The Border Crisis is About Bad Policies, Not a Lack of Resources


October 12, 2023

By Tom Homan

In July 2020, I predicted that if Joe Biden assumed the presidency and reversed most of his predecessor’s immigration policies, it would spark a dangerous and massive new wave of illegal immigration and drug smuggling into the U.S., and that we would effectively “lose” the southern border. That made me a target of attacks from the left, which accused me of fear-mongering and lacking evidence for my claims.

More than three years later, it has become clear who was right.

I am in no way celebrating. We have lost operational control of our border. Within days of walking into the Oval Office, President Biden intentionally took the most secure border in my lifetime and turned it into the chaotic mess we see now.  It is just incredible how we went from a 45-year low on illegal immigration and secure border to historic illegal immigration so quickly. What is even more unbelievable is that this was not because of mismanagement or incompetence, but by design. This was their plan.

In a move to win the support of advocates of open borders on the Democratic Party’s far-left wing for his presidential campaign, Biden has made it clear that he would throw a giant welcome mat across our southern border for illegal immigrants. The former vice president and Democratic partisans wanted to see millions more illegal immigrants enter the U.S. and — along with millions of illegal immigrants already here — ultimately become U.S. citizens, with the expectation that they would vote for Democratic candidates out of gratitude. It was clear to me then and now that Biden’s position on illegal immigration isn’t about what’s best for this country, it’s about future political power for Democrats.

However, they underestimated the impact an out-of-control border would create. When you cause a crisis this big that overwhelms the Border Patrol to the point that up to 70-90 percent of agents get pulled from the line to process this historic surge, bad things happen. That is why I tried in 2020 to warn of a dangerous increase of drug smuggling in addition to an illegal immigration surge if the Biden Administration implemented its immigration agenda.

Without the right policies, they will just be doing more of the same: more processing and more releasing, which will only lead to more death and chaos.

When the Border Patrol has been removed from their national security duties to deal with this man-made humanitarian crisis, it makes the border vulnerable to drug smuggling, sex trafficking of women and children, and an historic surge of terror watch suspects entering this county.

Now I hear many members of Congress say that they need to fund more Border Patrol Agents and immigration judges to deal with this historic surge. They need to add more technology to the ports of entry to seize more drugs and we need to put the military on the border. I agree that we can always use more resources, but this current crisis is not a resource issue. It’s a policy issue.

Under the Trump Administration we had the same number of Border Patrol Agents and judges, but we were successful in an unprecedented decline in illegal immigration and the most secure border we ever had. This was possible because President Trump took a series of executive actions and created many policies that drove illegal immigration down to levels we haven’t seen in over 40 years. We proved it was a matter of enforcement policies, which includes allowing Border Patrol agents and ICE agents to do their jobs and perform within the oaths of office they took.

When the border is secure and illegal immigration is down, it allows the men and women of the Border Patrol to be vigilant on the line and arrest drug smugglers, sex traffickers and terrorists. It allows more lives to be saved because more agents are in the fight. Meaningful policies will help fix resource issues. That is a fact that the Trump Administration proved.

Policies like Remain in Mexico, Third Safe Country (Migrant Protection Protocols), Title 42, and ending Catch and Release, holding Mexico to account, to name a few, were all game changers for the Trump Administration and helped create the most secure border I’ve seen in my 34-year career.

Please give us more Border Patrol agents, ICE agents, judges and military personnel. However, without the right policies, they will just be doing more of the same: more processing and more releasing, which will only lead to more death and chaos.

Tom Homan is a senior fellow at the Immigration Reform Law Institute and the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Also published at The Washington Times, October 12, 2023.

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