Rising Apprehensions Didn’t Stop Biden From Going Ahead with Reckless Executive Actions

In the months between his election and Joe Biden taking the oath of office, the normal migration decline seen in previous years during the winter months was not occurring. There was another unmistakable change afoot. Single adults from the Northern Triangle nations, not Mexico, were accounting for most of the apprehensions. Even before he had taken office, it was clear that promises of an easier asylum process, less enforcement and more amnesty was spurring migrants to come north.

The data were hiding in plain sight. Actually, monthly data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) charted the unseasonal increase. According to the data, there was an increase of 3 percent in illegal alien apprehensions between November and January, a period that historically would see a decrease in apprehensions. And there were 71,000 apprehensions, which were the highest numbers seen since July 2019.

It seemed for a brief moment that the Biden team might react to the warnings from border officials and on-the-ground evidence of a looming crisis. In late December, Associated Press noted President-elect Biden’s comments that it might take months for immigration changes to occur.

“His Tuesday comments echo those made by two of his top foreign policy advisers in an interview with Spanish wire service EFE on Monday hitting the brakes on rolling back Trump’s restrictive asylum policies. Susan Rice, Biden’s incoming domestic policy adviser, and Jake Sullivan, his pick for national security adviser, as well as Biden himself, warned that moving too quickly could create a new crisis at the border,” reported the AP.

On Inauguration Day, CBP reported that “a significant increase in apprehensions has occurred across Big Bend Sector in the last two days with smugglers pushing large groups” through the Valentine, Texas, area. Although there are many former Obama-Biden officials who witnessed first-hand the 2014 border crisis, no one thought to caution Biden about the risks of opening the floodgates with a slew of dangerous executive actions, including pausing the Remain in Mexico program and announcing a 100-day pause on deportations.

Biden’s acting head of Department of Homeland Security David Pekoske issued a memorandum ending nearly all removals for 100 days. Thankfully, that pause has been enjoined by a federal court.

But what really threw lighter fluid on the flaming border situation was halting the return of asylum petitioners to Mexico as was being done under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program. Rather than being required to make an asylum claim outside of the United States, the Biden administration began releasing asylum seekers and asking them to appear in court at a later date, which data proves is a failed approach.

Having ignored the smell of smoke and the sight of flames, President Biden lit a match and threw it on the southern border. The overflowing detention centers, overworked border agents and obvious benefit to human and drug traffickers was so, so predictable.

See below for a complete list of immigration executive actions Biden took on his first day in office:

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.