Top officials are warning that factors in Latin America combined with Democrat Joe Biden’s immigration policies are already causing a surge in the number of foreign nationals arriving at the United States’ southern border and that the situation may get worse.
Acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan suggested that Biden’s proposed policies are contributing to the chaos at the border, saying, “cartels and human smugglers are fueling perceptions that our borders will once again be wide open, and that we will be reinstating the loopholes that have been closed.”
“If your policy consists of stopping deportation for almost four months, discontinuing or not supporting Title 42, revoking the Migrant Protection Protocols,” Morgan continued as he listed off Biden’s immigration policies, “the message you’re sending is clear and simple: We have open borders.”
A number of factors are contributing to the surge including hurricanes that have damaged Central America, weak economies made even weaker by the coronavirus pandemic, and the expected lax immigration policies of the incoming Biden administration. Detentions in October increased by 30% from September and the number of foreign nationals attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. last month saw a 64% increase compared to November of last year.
T. Alexander Aleinikoff, director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at the New School in New York, told The New York Times: “If there is a perception of more-humane policies, you are likely to see an increase of arrivals at the border.”
One of Biden’s proposed policies is granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens that are currently in the U.S., something that he said last month that he would do within his first 100 days in office.
“I’m going to make a commitment in the first 100 days, I will send an immigration bill to the United States Senate with a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people in America,” Biden said last month. “I will also be moving to do away with some of the I think very damaging executive orders that have significantly impacted on making the climate worse and making us less healthy.”
The New York Times noted that while some perceive the Trump administration’s policies at the Southern Border as harsh — specifically the Migrant Protection Protocols, or “return to Mexico” — “it had the intended outcome of significantly reducing flows and compelling thousands of migrants already at the border to turn around and go home.”
The New York Times reported:
…Swiftly reversing Trump administration policies could be construed as opening the floodgates, risking a rush to the border that could quickly devolve into a humanitarian crisis. … Because the “return to Mexico” policy is not codified by regulation, it could be immediately rescinded by the president-elect.
But the optics of large numbers of migrants suddenly being waved into the United States, or detained in facilities at the border, would create a public-relations nightmare for the new administration and almost certainly draw fierce condemnation from both immigration restrictionists and pro-immigrant activists, for different reasons. …
Any misstep would threaten a replay of 2014 and 2016, when the Obama administration scrambled to stem a chaotic influx of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Human-rights groups were outraged when families and children were locked up and deportations were accelerated. Immigration hard-liners attacked Mr. Obama for allowing tens of thousands to enter the United States and remain in the country while their asylum cases wound through the courts, which can take years.
“The new administration is going to have to find a way to push back on unrestrained, unauthorized migration with humane enforcement while dealing with people seeking asylum in an expeditious way that recognizes their legitimate claims,” Michael Chertoff, secretary of Homeland Security during the Bush administration, told The New York Times. “It’s not going to be 10 minutes after inauguration, everybody come on in.”
The New York Times noted that Biden has said that he will stop construction of the border wall, despite evidence that border barriers are effective, and that the politically-motivated move will likely be financially very costly.
And while Mr. Biden has said that he will cease construction of a wall, Mr. Trump’s signature project, there is no sign that his administration will refrain from deploying boots on the ground and sophisticated technology to capture border crossers.
Reuters reported this week that Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said that he expects a surge in the number of foreign nationals trying to come to the U.S. and that the solution for stopping that is to provide more assistance to Latin America so that problems there can be fixed and people won’t be so motivated to leave.
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