June 15, 2021

Biden Border Crisis: Manufactured Chaos


KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The Biden administration created a border crisis in its first few months after it repealed security measures and signaled that enforcement is no longer a priority.
  • The president’s solution is to ignore the crisis, reduce the Department of Homeland Security’s border budget, and give U.S. taxpayer money to countries with a history of corruption.
  • Leaders in the region are taking note and blaming the Biden administration for the immigration crisis.

President Biden manufactured the current crisis at the border by reversing controls implemented by the Trump administration that were effectively keeping our border secure. Just a few months after Biden entered office, the border is in crisis as the new administration reverses security measures and arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plummet. Encounters with border crossers increased from 23,237 in May 2020 to 180,034 in May of 2021, a 675% increase and decade high. This follows 178,854 people encountered in April. Total border encounters in the first eight months of this fiscal year have almost doubled from the entire fiscal year 2020.

Southwest Land Encounters by Month

Border Encounters

Rapid rollback of solutions that worked

In March, the president of Mexico confirmed that the Biden policies at the border are incentivizing illegal crossings at our southern border. From President Biden’s first day in office, the administration recklessly cast aside President Trump’s border security measures for political reasons. The previous approach not only kept the American public safe and enforced an orderly immigration system, it built on lessons learned from the border crises of 2014 and 2019. Because of those measures, border encounters dropped from 109,419 near the height of the 2019 crisis in April of that year to 17,106 in April 2020.

The Biden administration halted the construction of the border wall and revoked a 2017 executive order calling for stricter enforcement of immigration laws. It also cancelled the Migrant Protection Protocols and the State Department suspended asylum cooperation agreements, known as safe third country agreements, with the Northern Triangle countries: El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. These agreements had strengthened the asylum system in the region, allowing the countries to honor their commitment to international asylum and refugee agreements.

President Biden continues to incentivize people to send their children on a dangerous journey from Central America to the U.S. border by exempting them from expulsions meant to keep Americans safe from the coronavirus.

Democrats’ misdirected solutions

The Biden administration and Democrats in Congress continue to turn a blind eye to the border. Vice President Harris, who leads the administration’s response, still has not visited the border to see the situation for herself. If she did, the administration might realize that it warrants immediate action. Democrats’ proposals do not focus on rapid solutions close to home, but on long-term handouts to the Northern Triangle countries. In her recent visit to Guatemala, Harris dodged questions about why she still has yet to visit the border: “And I haven’t been to Europe … I don’t understand the point that you’re making.”

On the vice president’s trip, she met with the president of Guatemala, who also blames the Biden administration’s messaging for the surge of human smuggling. In a typical response from the progressive left, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez expressed outrage that the vice president had told Guatemalans not to come to the United States.

Democrats have offered legislation that would authorize $4 billion over four years to address “root causes” of immigration from the Northern Triangle. Of this, $2 billion would go to these countries that are struggling with corruption without any preconditions. The aid would promote liberal causes in the region and would do little to respond to underlying economic conditions there.

At the same time, the administration is cancelling border wall contracts and defunding border security measures. President Biden doubled down on this approach in his budget by flatlining the request for the Department of Homeland Security and deeply cutting funding for border security technology. At the same time, the president has transferred money to the Department of Health and Human Services in response to developments on the border and proposed to more than double the budget for HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Until the Biden administration decides to take this crisis seriously, including by implementing proven policies to strengthen border enforcement and visiting the border, the human tragedy unfolding on the border will continue.

Issue Tag: National Security