Southern Border Security? DHS Phones It In For Nicaraguan Migrants
A record 35,500 migrants from Nicaragua were encountered at America’s southern border in December. So what did the Department of Homeland Security do? It added Nicaraguans to a lengthening list of foreign nationals who can use a reservation system to enter this country.
DHS calls its system “rigorous security vetting,” but, in fact, the agency has no way to check for criminal histories in a diplomatically estranged nation that is a pariah of Latin America.
The Migration Policy Institute reports that more than 200,000 Nicaraguans fled their country last year. In response, neighboring Costa Rica, the nearest landing spot, imposed new restrictions on incoming Nicaraguans, citing widespread abuse of the asylum system. Costa Rican officials said many are simply seeking economic opportunities (not legal grounds for asylum) and would not be at risk of harm or persecution in their native land. Rebuffed, tens of thousands have headed north.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered Nicaraguan migrants nearly 165,000 times in fiscal 2022, a 52-fold increase over 2020. Notably, 57 percent who received a decision on asylum in U.S. immigration courts during 2022 were rejected.
Since the Biden administration is more about accommodating historic waves of migrants than actually securing the border, DHS in January added Nicaraguans — along with Cubans, Venezuelans, and Haitians — to a plethora of nationalities that have been entering the U.S. at designated ports of entry via their cell phones.
Using the bilingual “CBP One” app, migrants can schedule appointments with the agency and submit biographical information prior to arrival. According to one report, “CBP One expedites the admission process while applying a thin veneer of legality. Migrants no longer have to enter illegally to be granted parole, allowing them to live and work here for years while their asylum applications languish in immigration court. All they have to do is show up at a port of entry.”
How convenient! No need to hang around the old country waiting for U.S. approval to fly to America. And yet how dangerous. CBP One is one more way the Biden administration encourages perilous journeys through Mexico.
The latest statistics seem to bear this out. Some 212,266 border encounters were reported in February, but only 128,877 were recorded by CBP, while the Office of Field Operations, which handles app entries, registered 83,389 encounters at legal ports of entry.
Though the government did not break down the 83,389 encounters by nationality, FAIR says moving that number off the books is a ploy “to mask the scope of illegal migration.” One can only assume that the increase in app users is feeding the president’s illegal parole program.
In theory, CBP One is a “pre-legalization” program that enables U.S. border officials to expeditiously process Nicaraguans and hundreds of thousands of other foreign nationals through biometric data, fingerprints, and personal testimonies of clean living back home.
In reality, CBP is flying blind. Agents cannot possibly vet criminal histories from hostile or chaotic regimes that have no capacity to run such checks, or no interest in doing so.
“For super-majorities of all the foreign nationals who have and will use this new ad hoc parallel immigration system, meeting the program’s top requirement of ‘rigorous’ security vetting will turn out to be all but impossible,” writes Todd Bensman, of the Center for Immigration Studies. “Security vetting for the entire program stands as an empty promise, an unfulfillable requirement that will bring danger into the nation.”
Meantime, Managua’s disregard for international law was on display last month when Daniel Ortega’s regime brazenly flew 222 of his countrymen, purported political prisoners, into the United States without even bothering to consult Washington.
Nicaragua can save the jet fuel. When it comes to immigration enforcement and security, DHS is literally phoning it in at our border.