Published July 19, 2021
Record-high apprehensions of migrants illegally crossing the southern border are a big enough problem for President Biden. But it could become even worse unless he dramatically shifts his immigration policies.
The number of migrants illegally entering through the Sonoran Desert normally decreases during the searingly hot summer months, even in years with relatively high numbers of entrants. But this year, the number apprehended at our border keeps rising month after month despite the heat. It’s not hard to guess why.
Biden’s immigration policy has been the polar opposite of former president Donald Trump’s almost from Day One. In February, the administration announced it would reintroduce Obama-era policies, known among critics as “catch and release,” that allowed people with claims of asylum to remain at large within the United States until their hearings. In June, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas ended Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy that forced refugees from Central America to stay in Mexico while their claims were heard. Now there are reports that Democrats plan to include a provision in the upcoming reconciliation bill that would grant amnesty to millions of people living in the United States illegally. It does not matter how many times Vice President Harris tells migrants “do not come”; would-be migrants increasingly see that the administration has no intention of matching those words with deeds.
Henry Olsen is a Washington Post columnist and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.