encouraged illegal migration, incentivized the most vulnerable to attempt an often deadly journey, and forced the Department of Homeland Security to release those they caught (in some cases criminals) into American communities.
Under President Trump, we applied long-standing immigration law, working with officials in Mexico and Central America to ensure those who were truly in fear of their governments applied for asylum closer to home. Furthermore, we assured those with lawful claims of asylum were allowed to enter. Meanwhile, those who did not have lawful claims gave up even trying.
As a result of these policies, we inherited a flood of fraudulent asylum claims and a massive backlog of cases. Unfortunately, this meant deserving individuals were waiting years to have their claims adjudicated. To meet this need, we hired roughly 500 new asylum officers to address the backlog, leading DHS and the U.S. Department of Justice to grant asylum to more individuals in Trump’s first three years in office than in the highest four years of Obama’s entire eight-year tenure.
The claim that the Biden administration inherited an immigration system “dismantled in its entirety” is quite dubious. If this was true, why have they turned to a number of Trump policies and programs to try to dig themselves out of the crisis they created?
For example, they’re using Title 42, a Trump-era public heath order, to return to Mexico single adults and families caught illegally entering the United States. Unfortunately, however, they’ve opted not to enforce Title 42 for minors. As such, instead of returning minors to their homes and families, the administration has advertised that any minor showing up at the border will be released into the United States, a dangerous and inhuman policy with tragic consequences.
The Biden administration is also relying on temporary facilities built or acquired during the Trump era. Of course, back then, the media wrongfully labeled them as “cages,” whereas now, such venues are simply branded “reception centers.” Americans are not fooled.
Additionally, the current administration is now leaning on Mexico to do more to enforce border controls. This, too, was a key element of Trump’s approach. It worked, but only in conjunction with other enforcement policies.
Biden is also using hotel rooms to house families that arrive here illegally, just as Trump did. The difference is, under Trump, they were held in hotels until they could be returned to their home countries. Now, they’re put up in hotels then released into American communities.
Biden jettisoned many successful Trump-era policies. Now that the floodgates are open, however, the Biden administration is falling back on some Trump procedures — if only in part. Unfortunately, it isn’t going to be enough to stem the unprecedented tide now rushing to our borders.
Before the pandemic, DHS handled the surge of illegal aliens by processing them in a safe and orderly fashion while protecting those in our custody. The Biden administration, however, appears focused on apprehending aliens and letting them go free in America as fast as possible, a state of affairs that will only lead to more illegal migration. Today, DHS has more than 10,000 migrants in custody. In November 2020, that number was just 800.
Worse, along certain areas of the border, because of the sheer number of children and families and the inability for them to be processed fast enough, the Biden administration now appears to be releasing illegal aliens directly from Border Patrol custody without issuing a Notice to Appear in court.
This defeatist move is destined to make a bad situation even worse. It means there is no longer any consequence for illegal entry. This, in turn, presents an unprecedented enticement to seek illegal entry. It’s a dangerous practice that needs to be reversed immediately.
Whether you agree with Trump’s immigration policies or not, there is no rational way to blame the current crisis on anything done by the previous administration. Biden and his team own this — no one else.