Biden Eyes a Remain-in-Texas Program for Migrant Families
President Joe Biden, who canceled the previous administration’s highly effective Remain in Mexico policy on his first day in office, is now considering a plan that would require some migrant families to remain in Texas while awaiting asylum screening.
The move, which would restrict the affected migrants’ ability to travel within the United States, is envisioned as a way to rapidly deport disqualified families and to deter others from crossing. But if the administration’s stumbling “Family Expedited Removal Management” (FERM) program is any indication, the remain-in-Texas scheme merely puts up more smoke and mirrors.
Efforts to limit movement of asylum seekers were tried briefly during the Reagan administration. But migrants back then constituted a much smaller and more manageable pool compared with today’s out-of-control deluge. The Washington Post reported that more than 91,000 migrants crossed the U.S.-Mexico border as part of family units in August, an all-time record.
The notion that tens of thousands of migrant families can somehow be contained in Texas – or any other state – beggars belief. Tracking tools used and other alternatives to detention deployed by this administration have proven both costly and woefully ineffective.
“Clearly this is a politically motivated tactic to stop the backlash from places like New York City and Chicago,” Chris Russo, president of Texans for Strong Borders, told FAIR in an interview this week. “By law, the federal government is supposed to detain [illegal aliens]. Obviously, they’re not going to stay in Texas.”
In addition to appeasing political allies in deep blue states and cities, sticking it to a state that has been a consistent thorn in the president’s side may also factor into the administration’s plan. Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to counter a remain-in-Texas gambit by increasing outbound busloads of migrants into the U.S. interior. Since April 2022, the state-funded transit program has transported some 35,000 migrants, including family units, to sanctuary cities such as New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Denver and Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Times, which broke the news of the remain-in-Texas proposal, portrayed it as an enforcement initiative. “Migrant families are generally harder to arrest in the interior of the U.S. because of the complicated logistical planning needed to apprehend children and their parents,” the story noted.
But this assumes Biden & Co. are serious about immigration enforcement. The American people have seen nothing to even remotely suggest that. Ditching the perfectly sensible Remain in Mexico program was an early tell. Talk of quarantining migrant families inside Texas shows just how rabidly and recklessly political this administration is.