There is a crisis at our southwest border—one that in many ways exceeds the crisis we saw just two years ago, one that further undermines the integrity of our immigration system, but one that most of the media has elected to ignore. The facts are clear:
- Brandon Judd, President of the National Border Patrol Council recently said that “the talk of amnesty has once again created pull factors and encouraged people from all over the world to cross Mexico and then cross our porous southern border to illegally enter the U.S. We are simply overwhelmed.” An ICE officer in El Paso said “The administration’s policies have created the influx and the crisis situation because people overrun our border knowing they have a chance to stay,” the officer said. “The workload, the number of people, we’ve had to deal with has by far surpassed any amount we’ve ever had to handle before.”
- Due to the surge in immigration at the southwest border, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is currently detaining more than 40,000 aliens, with internal predictions indicating that the number could reach 47,000 in the coming months. Without additional funding, it is likely that ICE will release many of those detained into the United States; many of whom will fail to appear in court have criminal histories and will never be heard from again.
- The surge in illegal immigration is largely due to an influx of “Other Than Mexican” (OTM) aliens at the southwest border—with agents in the field estimating that OTMs make up approximately 70-75 percent of all border crossings. Included among those OTMs are thousands of Haitians and Africans concentrated in the Mexican cities of Tijuana and Mexicali, who are pushing to enter the United States, despite having no valid visa; and roughly 35,000 Cubans who crossed into Texas between October of 2015 and July of this year.
- In FY 2016, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 408,870 illegal aliens at the southern border; a number 23 percent higher than in Fiscal Year 2015. Of those apprehended, 77,674 were members of so-called “family units” (a 95 percent increase from FY 2015), and 59,692 were unaccompanied illegal alien juveniles (a 49 percent increase from FY 2015).
- Earlier this year, Mr. Judd testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and The National Interest, and said that for every one illegal alien who is apprehended, another evades arrest—a statistic confirmed by internal DHS numbers, but that the Obama Administration refuses to release. Using that rate as a baseline, that means approximately 408,870 illegal aliens evaded detection in FY 2016, for a total of approximately 817,740 illegal entries into the United States last year.
- The Obama Administration refuses to tell the American people how many of the 408,870 aliens it apprehended in FY 2016 remain in the United States. Nor will it provide information on the current location of the 331,333 it apprehended in FY 2015, or the 479,371 it apprehended in FY 2014. One ICE officer recently explained that ICE is releasing many aliens “into the wind never to be seen by us again[.]”?
The Obama Administration has claimed for years that the border is “more secure than it has ever been,” yet illegal immigration continues to surge, and the Administration refuses to accept responsibility for this situation. Indeed, rather than sending a strong signal to the world that the United States will not tolerate illegal immigration, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson recently appeared to blame the surge in illegal immigration on the refusal of Congress to pass a mass amnesty bill.
Moreover, the crisis at the southwest border highlights the simple fact that, without barriers to prevent the illegal entry of additional aliens, the brave men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol simply do not have enough personnel to detain and deport all illegal border-crossers. In addition, millions come on temporary visas and large numbers do not return home as promised—with 527,127 overstaying their visas or periods of authorized stay in FY 2015 alone.
The integrity of our immigration system and our national sovereignty require a real change in enforcement. The future of our nation depends on strong, secure borders, and a President willing to enforce our laws. Without a commitment to deport aliens who violate our immigration laws, we lose our ability to protect our communities from criminal aliens, terrorism, and cartel-related crime and violence.
One thing is clear, establishing a lawful system of immigration is absolutely doable. With strong leadership, these failed policies can be ended.