Biden Administration Calls the Asylum System Broken, But Won’t Use Their Tools to Fix It
In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ignored the obvious and, again, declined to call the situation on the Southern border a crisis. Secretary Mayorkas did, however, acknowledge that the asylum system is “broken,” while blaming Congress and previous administrations for the problem.
Immediately upon taking office, the Biden administration began implementing open-borders policy changes, something even the nonconfrontational 60 Minutes suggested was viewed by migrants as an invitation to come here. President Biden’s rollback of the Remain in Mexico policy, neutering of Title 42, and halt to border wall construction directly coincided with record-breaking illegal crossings and the collapse of law and order at the Southern border. If the Biden administration really believes that the growing backlogs of over two million cases and universally acknowledged chaos that coincide directly with the Biden administration are indicative of a broken system, why are they not using all the tools available to them to fix the problem?
Quite simply, they don’t really want to fix the problem. Fixing the asylum system and the border crisis would require reinstating and strengthening many of the same policies the Biden administration gleefully revoked with the backing of the open-borders lobby. In the interview, Secretary Mayorkas admits that migrants have been receiving a message that the borders are open since the start of the Biden administration. The millions of illegals the administration has allowed to cross have only reinforced that notion.
Changing that perception and the facts on the ground will require using the whole toolbox, including border walls, expedited removal, and closer scrutiny of asylum claims. As the COVID-era Title 42 nears a complete end, the flood of migrants it threatens to unleash might finally force the Biden administration’s hand on at least some of these, especially as the president gears up for his reelection bid. However, whatever measures are invoked will likely come with caveats. The administration has a well-established track record of resorting to shell games to hide the true number of illegal crossings behind a smokescreen of illegal parole programs. There is every reason to expect that we will see more of the same when Title 42 goes away.
Expedited removal, something the Biden administration has essentially stopped using after the previous administration successfully expanded it, might be one of the best ways to ward off a surge in illegal crossers. Expedited removal allows the government to quickly deport individuals arrested near the border who don’t have proper grounds for asylum. A huge proportion of illegal entries are economic migrants who are unqualified for relief. Applying expanded expedited removal (which requires no congressional action) would be a good first step to deter these crossings.
Secretary Mayorkas noted in the interview that the “contingencies” the government has for handling migration after Title 42 are “complicated” and “expensive.” Notably, he did not say, or even suggest, that these complicated and expensive contingencies entail barring new surges of migrants from entering. Rather, it is reasonable to assume that DHS’s contingencies entail adding to the already onerous burden that illegal immigration places on the U.S., which is orders of magnitude more costly than securing the border. The Biden administration needs to open their toolbox and get to work on the asylum system, before the whole house comes crashing down.