Biden Claims Credit for Reducing Illegal Immigration When He’s Actually Rerouting It
The number of people encountered by Border Patrol attempting to enter the U.S. illegally in February was nothing to boast about. But the Biden administration boasted about it anyway. With much fanfare, they took credit for reducing the number illegal border-crossers encountered between ports of entry to ‘just’ 128,877. But the Border Patrol encounters only told part of the story. As the number of Border Patrol encounters dipped, the number of illegal migrant encounters by the Office of Field Operations (OFO) skyrocketed to 83,389. OFO handles illegal migrants who attempt to enter the U.S. through legal ports of entry.
The boom in OFO encounters is a result of a new program that encourages migrants to use a government-developed phone app, CBP One, to schedule an appointment at a legal port of entry to make an initial claim for political asylum. If the migrants clear the very low bar set for establishing a “credible fear” claim, they are allowed to enter the U.S. under parole while they wait years for a full hearing on their asylum claim. Most of these claims will eventually be denied, but there is little chance that the migrants will be compelled to leave even after their asylum cases are rejected. Additionally, the administration has created another program that allows 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to fly directly to the U.S.—per month.
Thus, the administration’s ‘success’ in controlling the border amounts to nothing more than moving a hefty chunk of Border Patrol encounters to OFO. The combined total for February was 212,266, which is also a bit deceptive because February is only 28 days and at an average of 7,581 migrant encounters per day, there would have been between 15,000 and 22,000 additional encounters in a typical month.
The official February stats also do not include “gotaways,” people who are detected entering the country illegally, but who are not apprehended and processed. Customs and Border Protection estimates that about 50,000 migrants elude apprehension each month, but in recent congressional testimony Raul Ortiz, Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, conceded that that is likely an underestimate. More concerning is that 16 people on the government’s Terrorist Screening Database were encountered at the border in February.
With President Biden gearing up for a reelection bid next year, the chaos along the southern border is seen as a political liability. What we saw in February were the results of an effort by the administration not to curtail illegal immigration, but to address the bad optics of hundreds of thousands of people pouring across the border illegally each month. Through an illegal exercise of parole authority, the administration is attempting to deceive the American public by rerouting would-be illegal border crossers through legal ports of entry.