Axios reported yesterday that border officials were projecting “a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May.” A new Wall Street Journal report suggests even that might be conservative; the February number is expected to be 9,000, up 50 percent from January, which was itself up 18 percent from December; no growth rate can simply be projected into the future, but the number crossing by May could end up being a lot higher than 13,000.
That’s why the Biden administration has been forced to do exactly what the Trump administration did when faced with a similar surge, and has opened two detention centers for illegal-alien minors and families on the Texas border, with another one on the way; another in Florida, closed after Trump ended the flow, is slated to be reopened.
For the Trump administration, the increased detention capacity was a stopgap until the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (colloquially known as Remain in Mexico) could be negotiated with Mexico, whereby Central American “asylum-seekers” were sent back to wait on the Mexican side until their hearing dates. This immediately put an end to the border crisis, since asylum claims were for most illegals merely a stratagem to gain access to the U.S. — half of those released into the U.S. to file asylum claims never followed through, and very few of those who did apply, and were rejected, returned home. So when a bogus asylum claim was no longer a free ticket into the U.S., claims dried up.
The Biden administration’s attempt to boil the frog slowly on immigration — to ease out Trump border controls gradually in the hopes of not sparking a border crisis — is pretty clearly a failure. For instance, while Biden ended the Remain in Mexico program, he has so far not canceled Trump’s Title 42 emergency public-health measure that allows the Border Patrol to expel border infiltrators without hearings or anything — much to the consternation of his anti-borders supporters. But he created an exception for unaccompanied minors, the result being that aspiring illegal aliens, especially Central Americans, have been sending their kids over the border to turn themselves in, so they eventually get sent (at U.S. taxpayer expense) to relatives already in the U.S.
And in South Texas, even adult migrants, if they bring minors with them, are being released into the U.S. on the honor system, because Mexican authorities along that part of the border have refused to allow third-country nationals to be sent back — a revival of the infamous catch-and-release policy.
This will only get worse as Biden puts handcuffs on ICE, a process that would culminate in plans to abolish the position of deportation officer, which would mean the U.S. government would no longer have the ability to do routine immigration enforcement since no one would be authorized to do it.
How congressional Democrats think they can pass an amnesty — whether the comprehensive one in the Biden-Menendez bill or a more targeted one such as the Dream Act — while the border is spinning out of control due to their own policies is beyond me.