This is the sixth article in a series examining President Biden’s first 100 days in office and the border crisis he created in that time. The entire series can be found at ImmigrationReform.com
During the second presidential debate, Joe Biden pledged to overhaul the immigration policies of the Trump administration from ending the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) to pausing border wall construction and deportations. With border apprehensions rising steadily throughout the presidential transition, Trump administration officials began warning President-elect Biden of the consequences of weakening key policies that mitigated the 2019 border crisis.
Acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan bluntly stated in November, “If MPP is to go away it’ll be absolutely devastating.”
“If you remove MPP as well as other policies that critics have said they’re going to remove, make no mistake that is going to sound the alarm that our borders are open,” added Morgan, who is now a senior fellow at FAIR.
“[The Trump] administration has been successful in closing loopholes that Congress has refused to address again and again. The Administration’s message is clear: illegal immigrants will not be released into the country. They will be quickly returned to their country of origin,” he said.
That clear warning was delivered directly to the incoming administration, according to Chad Wolf, who served as acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary in 2020. He told National Public Radio (NPR) that he and non-political or career staff briefed Biden transition members about spikes in apprehensions in September and October 2020. Almost at the same time, migrant caravans in Central America began forming in the hope Biden would secure an electoral win and begin to open the border.
In December it appeared that the reality of the situation might be taking hold when Biden said he planned to follow a six-month timeline to roll back Trump administration policies “so that we, in fact, make it better not worse.” According to the Washington Post, “Biden said he was not dragging his feet but ‘setting up the guardrails’ to find a solution to the immigration issue, instead of creating a crisis ‘that complicates what we’re trying to do.’”
Well, on Day One Biden ran right over the guardrails with executive actions and agency directives that prioritized reunifying illegal alien families over enforcement. What happened was utterly predictable. Less than two weeks later, the New York Times reported that many immigrant advocacy organizations “had been anticipating Biden’s win to cause an uptick in people heading towards the border” and “a renewed influx would also put pressure on immigration courts already straining under a massive backlog of asylum cases.”
Some actions were simply illogical. For example, the administration decided in the early weeks to alter the application of Title 42, a provision of the 1944 Public Health and Safety Act that allows expulsion on public health reasons. It was a wholly sensible policy that the Trump administration activated in response to the global pandemic. Under pressure from interest groups, Biden chose to keep applying it to adults but to permit unaccompanied minors to enter the United States and, when applicable, to be reunited with family members living illegally in the country.
Again, what happened next was completely predictable. In February 2021, CBP reported a 61 percent increase in minors coming to the border, which Art Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies told the Austin American-Statesman is “a bigger spike than we’ve seen in any February ever.”
Even immigration activists like Jennifer Nagda, policy director at the nonprofit Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights expressed dismay at how unprepared they were for the surge. She told NPR that it is clear “that the federal government was unprepared to address [the surge in migrants]despite ample warning that it was coming their way.”
The result of adopting open borders policies is evident to anyone with open eyes.
“Tragically, the chaotic and dangerous situation at the U.S. southern border was predictable,” wrote Karen Tumulty in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled, “Chaos at the border was predictable. So why wasn’t Biden prepared?”
Bruno Lozano, the Democratic mayor of Del Rio, Texas, held nothing back in assigning blame for “predictable” border crisis and the negative impact it has had on border towns.
“It just blows my mind how disconnected from reality [the Biden administration is]or maybe they do know, maybe they just don’t want to call a spade a spade, you know, because it’s uncomfortable,” Mayor Lozano told the New York Post.
“When you create a system that incentivizes people to come across, and they are released, that immediately sends a message to Central America that if you come across you can stay,” Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) told the Washington Post. “It incentivizes droves of people to come, and the only way to slow it down is by changing policy at our doorstep. If they don’t change the policy, the flow of continued migration traffic isn’t going to stop or slow down.”
Rep. Gonzalez can see the impact of Biden’s feckless actions in his own district, but the American people recognize the president has done what he said he would not do – make the border situation worse.
In the latest Fox News survey, Americans believe border security is worse today than in the 2019 migrant surge by a 46-15 margin. The Fox data is reflected in a newly-released ABC News/Washington Post poll which found a mere 37 percent approved of Biden’s handling of the border crisis.
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