Biden’s “Big Success” at the Border is a Big Lie FAIR Exposes How Drop in Border Apprehensions is Shady Bookkeeping
For the first time in a long time, the Biden administration did not wait until late at night on a weekend to release the monthly data on border encounters. They couldn’t wait to tell the world about the January border numbers: 156,274 illegal migrant encounters, down from an all-time monthly record of 251,487 in December. Mind you, 156,274 was still the highest number for any January on record, but it’s a pretty impressive reduction when compared to the previous month.
The White House wasted no time in taking a victory lap (or two). “Since we launched our new border plan last month, unlawful migration from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela has come down 97 percent,” President Biden boasted in his State of the Union Address in early February. This would be good news except that the president’s claim, which has been repeated by other key members of his administration, was patently false.
From the moment the January figures were released, FAIR (and others) began exposing how the dramatic month-over-month drop in border encounters were nothing more than a shady bookkeeping ploy designed to convince the American public that the administration is hard at work taming the border crisis, as the president begins gearing up for his reelection bid next year. Moreover, the mechanism the Biden administration used to mask the true number of illegal aliens entering the country was itself illegal.
The “new border plan” the president spoke of is a scheme to admit as many as 360,000 Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan migrants a year into the United States under an unprecedented abuse of parole authority. Rather than crossing the border illegally, 30,000 otherwise inadmissible migrants a month are granted permission to fly into the United States and are therefore not encountered at the southern border.
In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began rolling out its new mobile phone app, dubbed CBP One. According to a department fact sheet, CBP One allows migrants who upload biographical information and a photo to request an appointment at one of eight ports of entry in Texas, Arizona and California. After a brief interview, those who clear the very low bar for making a “credible fear” claim (the initial step in the asylum process) are permitted to enter the United States while they wait (a long time) for their day in court. They, too, are not counted in the monthly illegal border encounter tally because they are encountered at ports of entry, which are staffed by officers from the Office of Field Operations, not the Border Patrol. These crossings, therefore, fall into a different statistical category.
And just like that, tens of thousands of illegal entries a month are moved off-the-books.
FAIR has detailed why the claimed reduction in illegal entries is false, but also a clear violation of the statute granting the president authority to allow otherwise inadmissible foreign nationals to the United States under parole.
Section 1182(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act explicitly states the conditions under which parole may be exercised:
1. It may be granted for “urgent humanitarian reasons” such as a time-sensitive need to attend to a relative in the U.S. with a serious or terminal medical condition.
2. It may be granted in cases where there is “significant public benefit” such as testifying in a legal proceeding or participating in experimental medical treatment that could result in broad public benefit.
3. It must be determined on a “case-by-case” basis. In other words, it cannot be granted based on membership in a particular class of people, such as being a citizen of a particular nation.
4. It must be temporary. When the circumstances that triggered parole, such as attending to a family member who is at an end-of-life stage, or participating in a legal proceeding no longer pertain, parole is to be revoked and the foreign national must depart.
In response to the administration’s efforts to deceive the American public – and a compliant news media’s willingness to accept the claims at face value – FAIR launched a broad effort to push back against the elaborate shell game. In published op-eds, talk radio appearances, social media and discussions with members of Congress, FAIR continues to expose the administration’s lie that they are effectively combatting the illegal immigration crisis. The truth is, they’re just covering it up.