One of Joe Biden’s actions on his very first day in office as the 46th President of the United States was to issue a proclamation ending the previous administration’s national emergency declaration and halting all border wall construction on our border with Mexico (the construction officially comes to an end on the night of Tuesday, January 26). Thus, with a few strokes of a pen, President Biden has sent a signal to prospective illegal aliens that an America under his watch is no longer serious about border security. And, in conjunction with his flurry of other executive actions on immigration, the new president has – whether he realizes it or not – essentially unfurled a red carpet on the southwestern border and paved the way for another migrant crisis.
Admittedly, it is understandable that politicians may wish to undo the policies of their opponents/predecessors. As many Democrats would point out, Donald Trump undoubtedly reversed – or attempted to roll back – Barack Obama’s “legacy.” It is also true that candidate Biden indeed vowed to halt all border wall construction, so his first-day move may simply be explained as a politician fulfilling his promises and keeping his base happy. Even so, a prudent leader must avoid taking actions that are reckless and irresponsible – which is exactly what the presidential proclamation in question is.
By the time Mr. Biden’s predecessor left the White House, 452 miles of border wall had been built or updated, out of a total of 738 miles that the previous administration was planning to construct. Whether that is a glass half-full, or a glass half-empty, is a matter of interpretation, although it is important to keep in mind that this progress occurred in the face of tremendous opposition and obstruction. At the end of the day, however, the previous administration left the current one a much more secure southwestern border than it inherited (from an administration in which Mr. Biden served as Vice President, by the way). Instead of taking advantage of it, or using it as leverage, he is simply throwing out the proverbial baby with the bath water.
Although Mr. Biden’s proclamation does not go as far as some of his left-wing, open-borders supporters – who actually called for the wall, or parts of it to be torn down – want, it nevertheless effectively undermines the deterrent effect of the border wall. The areas in which the previous administration planned to build a wall, but which will now be left wall-less thanks to the new proclamation, will undoubtedly be exploited by coyotes, human traffickers, drug cartels and illegal aliens, so the Border Patrol will certainly have its work cut out for it.
Southwest border apprehensions have been going up in recent months, approaching historically high levels in December 2020 when more than 73,000 illegal aliens were apprehended. January 2021 numbers are not out yet, but, alarmingly, in the first three months of Fiscal Year 2021 (which began last October) alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended 216,000 illegal border crossers – almost half of the total apprehensions (458,000) for the entire Fiscal Year 2020. If this trend continues – and the president’s recent executive actions, including the proclamation ending the national emergency and border wall construction can only exacerbate it – Mr. Biden will likely face an epic border crisis of his own making.