The media is looking for the emergency at the border. They are looking for data they refuse to recognize when it’s right in front of them.
I’ve written a lot more than 1,000 words explaining why this current wave of illegal immigration is worse than ever, but the following picture is worth a lot more than any words:
Yes, you are looking at an 1,744 percent increase in the number of people taking advantage of our asylum system and uttering the magic words “credible fear” to indefinitely remain in this country, all the while creating a massive economic and strategic decoy for the cartels at the border.
USCIS spokeswoman Jessica Collins explained in a statement to CR how the credible fear claims are the lynchpin of our magnetic border. “The extremely low bar for establishing credible fear is ripe for fraud and abuse,” she said. “This is because once an individual overcomes this low threshold, the vast majority are then referred to an immigration judge and most are released on a promise to appear for a court date weeks, months, or years down the line, regardless of whether they plan to show up. In other words, a credible fear referral doesn’t equal asylum status, but it does earn a free ticket into the U.S., allowing individuals to disappear into the interior to live and work illegally.”
The media like to compare current overall apprehension of illegal immigrants to the highest levels of past decades and conclude that illegal immigration is actually down. Often, they will end their data set at around 2014, before the resurgence of illegal immigration and the inception of the new Central American wave of unaccompanied teens and family units. But what they will never tell you is that the emergency element of the border crisis is born out of a new type of migration from Central America, and increasingly, from other countries around the world – bogus asylum.
It is simply indefensible not to mention the 1,744 percent increase in credible fear applications when analyzing the trends at the border, a trajectory that is growing sharper every few months. Fiscal year 2019 will easily blow out the record if this is not stopped, which in itself demonstrates the urgency to act. Just during the first four months of this fiscal year, 99,901 family units were apprehended, a whopping 294 percent increase over the same time period in FY 2018, which is when we set the existing record of credible fear claims, as indicated by this chart. As of two weeks ago, 58 large groups of aliens came in all at once and surrendered themselves to agents so far this fiscal year, compared to just 13 during the entire FY 2018. We see more almost every day, including last Monday, when we set the all-time record for the most family units apprehended in a single day.
Given that most of these family units are surrendering in larger numbers and are uttering the magic words, a phenomenon our border agents have never experienced before, the FY 2019 numbers could possibly double those of FY 2018 — and 2018’s numbers are in themselves an 1,744 percent increase since Obama took office. Therefore, once the data from this year is posted, our credible fear chart will look even more dramatic.
The only dip in trajectory was in 2017, when Trump first took office and illegal immigration across the board declined on the perception that he would drastically change policies. From the lowest point of the “Trump effect” in April 2017, family unit apprehension at and between point of entry has gone up well over 1,000 percent:
A sharp trajectory is exactly the hallmark of an emergency that needs urgent action. Already last year we were getting twice as many credible fear claims per month as we were in an entire year last decade. It is pretty astounding that the media ignores these statistics.
Now look at the cumulative increase in the backlog at the immigration courts:
All of these people are released into the country pending these hearings, and we are responsible for their medical care, education, crimes, gang activity, and drug trafficking. Oh, and all their kids born on our soil, in the meantime, are erroneously viewed as citizens, even though almost none of them have legitimate asylum claims. That in itself has served as a huge magnet.
Then there is the emergency dynamic at the border created by this unique migration driven by bogus asylum. The central difference between this migration of Central Americans and the previous Mexican migration is the fact that they purposely surrender to agents in droves because of the asylum magnet expanded during the Obama administration and then last year by the courts. This has several consequences.
First, none of the illegal aliens are returned, as the Mexicans were in previous years, often within a few hours. Consequently, while the gross immigration numbers last decade were higher, the net numbers are higher now. Whereas in 2005 we had one million-plus apprehensions, we also had one million-plus returns and turnbacks at the border. Now those numbers are down to 100,000-200,000 a year (not including removals from the interior, which take forever). Most of the migration consists of non-Mexican family units, almost all of whom remain in our country indefinitely.
Second, there is the shutting down of the Border Patrol and the national security problems with the asylum boom enabling the cartels to exploit gaps in coverage while agents are tied down. What happened at the Yuma sector on Tuesday is a perfect illustration of this problem. According to CBP, while border agents were strategically tied down by smugglers processing “25 Guatemalans made up of family members and juveniles” who “surrendered to agents several miles east of the port of entry,” three human smugglers, one of whom was caught with two loaded 9mm pistols, were caught several miles away. “This armed smuggling attempt took place while many of our agents were distracted from their border security duties and instead dealing with groups of surrendering families,” said Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Anthony J. Porvaznik.
Can you imagine how many more dangerous criminals get away because our Border Patrol agents are now spending all their time and resources serving as an ad hoc hospital, transportation hub, food and diaper supply, and essentially being used as pawns for the cartel’s chess game? There are a lot of bad people the cartels want to get in while they tie up the agents.
Then there is the humanitarian problem. Never before have 50-60 percent of the illegal aliens consisted of children – either traveling alone, with families, or with adults who kidnapped them to game out the “child” loophole. Every juvenile must receive a health screening. The cost of manpower and money is immeasurable. As I’ve vividly described the situation in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, the processing of hundreds of children at a time often takes place in the most remote counties in the country. This has the effect of both taking the agents off the field for even longer (exposing our country to more drugs and criminals) and straining the paltry services of those regions.
Sheriff Leon Wilmot of Yuma County told me that “last year alone, 1,700 of these migrants had to be taken to the only local hospital we have, wasting about 10,000-man hours of the border agents forced to sit there with them.” It cost his county $700,000. This year is worse. Just in one month, CBP reports that its agents “spent a total of 19,299 hours providing various levels of support to these hospital visits” in the sectors of Yuma, Tucson, El Paso, and the Rio Grande valley.
CBP reports just one episode: “Transporting 50 individuals to the hospital utilized nearly all available agents.” What are the consequences of this asylum-driven trend of surrendering to border agents? It “severely limit[ed] their ability to process the large group or respond to other border security duties; thus resulting in increased time in custody, delaying custody transfer coordination, and inhibiting response to other illegal cross-border traffic.”
It’s incontrovertibly clear that the crisis driven by bogus asylum and all its cascading harmful effects on our agents, border ranchers, American taxpayers, the Mexican people, and migrants themselves is worse than ever before, at least in the areas of the border where they are coming.
To be clear, there still are counties that have been essentially untouched by the Central American migration, and therefore, are still enjoying the windfall from the historic lull in Mexican migration. However, as the Central American “child” asylum and catch-and-release migration intensifies increasingly every month, they are going to new parts of the border. New Mexico has never seen migration like this before, and there is nothing stopping the migrants in the Rio Grande valley from shifting to west Texas as we step up enforcement in that region. They have already shifted as far as Maverick County, which explains why there has been a 364 percent increase in family unit apprehensions in the Del Rio sector relative to last year.
Do we really need to wait until every single border county is as bad as Hidalgo County, New Mexico, to act? Do we need to sit idly and wait until overall apprehensions set records along with family unit apprehensions to understand the nature and cause of this emergency?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.