Two years after his inauguration, when he called for immigration reform and asked for $3.5 billion to strengthen the border, it took a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions to finally force President Biden to get on Air Force One and see the real-world effect of his administration’s failure to devise a coherent and actionable plan to deal with this crisis with his own eyes, in the border town in El Paso, Texas.
The administration seems to have a plan now, as reflected by its announcement of new enforcement measures, effective immediately in anticipation of the pending end of Title 42, which allows the government to expel all individuals who do not enter the U.S. legally. It claims that it will use expedited removal to send all people entering between ports of entry (legal checkpoints/border crossings where they can formally apply for asylum) who are captured to their country of origin and threatens to apply a five-year ban on reentry attempts, meaning if they are caught and expedite removed two times.
It also announced a new initiative to control the processing of legal entry, expanding the parole process for Venezuelans to Nicaraguans, Haitians, and Cubans, up to 30,000 individuals per month from these four countries, who have an eligible sponsor and pass vetting and background checks, can come to the United States for two years and receive work authorization.
It also relies heavily on the resources of those countries which are on the path to the U.S. in people’s dangerous journeys to get to the Mexico-U.S. border (some start from Venezuela and traverse Colombia, Panama, and all of Central America and across Mexico to get there) by stating that “Individuals who irregularly cross the Panama, Mexico, or U.S. border after the date of this announcement [January 5, 2023] will be ineligible for the parole process and will be subject to expulsion to Mexico, which will accept returns of 30,000 individuals per month from these four countries who fail to use these new pathways.”
For someone who has been following the border restrictions since the Covid-19 pandemic started almost three years, this feels like just more improvisation by the Biden administration. The goal of the last detail mentioned above is to dissuade all those thinking about migrating across multiple national borders to get into the U.S. to apply through legal means. Still, the measure is for only four countries. What about Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, or Hondurans, for example? Choosing favorites based on the top 4 (excluding Mexico, which is always #1) “offenders” only pushes four other countries to the top of the list, and playing favorites does little to stem the overall tide.
There is also the eternal pink elephant in this discussion, which is the fact that as long as there are big holes in the border, there will always be illegal immigrants, many of whom choose to enter illegally as opposed to applying for asylum at a port of entry because they don’t have a legitimate “well-founded fear of persecution” which might qualify them for asylum. There will always be more people who don’t qualify for asylum than those that do, and so if there are holes in the border, people will always use them.
As long as Congress does not fund either an entire, unbreachable wall or an incredibly well-staffed immigration and border enforcement team, these problems will never be solved, and two years into the Biden administration, there has been as much funding for immigration as there has been for dinosaur research, i.e., none. Ultimately, the only solution comes from Congress, which requires a consensus and a nation that prioritizes fixing this broken immigration system instead of just complaining about illegal aliens. We all know that is as likely as…..dinosaurs roaming the earth again.