President Joe Biden’s disastrous performance as president does not simply happen by accident; it takes planning. In the name of transforming America, every one of the Biden administration’s actions harm Americans while favoring core Democratic constituencies. America’s uncontrolled border with Mexico offers a perfect illustration of the way Biden’s intended policies leave U.S. citizens unprotected, while shielding lawbreakers from the consequences of their actions.
Fiscal year 2021, which began in October 2020, broke the record for the largest influx of illegal immigrants in U.S. history on record. As more than 1.7 million illegal aliens crossed the southern border during that 12 month period, deportations fell by 90% over pre-pandemic levels from January 21 to July 9, even as illegal immigration skyrocketed.
“Immigration enforcement, as measured by the number of aliens removed from the country, has collapsed to the lowest level since the mid-1990s, according to ICE deportation records the Center has obtained. Under policies imposed by the Biden administration, removals dropped by 80 percent since last year’s low point during the pandemic lockdown, and by 90 percent since 2019, the last normal year for ICE operations,” wrote Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. “The number of aliens removed who had serious criminal convictions also has declined by over 50 percent from 2020 and by 65 percent since 2019.”
The Biden administration, like the Obama-Biden administration, has constantly blamed the lack of deportations on “limited resources,” but the numbers give the lie to this. In March 2011, then-ICE Director John Morton wrote that ICE “only has resources to remove approximately 400,000 aliens per year,” and ICE removed 396,906 illegal immigrants that year. Yet in the intervening decade, ICE has added more officers (and more taxpayers’ funding), while slashing the level of deportations. “[W]hen Morton made that claim, ICE had 20,142 employees and a budget of $5.342 billion,” wrote Andrew R. Arthur of CIS. “By FY 2021, ICE had funding for 21,102 employees (a modest increase of almost 4.8 percent) and a budget of $7.875 billion (a significantly less modest 47.4 percent increase).” But, according to the report Vaughan cited, ICE removed only 62,000 illegal immigrants in the 2021 fiscal year which, Arthur noted, represents “a decrease of more than 84 percent since FY 2011.”
The precipitous drop in deportations certainly does not stem from a lack of opportunity. Border Patrol agents encountered a total of 1,734,686 illegal immigrants at the southern border during FY 2021. The artificial reduction has nothing whatsoever to do with Border Patrol agents’ inability or unwillingness to do their job. Deportations have plummeted because of deliberate policies crafted before Joe Biden came to power and enacted by the Democratic administration since literally its first day in the White House.
A chronological account of how Joe Biden opened America’s borders
During the 2020 presidential election, candidates Biden and Kamala Harris promised “free” health care for anyone who could reach U.S. shores and rolled out an eight-year amnesty plan that would grant U.S. citizenship to most illegal immigrants in the country. The Democrats began prioritizing illegal immigrants from day one.
On his first day in office, Joe Biden signed a flurry of executive orders that terminated construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall, ended President Trump’s anti-terror travel ban, and ordered the Census Bureau to count illegal immigrants toward a state’s population “for purposes of congressional representation, without regard to whether its residents are in lawful immigration status.” The last policy rewarded states and localities that turn a blind eye to illegal immigration with a greater voice in Congress and a larger claim on federal funds.
The same day, January 20, Biden’s political appointees made it more difficult for border enforcement agents to do their jobs. Then-Acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske issued a memo decreeing that, henceforth, the department would “prioritize” deporting illegal aliens who fell into one of three categories: those suspected of threatening national security, those convicted and released from jail after committing an “aggravated felony,” and those “who were not physically present in the United States before November 1, 2020.” In practice, that meant the Biden administration would deport virtually no one who did not fall into one of those categories.
Subsequent policies hardly improved the situation. On February 18, Acting ICE Director Tae Johnson broadened the categories a bit, graciously allowing ICE to deport illegal aliens who “intentionally participated in an organized criminal gang … to further the illegal activity of the gang or transnational criminal organization” and are at least 16 years old.
As illegal border crossings exploded compared to pre-pandemic levels, President Biden signaled his desire to further deprive ICE of enforcement resources. In June, President Biden requested only enough funds to detain 30,000 illegal immigrants a day — a reduction of 1,500 from the previous year, despite higher illegal foot traffic along the Southwest Border.
The Biden administration also moved to make it easier for agents to release those caught crossing the border illegally. Under existing law, the administration can grant “parole” to illegal immigrants “only on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.” On August 20, the Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a revision making it easier to grant illegal aliens “parole” when the administration determines detention is “impracticable.”
The Biden administration also literally took away the resources Border Patrol agents use to stop illegal border crossings — and save the lives of those stranded by human smugglers. The legacy media engaged in a feeding frenzy over Border Patrol agents who allegedly used whips on Haitian “migrants” in Del Rio, Texas. President Biden personally vowed, “I promise you, those people will pay. There will be an investigation underway now and there will be consequences.” The DHS declined to investigate mounted agents because Border Patrol agents do not have whips, and nothing in the photos showed any agent harming anyone. They were instead swinging their reins, something officers say they do to keep migrants from being tramped by their horses. Nonetheless, on September 23, Jan Psaki announced that the administration had banned Border Patrol agents from using horses.
A week later, DHS added a new host of exceptions to immigration enforcement, while putatively increasing border enforcement. On September 30, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released new guidelines that allow broader arrests, in theory — but first, the administration must perform a complicated evaluation of the detainee’s entire life history. “Whether a noncitizen poses a current threat to public safety is not to be determined according to bright lines or categories,” he wrote. “It instead requires an assessment of the individual and the totality of the facts and circumstances.” Mayorkas’ memo explained:
There can be aggravating factors that militate in favor of enforcement action. Such factors can include, for example:
- the gravity of the offense of conviction and the sentence imposed;
- the nature and degree of harm caused by the criminal offense;
- the sophistication of the criminal offense;
- use or threatened use of a firearm or dangerous weapon;
- a serious prior criminal record.
Conversely, there can be mitigating factors that militate in favor of declining enforcement action. Such factors can include, for example:
- advanced or tender age;
- lengthy presence in the United States;
- a mental condition that may have contributed to the criminal conduct, or a physical or mental condition requiring care or treatment;
- status as a victim of crime or victim, witness, or party in legal proceedings;
- the impact of removal on family in the United States, such as loss of provider or caregiver;
- whether the noncitizen may be eligible for humanitarian protection or other immigration relief;
- military or other public service of the noncitizen or their immediate family;
- time since an offense and evidence of rehabilitation;
- conviction was vacated or expunged.
Under this list, which is “not exhaustive,” a violent criminal alien could be rewarded if he has evaded deportation long enough or has a mental condition that could lead him to commit future violent crimes against U.S. citizens.
Although Mayorkas admits this new process is “complicated and requires investigative work,” it is worth it to avoid unduly inconveniencing illegal immigrants. “The gravity of an apprehension and removal on a noncitizen’s life … warrants the dedication of investigative and evaluative effort,” Mayorkas wrote.
By changing deportation from a simple matter of law enforcement to a subjective call based on an ill-defined algebra equation, the Biden administration gummed up the gears of border security.
After the memo’s release, The Washington Times’ Stephen Dinan charged the Biden administration with lying about how Mayorkas produced the DHS memo: While DHS claimed to meet with a wide variety of stakeholders, including victims and law enforcement on the border, Mayorkas seemingly limited consultation to mostly left-wing, anti-borders organizations. For instance, the administration claimed to have discussed the upcoming guidelines with the National Sheriffs’ Association, but executive director Jonathan Thompson said, “We had no outreach, we had no discussions, no give and take, no input into the enforcement priorities.” Numerous other groups made similar claims. Those who were “consulted” said the administration never looked at their input. Clint McDonald, executive director of the Southwestern Border Sheriff’s Coalition, said he personally gave Mayorkas a list of recommended border enforcement actions, which he says Mayorkas admitted he never read.
Despite these open borders policies, the Biden administration remains dedicated to increasing illegal immigration at all costs. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the current version of President Biden’s signature legislation, the “Build Back Better” social spending bill, would grant amnesty to an estimated 6.5 million illegal immigrants, at an estimated cost of nearly half-a-trillion dollars ($483 billion) over 20 years.
Previous illegal immigration records in 1986 and 2001 were preceded by offers of amnesty. Allowing the number of illegal immigrants to overwhelm Border Patrol agents — while bureaucratically tying law enforcement’s hands and depriving them of the resources, authority, and respect they need to do their job — will only further reduce deportations.
Joe Biden has effectively ended deportations. Don’t call it incompetence; call it a perfectly executed blueprint to pay off his party’s core constituencies and “ create a governing coalition for the long-term.”
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.