February 24, 2023
By Dale Wilcox
With America’s border under siege, the man in charge of securing the U.S. border seems content with pointing fingers everywhere but himself.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas claimed in a recent interview with CNN’s Chris Wallace that the U.S.-Mexico border is secure, and that the Biden administration’s immigration policies are working. Mayorkas also claimed the “millions of jobs opening due to the economic success of this administration” are responsible for the surge of illegal aliens flooding the border. Both claims are preposterous.
In fiscal year 2022, which ranged from October 1, 2021 until September 30, 2022, roughly 2.8 million illegal aliens were apprehended at the southern border. That’s nearly as many as were apprehended during all four fiscal years combined under former President Donald Trump, despite the historic growth in the economy that occurred during the Trump era.
Mayorkas is right that aspiring migrants are attracted to the U.S. primarily because of its wealth, but he is wrong to imply that this phenomena just started because of the Biden administration’s economic policies. Mayorkas’ contention also undermines the anti-borders canard that illegal aliens are fleeing persecution instead of poor economic conditions. The vast majority of illegal aliens are economic migrants, not asylum seekers or refugees.
In the interview, Mayorkas also shifted blame towards Congress, calling on them to “actually fix an immigration system that has been broken for decades.”
Congress deserves plenty of criticism for not providing more resources and funding for border security, but that is almost certainly not what Mayorkas is referring to. Mayorkas is likely referring to Joe Biden’s immigration plan, which calls for the legalization of tens of millions of illegal aliens.
While Biden’s plan has no chance of passing anytime soon, it would have the opposite effect of securing the border if it did become law. Promising amnesty to tens of millions of illegal aliens would only encourage more aspiring migrants to flood the border in order to secure said amnesty. In passing the buck to Congress, Mayorkas is attempting to muddy the waters about who’s really responsible for the border crisis, while also achieving his long-held goal of legalizing the tens of millions of people in the country illegally.
This is not the first time Mayorkas has tried to pass the buck on his responsibilities. During a House Judiciary Committee hearing last year, Mayorkas claimed “only Congress” has the ability to stop the flow of illegal aliens at the border. This would be more persuasive if Mayorkas and the administration hadn’t been working to dismantle border controls put in place by the prior administration.
As Immigration Reform Law Institute Senior Fellow and former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan has said, the previous administration handed the current administration the most secure border in American history. Congress has not changed immigration law since then. The only thing that has changed are the policies of the executive branch.
On his first day in office, Biden announced a 100-day moratorium on deportations. Under his administration, deportations have dropped 70 percent. Illegal aliens know that once they get into the country, their chances of being sent home are very low. This only encourages more foreign nationals to flood the border.
Biden also terminated construction of the border wall on his first day in office, despite having the necessary funding from Congress to continue the project. The administration also terminated the successful Trump-era Remain-in-Mexico policy, and has undermined the Title 42 order at the border since day one. While Congressional inaction is inexcusable, the border crisis is primarily being driven by anti-border policies emanating from the White House. Mayorkas has the tools to secure the border, but has chosen to dismantle it instead.
Border policy is an area of the law where the executive branch has immense power and discretion. The buck stops with Biden and Mayorkas, and they should not be allowed to pass it to anyone else.
Dale L. Wilcox is executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.
Also published at The New American, February 23, 2023.
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