Without any real debate — without congressional hearings, new legislation, or anything more than a series of executive orders — President Biden has effectively put in place a complete open-border policy on the southwest border. All he had to do was signal, with the stroke of a pen, that if you can get into the US, you can probably stay.
Predictably, illegal immigration surged. But so did legal admissions of asylum-seekers who had been barred from entering the country under stricter Trump-era policies and pandemic border security measures.
The message up and down the border was clear: Biden will let you in.
The result, whether Biden will admit it or not, is a full-blown crisis. So many unaccompanied migrant children are entering the country right now that federal agencies responsible for housing them are nearing capacity, even as they scramble to find more facilities, including US military bases and temporary tent shelters.
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services said it had more than 7,700 children in its custody — more than it has ever had at one time. The number of migrant children crossing the border is on pace to exceed the all-time record by a whopping 45 percent, according to federal officials, who are scrambling to find up to 20,000 beds to house unaccompanied minors.
Meanwhile, migrant camps in Mexican border towns are quickly emptying out thanks to Biden’s executive order ending the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” program. One shelter in the Mexican city of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, housed more than 3,000 migrants. It’s now deserted after several large groups of migrants were escorted over the border by officials with the United Nations.
State and local authorities have been overwhelmed by the influx of migrants in south Texas, the busiest stretch of the border for illegal immigration. In Brownsville, more than 100 migrants released from federal custody tested positive for COVID-19 recently. The town’s mayor said they are seeing about a 6 percent positive test rate, and asking migrants who test positive to quarantine in local hotels — although they cannot force them to do so.
Meanwhile, Mexican drug cartels are taking advantage of the situation, charging migrants thousands of dollars per person in order to cross. Cartel-associated smugglers are so busy, they’re issuing wristbands to migrants to keep track of them, and collecting personal information from migrants to ensure payments of debt to the cartels after they’re released into the US.
For Biden and the Democrats, the only real crisis at the border seems to be that some people have to wait more than three days before being released after crossing the border illegally. It doesn’t matter how many times Biden and top administration officials deny there’s a crisis or claim the US border isn’t open. Effectively, we have open borders. The migrants know it, the smugglers know it, and anyone who cares to look at what’s happening on the Rio Grande knows it.
Everyone seems to know it but Biden.
John Daniel Davidson is the political editor of The Federalist.