March 16, 2021

Border Surge

Hundreds of immigrant children and teenagers have been detained at a Border Patrol tent facility in packed conditions, with some sleeping on the floor because there aren’t enough mats, according to nonprofit lawyers who conduct oversight of immigrant detention centers.” AP News

“The Biden administration is turning to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help managing and caring for record numbers of unaccompanied immigrant children who are streaming into the United States by illegally crossing the border with Mexico… Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Saturday.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left is generally critical of Biden’s policies, calling for better treatment of migrants and a more humane immigration system.

“To be clear, these child migrants have the legal right to claim asylum… And the American Academy of Pediatrics says that no amount of detention is safe for a child… What is needed is an overhaul of how our country treats unaccompanied child migrants

“Instead of investing in detention, the government should consider investing more resources in charities and nonprofit groups that want to help migrants. Those children who have family members already in the US should be reunited with them as swiftly as possible. Those who do not should be provided with consistent, culturally sensitive case management… None of this will be cheap. Yet neither is our current system. It costs $775 a day to keep a child in the Carrizo Springs facility. That is money that could be better spent to ensure that the best interests of children guide our policy towards young migrants.”
Raul A. Reyes, CNN

“Perhaps the most obvious first step is to simply find and vet sponsors more quickly… Some of the breakdowns of [the HHS] system have verged on the absurd: In one case discovered by Reveal’s Aura Bogado, a Honduran girl had not only been separated from her brother but been in HHS custody for six years despite having family in North Carolina ready and willing to take her in…

“The vetting could theoretically start even earlier, before the children ever set foot on U.S. soil. Organizations like Al Otro Lado and KIND already coordinate with minors who are still in Mexico or traveling to the U.S. with the intention of applying for asylum, and they could pass relevant information along to HHS with the goal of having a sponsor already identified before their entry… there isn’t any one immediate answer but rather a patchwork of efficiencies and policy changes.”
Felipe De La Hoz, New Republic

Some suggest that “Biden should forthrightly talk to the American people about his enforcement strategies… We spend more on immigration enforcement than on all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, and that this system has produced results. In the last year of the Obama-Biden administration, the Border Patrol recorded the lowest level of illegal cross-border migration on record…

“President Obama likely thought that his tough enforcement record would speak for itself. But because he rarely talked about it, that record was distorted by constant, misleading GOP attacks…

“Reform advocates are quick to point out the many injustices, inconsistencies, and hypocrisies in the immigration enforcement system — and they’re legion for sure — but they rarely articulate enforcement policies they’re prepared to support. As a result, it’s far too easy for even those sympathetic to reform to interpret them as pushing policies that approach an open border for all. Biden can avoid that trap, but only if he forthrightly states the enforcement policies he supports, and not just those he opposes.”
Charles Kamasaki, The Hill

“If this sounds familiar, it’s because the same crisis has been playing out cyclically since at least 2014, when the US saw a dramatic shift in the kinds of migrants who were arriving at the southern border, from primarily single-adult Mexicans to families and children from Central America’s ‘Northern Triangle’: Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. In the years since, the federal government has failed to adapt to ensure that children and families are treated humanely. That burden is now on Biden…

“[In addition] Trump’s restrictive border policies created pent-up demand… Erika Pinheiro — the Tijuana-based litigation and policy director for Al Otro Lado, a nonprofit that provides legal aid to migrants — said that many of the migrants her organization encounters have been waiting in Mexico for a chance to cross the border for a year or more. The border has effectively been closed since last March, but before that, Trump had put in place a complex network of policies that made it next to impossible for migrants to apply for asylum or other protections… Pinheiro said that, compared to those who have been waiting in Mexico long-term, the number of new arrivals is relatively low.”
Nicole Narea, Vox

From the Right

The right is critical of Biden’s policies, calling for additional border security enforcement.

The right is critical of Biden’s policies, calling for additional border security enforcement.

“The progressive effort to focus on the humanitarian crisis sidesteps bigger policy questions. No reasonable person thinks that people — especially children — who are detained on our border should be housed in crowded or unhealthy conditions. The question is what to do with these people when they arrive here contrary to our laws…

“The left’s demands that those apprehended not be returned to their own countries, instead being released into the United States without any serious ability to track them and return them if their applications for asylum are denied, are really an effort to repeal our immigration laws through the back door

“Republicans and moderate Democrats should come together to push a series of measures to ensure the administration adequately enforces existing immigration laws. They should also agree to institute mandatory use of E-Verify, the government database that checks whether a person is legally eligible to work in the United States, as a condition of passage of any grants of amnesty or a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already here.”
Henry Olsen, Washington Post

“America’s border has become the first serious failure of the Biden presidency. Texas congressman Vicente Gonzalez has warned that the rate new arrivals are being admitted at will invite thousands more to make the journey north, and will be ‘catastrophic’ for his district and the country. Gonzalez isn’t a white nationalist; he is a Hispanic Democrat…

“Migrants have discovered that if they arrive at the border and say the right words about violence in their perpetually violent home countries, they will be freely admitted without fear of deportation. Once inside the country, they can benefit from a glacial asylum-review process, and even if their petition is rejected, they [have] little to fear from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)…

“[During the campaign] Biden promised that in his administration, ICE would only arrest immigrants suspected of felonies, and in his book drunk driving wasn’t a felony. Biden described his plans as ‘reform’. But to millions abroad who wish to come to America, Biden was promising something more: if they arrive at America’s doorstep, they’ll never have to leave.”
Editorial Board, Spectator USA

“Biden needs to admit that his eagerness to roll back Trump’s immigration policies without a meaningful plan to deal with the predictable migration increase has led to chaos at the border. While many voters wanted a kinder, gentler approach than Trump’s, Democrats cannot simply wish away the need for effective border security

“It’s not only a problem in terms of the United States being ill-equipped and under-resourced to handle the surge. It also leads migrants to take risks on dangerous terrain and increases the likelihood that unaccompanied minors will end up in perilous conditions…

“The president campaigned on dissociating the country from a Trump immigration policy associated with border walls, ‘kids in cages’ and ugly rhetoric. But migration still has to be managed, as his administration is rapidly being reminded… And unaccompanied children are still ending up in detention centers, whether we call them ‘cages’ or not.”
W. James Antle III, NBC News Think

“There’s a dark humor to watching media institutions such as ABC News trying to acknowledge that the new administration that is (How Refreshing)™ is now putting record numbers of migrant children in ‘facilities similar to jail,’ which sounds suspiciously like the ‘kids in cages’ we previously saw denounced as a ‘moral stain’ on our nation by both the media and Democratic senators…

“I’ll remind you that the vice president used to say, ‘This is a president who has pushed policies that’s been about putting babies in cages at the border in the name of security when in fact what it is, is a human-rights abuse being committed by the United States government.’ How would Harris characterize the treatment of children in CBP facilities now? Is it any less of a human-rights abuse when she and Biden do it?”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.