The Answer to Slowing the Border Surge is Obvious

The Washington Post is on a roll. A piece published in their Monkey Cage analysis section tells us that “There’s no migrant ‘surge’ at the U.S. southern border.” Ignoring historic highs surpassing the 2019 surge (which the same paper called a crisis), the authors take the position that the current surge is simply reflecting seasonal trends. It gets better. The authors write, “we analyzed monthly CBP [Customs and Border Protection] data from 2012 to now and found no crisis or surge that can be attributed to Biden administration policies” (emphasis added).

This is, of course, patently false. It is laughably false. The Biden administration all but admitted their policies caused the surge in asylum-seeking aliens when Roberta Jacobson, Biden’s border czar, said that “migrants respond to hope” – the hope being Joe Biden’s election as president after months of promising citizenship for every illegal alien present in the country. The Post’s Monkey Cage is merely acting as an arm of the Biden administration’s communications team by regurgitating Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas’ assertion that the border surge is not a crisis, but merely a challenge.

In another piece published on the same day, the Post reports that the “Biden team [is]searching for new ways to slow [the]border surge.” Of course, none of the suggestions floated by the Biden administration would slow the surge. While it is anathema to the political appointees at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Biden’s team in the White House, the answer to controlling the current border crisis is to adopt the previous administration’s policies that ended the 2019 crisis.

In three steps, the Biden administration could curtail the current crisis.

First, reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly referred to as the Remain-in-Mexico policy. Under MPP, CBP kept asylum-seeking migrants in Mexico while their asylum cases navigated through the immigration courts. This allowed migrants to apply for asylum, but prevented them from establishing roots in the United States. Our immigration courts reject the majority of asylum claims, and letting illegal aliens live in the U.S. for years and years until their final rejection is simply not a sound way to treat people who have no legitimate business living in the United States. In many cases, those who are in the United States remain here even after they asylum claims have been denied. The Remain-in-Mexico policy was particularly effective at dramatically reducing the 2019 border surge.

Second, reinstate the individual asylum agreements that the U.S. entered into with Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. These agreements acted as de facto “safe third country” treaties. Any migrant from the Northern Triangle countries had to first apply for asylum in another country before coming to the United States. Any alien arriving to the U.S. border without having done so could not qualify for asylum. Like MPP, this helped the Trump administration wind down the 2019 surge, but the effects of these agreements took some months to fully materialize.

Third, reinstate Title 42 for unaccompanied alien children (UAC). The Trump administration invoked Title 42 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing our border authorities to remove all aliens apprehended at the southern border. Biden kept Title 42 in place for adults and family units, but strangely ended it for UACs. Unsurprisingly, Central American families, human traffickers, and coyotes responded by sending as many children as they could to the southern border, confident that they could enter the United States. The result is devastating and playing out before us at this very moment.

Solving the border crisis will take time, but it is not rocket science. If the Biden administration is actually serious about ending this surge, they need look no further than the previous administration’s policies, policies which they ended. The cessation of MPP and the Northern Triangle asylum agreements, plus Biden’s campaign promises, created this mess. The only way to fix it is to reinstate them.

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