As The Daily Wire has reported, the current migrant influx crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border is unprecedented in modern history. Consider what Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, recently told Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz in an interview:
Just how bad is it? Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told me emphatically that this is the “absolute worst” he’s seen it in 21 years of his work on the border. “We have never seen what we are dealing with today. It’s unprecedented and we’re in uncharted waters.”
Judd stressed the fact that while there were years where we had up to 1.5 million apprehensions during the 1990s and early 2000s, those were total arrests, not total number of people arrested. That is because almost all of those crossing were single adults from Mexico who were repatriated back to Mexico almost immediately. As such, many tried to come back again, and Border Patrol counted new arrests of the same individual multiple times. “Last decade, we arrested the same people multiple times in one year. For example, I caught the same group of seven people three times in the same shift, so although I made 21 arrests, it was still only seven people.”
Furthermore, as I noted in an op-ed last week, the March numbers reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) somehow exacerbate our problem even more. According to CBP’s press release that accompanied its report:
In Fiscal Year 2019 to date, the U.S. Border Patrol has seen a more than 370% increase in the number of family units apprehended compared to the same time period in FY2018. Today, 60% of apprehensions along the Southwest border are family units and unaccompanied children, made up predominantly of individuals from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Additionally, through the first six months of FY19, CBP has encountered 104 large groups composed of 100 or more individuals totaling 17,242 apprehensions. In comparison, U.S. Border Patrol encountered 13 large groups in FY2018 and two in FY2017.
The root cause of much of the migration, as The Daily Wire reported yesterday, is the systemic loosening of our statutory asylum law to cover many economically motivated migrants — which is in direct conflict with the legal requirement, under 8 U.S.C. § 1158(b)(1)(B)(i), that asylum is only properly considered for migrants who have been persecuted in their native countries for “race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” But, under the erroneous prevailing status quo wherein a mention of “credible fear of persecution” to a U.S. border agent amounts to something closely akin to magical words granting automatic entry (and often a subsequent quick release, pending a follow-up adjudication hearing for which an alien may or may not show up), asylum claims have skyrocketed. As Rachel Bovard noted at American Greatness in October, “asylum cases more than octupled from 5,523 in 2009 to 81,864 in 2016” — and the trend has only metastasized under President Trump.
Enter Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a perhaps-unlikely prospective legislative hero. (Among other immigration-related historical deviances from conservative orthodoxy on the issue, Graham was a co-sponsor of the failed “Gang of Eight” amnesty bill in 2013.) The senior senator from South Carolina appears to now be focused on legislatively rectifying the underlying asylum loophole problem.
Per The Washington Times:
Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday he will be introducing a proposal to change U.S. asylum laws, saying the only way to stop the crisis at the southern border is to toughen up asylum standards.
The South Carolina Republican said a wall and military personnel at the border helps control the flow of migrants coming from Central American countries, but won’t completely stop the problem.
“We have to change these laws so people stop coming,” Mr. Graham told Fox News during an appearance on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“Doing what we are doing is not working … the crisis has to come to an end,” he added.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee said lawmakers will mark up a bill once they return from recess later this month.
According to the Times, Graham also wishes to legislatively amend the now-infamous Flores consent decree, which has hamstrung much of the Trump administration’s detention and enforcement efforts with respect to alien children.
Alas, due to Democratic control of the House, Graham likely faces steep odds of successfully getting anything passed and over to the president’s desk.