Breaking Point: The Crisis on the Southern Border Issue Brief
With increasing frequency and urgency, the men and women tasked with protecting the nation, its borders and the American people have been issuing warnings about the growing chaos at the southern border. And Congress has done nothing besides issuing press releases and assigning blame. Even more perversely and irresponsibly, the House just passed an amnesty bill that will likely only further exacerbate the migrant surge.
On May 30, U.S. Border Patrol agents from Texas’ El Paso sector apprehended 1,036 illegal aliens. In just one day, they detained 934 family members, 63 unaccompanied minors, and 39 single adults. In one day, the previous record of 430 was shattered – and there are no signs the surge will end there or elsewhere.
New data shows that more than 76,000 aliens were apprehended or deemed
inadmissible at a port of entry in February.
Everyone now agrees this is a crisis. Everyone agrees the system is “broken.” So, what next?
- The United States is currently experiencing an unprecedented border security and humanitarian crisis at our southern border.
- Apprehension numbers at the southern border have skyrocketed in recent months and we are on track to record one million apprehensions in Fiscal Year 2019. That would be up from 404,000 in FY 2018 and 310,000 in FY 2017.
- Until the past several years, illegal aliens apprehended at the border have been primarily single Mexican males, who could be removed fairly quickly. Now, however, the bulk of aliens attempting to enter the U.S. are Central Americans, a sharply increasing number of whom are traveling as family units or unaccompanied children.
- The greatest contributors to the current border crisis are wide-scale abuse of asylum loopholes by migrants and attempts to use children as tickets into the United States. DHS resources at the border are being stretched to the breaking point as personnel is diverted to take care of children and family units. That, in turn, makes the job of criminals and traffickers easier and forces DHS to resort to “catch and release,” which swells our large illegal alien population.
- To stem the crisis, the U.S. must close asylum loopholes, modify the Flores Settlement and current detention policies, hire more immigration judges, and sufficiently fund our border security agencies. Congress must do its duty and act now.
Asylum Decisions and Denials Jump in 2018
The current border crisis is far from “manufactured.” In fact, it is qualitatively different from previous crises and the full context demonstrates that calling it historic is entirely appropriate. Hence, ignoring the problem – or adhering to yesterday’s failed “business as usual” policies – will not only fail to stem the tide, but will make the situation even worse. As BP chief Provost emphasized, the border crisis is “like holding a bucket under a faucet. It doesn’t matter how many buckets you give me, if you can’t turn off the flow.”
Securing our borders and preventing our immigration and asylum system from becoming overwhelmed should not be a partisan issue. The situation on our southern border is indeed a legitimate national emergency. It should concern all Americans, regardless of their political or ideological preferences. Border security is too vital a matter to be held hostage to partisan strife. Hence, Congress must do its duty and work to address a problem that is rapidly and alarmingly spiraling out of control.