Our southern border is out of control, and the Biden Administration’s response is to ask Congress for emergency funding – not to get control of the border, but to speed up processing of the illegal aliens crossing into our country. Not only would this response fail to make the situation any better, it would actually make it worse.
Over the weekend, Customs and Border Protection (CPB) released its monthly update for September, revealing that last month CPB had 269,735 encounters along the Southwest border. That number represents the highest monthly total ever, and it puts the lie to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s repeated declarations (in sworn congressional testimony) that “the border is secure.”
Not surprisingly, the complete and total failure of the Biden Administration’s policies on the border led to 2023 being the worst year ever for illegal immigration, with a total of 2,475,669 encounters – higher than the previously record-setting 2022 (2,378,944 encounters) and the previously record-setting 2021 (1,734,686 encounters).
That’s a total of 6,589,299 encounters on the Southwest border over the last three fiscal years. And that’s just counting the illegal aliens CBP stopped and detained briefly; it does not count the known “gotaways” – aliens who are seen or detected, but not apprehended by CBP.
According to CBP’s latest figures, in the first three weeks of October there were about 1,000 aliens every day who were seen or detected crossing our borders without being apprehended. If that pace holds for a year, that would be another 350,000.
What makes that number particularly worrisome, of course, is that, by definition, the U.S. government has no idea who these people are or what are their intentions once they are inside the U.S.
The San Diego Field Office Intelligence Division of CBP warned in an October 20 memo that “individuals inspired by, or reacting to the current Israel-Hamas conflict may attempt travel to or from the area of hostilities in the Middle East via circuitous transit across the Southwest border.”
The memo continues: “Foreign fighters motivated by ideology or mercenary soldiers of fortune may attempt to obfuscate travel to or from the U.S. to or from countries in the Middle East through Mexico,” before listing the patches of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah.
The surge of illegal immigration at the Southwest border is so bad that even The New York Times noticed it. On Saturday, The Times published a piece entitled, “Crossings at the U.S. Southern Border Are Higher Than Ever,” which opened this way:
“Migrants were caught crossing the southern border of the United States more times in the past year than in any other year since at least 1960, when the government started keeping track of the data.”
Late last week, the Biden Administration asked Congress for emergency funding to address the border crisis. Tucked inside a larger emergency supplemental funding request is an ask for $13.6 billion to “strengthen border security and enforcement,” which includes additional funding for 1,300 more border patrol agents; 1,600 additional asylum officers “to increase by 2.5 times the number of personnel that interview and adjudicate claims for asylum and facilitate timely decisions so that those who are ineligible can be quickly removed and those with valid claims can have faster resolution”; and 375 new immigration judge teams “to adjudicate and process immigration cases more quickly and help reduce the caseload backlog.”
The request also includes funding for “additional grants to local governments and non-profits to support the provision of temporary food, shelter, and other services for those recently released from DHS custody”; “critical border management activities, including additional temporary holding facilities and detention beds for fair and fast processing for recent arrivals”; “support for eligible arrivals, including services to successfully resettle in the United States and become self-sufficient”; and “expansion of lawful pathways, including efforts to streamline the processing of eligible refugees and migrants through the Safe Mobility Offices Initiative.”
But, like Sherlock Holmes’ dog that didn’t bark, what’s more important is not what is there, but what is not there – no return to the “Remain in Mexico” policy (also known as the Migrant Protection Protocols), and no end to the “catch and release” policy that so incentivizes illegal crossings on our southern border.
Instead, what the Biden Administration is asking for is more taxpayer money to grease the skids so that illegal aliens can enter our country faster, with less of that dreadful clogging at the border. It’s almost as if the Biden Administration seeks to apologize – to the illegal aliens breaking our laws to enter our country! – for delaying them even in the slightest.
This funding request, if agreed to, will make the problem worse, not better.
Here’s the thing – it’s not just a question of funding, it’s a question of policy. Throwing more money at a bad policy is not going to make things better, it’s going to make things worse.
The Biden Administration continues to act as if human beings don’t respond to incentives. There’s an old rule about government funding: If you want more of something, subsidize it. By asking Congress for more funding to make it easier and faster to process illegal aliens crossing our southern border, the Biden Administration seeks to subsidize the activity, rather than end it. That’s the wrong way to go.
And here’s my prediction: If the Biden Administration gets what it wants, and Congress provides this additional funding to streamline the intake process for illegal aliens, next year The New York Times will be writing about a fourth year in a row of record-setting illegal immigration. Mark my words.
Jenny Beth Martin is Honorary Chairman of Tea Party Patriots Action.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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