According to U.S. Border Patrol (CBP), in six and a half months their agents have apprehended more than 418,000 illegal aliens, which surpasses the total for FY2018. In the last six months, CBP has encountered, more than 3,000 fraudulent family units. And CBP had apprehended almost 1,000 illegal aliens, mostly family units, before 5 a.m. on April 16.
Anti-enforcement politicians and Democrats in Congress reflexively blame the Trump administration or Central American dictators. Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee (Wash.) even blamed the crisis on climate change.
They can point fingers and shift blame, but the truth is that Congress is largely responsible for the surge of economic migrants and for creating conditions that will produce a humanitarian disaster.
“The dramatic increase in [family unit]apprehensions over the past year is directly linked to the U.S. government — executive, legislative and judicial branches — creating ‘pull factors’ that incentivize migrants to bring a child with them to gain entry to and release into the U.S.,” said a new report from the Homeland Security Advisory Committee, a non-partisan federal advisory panel comprised of experts from state and local government, first responder communities, the private sector, and academia.
That is also the conclusion of those with direct experience dealing with the consequences of governmental ineptitude and inaction.
“It’s part of the fraud scheme that we’re seeing, because [migrants]know that they’ll be released into the United States if they have a child,” says Maria Michel-Manzo, Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC) with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
So, how can the trend be reversed?
The HSAC members’ recognition of the imperative for Congress and the Trump administration to act was reflected in their decision to release their report this week, rather than in May as planned.
Noting the catastrophe at the border is “further exacerbated” by the 2017 Flores decision, they recommend rolling it back “by exempting children accompanied by a parent or relative, who is acting as the guardian of the child.”
Furthermore, “because the expansion of Flores is contributing to the flow of accompanied children, many who are of tender age,” the report suggests that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should act promptly to limit it by emergency regulation until Congress acts.
Among the other recommendations is for Congress to pass legislation modifying asylum laws “so that a hearing and decision can be provided to family members within 20 or 30 days” and to amend current immigration law “to require border crossers to present asylum claims” at ports of entry unless “extraordinary circumstances exist.”
During his tour of McAllen, Texas, on Thursday, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan told reporters that the day before more than 4,800 illegal aliens crossed the border.
“It’s very clear that the cartel and smugglers know the weaknesses in our laws. They know that family units and unaccompanied children will be released with no consequences for their illegal entries,” he said.
McAleenan realizes the answer to the problem at the border will require congressional action to change the laws. The members of the Homeland Security Advisory Committee and the border agents know it. Members of Congress know it too, but the question is whether they will do anything about it.