The problem with waiting months to act decisively at the border is that we become accustomed to the new normal of record border numbers.
According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), April set yet another record, with a total of 109,000 apprehensions at the southwest border. Unless the administration harnesses this news and calls for a complete shutoff of immigration processing at the border, it’s unlikely that the numbers will fall significantly. The partial measures being pursued currently might have worked a year ago when we warned about the tsunami, but not now that we are squarely in the storm.
Here are the key takeaways from the April CBP border report:
Has the trajectory been bent? Will the numbers go down in May? Well, CBP reported on Tuesday that during the first week in May, there were 10,000 apprehensions in the Rio Grande Valley, a new weekly record. During the 30 days of April, there were 36,681 apprehensions in the RGV. It is therefore clear that the message has not yet gone out to Central America that we are no longer tolerating this violation of sovereignty.
Unlike in the past, when mainly single adults were coming over and were immediately repatriated, most of these individuals are being released. ICE has released 168,000 just since December 21, and that number doesn’t include the 33,000 released by CBP directly without ever being processed in an ICE holding facility since March 19. If these individuals are never repatriated, the lifetime cost to taxpayers, as estimated by the Center for Immigration Studies, would be roughly $30 billion.
This is the part of the crisis that is never discussed. The philosophical problem with the approach of our government over the past year is that when circumstances such as lack of detention space create a scenario where our laws cannot be implemented properly, they err on the side of the alien and not on the side of the American people.
Our laws require that every alien, including those seeking asylum and even those approved for it, be detained throughout the entire process. Moreover, our laws require that these economic migrants be immediately placed into expedited removal. Any appeal of a credible fear denial must be handled within a day and no later than seven days, according to existing law. Why should the fact that they flood us with invasion levels of migrants strengthen their hands to achieve the very intent of their mission? Why should the fact that they increase the illegal smuggling to levels that can’t be detained result in rewarding the cartels with catch-and-release and making Americans pay for the crime, gangs, drugs, lack of security checkpoints, fiscal costs, cultural problems in the schools, and the health risks?
Part of the problem is that the desires of the aliens are individualized and immediately apparent before the TV cameras. The harm they cause to Americans – both directly through fiscal, security, and health concerns and indirectly by draining off resources and empowering the cartels and gangs – are long-term, less apparent, and often go unreported. Nobody sees a rapist right at the border, but there are sadly plenty of people like Juan Leon-Gomez, an illegal alien from Guatemala, who is now charged with raping and impregnating an 11-year-old girl and keeping her in his closet. The TV cameras show 16-year-olds in need at the border, but they won’t show you how 40 percent of those caught in a recent MS-13 sting were border teens who were resettled as refugees.
The entire purpose of our federal government is to care for Americans, not foreign invaders.
Today, as the DHS announces the unprecedented data from April, would be the most auspicious time for the president to announce a complete shutoff of all cross-border migration of those who show up without documentation. Unless he acts now, the American people will become used to the cartels and illegal aliens pouring over our border as the new normal.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.