In retrospect, Donald Trump locked up the Republican presidential nomination the day he announced his candidacy. In words that will forever be etched in the minds of voters who were captivated by his boldness, Trump came down the escalator at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, and announced, “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.” He spoke directly to the unspoken concern of millions of Americans when he declared, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Fast-forward four years later, and I think any border agent would tell you they would love to go back to the level of border problems they were dealing with in 2015 before the mass migration from Central America, and now, 50 other countries. During the month that Trump delivered the famous speech, there were 38,611 apprehensions at the border, and only a fraction of them were released. Now, over 100,000 are being apprehended every month. ICE has released 168,000 just since December 21, and another 33,000 were released directly by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) from March 19 to early May without ever having been processed in an ICE holding facility. The criminal elements are more empowered than ever to bring in gangs, criminals, and drugs. Indeed, America is a bigger dumping ground than ever before.
After vigorous protest from local officials, the DHS announced that it has no plans to dump illegal immigrants apprehended at the Texas-Mexico border into Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Florida. On Saturday, acting CBP Commissioner John P. Sanders announced that “contrary to inaccurate reports in the press, CBP has no plans to transport people in our custody to northern or coastal border facilities, which include Border Patrol stations in Florida.” Instead, what CBP has been doing is “transporting hundreds of families by bus and aircraft from the U.S. Border Patrol’s severely overcrowded processing facilities to less-crowded stations along the Southwest border.”
By declaring reports of sending illegal immigrants to Florida as “inaccurate,” the acting CBP commissioner is seemingly stating that there never were such plans, not just that they changed their mind. It sure doesn’t seem that way from the fact that the Palm Beach County sheriff claims he was told by a local Miami Border Patrol official this was going to happen. In a recorded statement, Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said, “It appears that Border Patrol has backed off its initial plans to transport 1,000 illegal immigrants to South Florida.” (Emphasis added.) He thanked county residents for protesting the move “to stop what appeared to be a crisis for our community.”
Either way, it appears that DHS officials recognize the toxicity of releasing illegal aliens into the interior of the country. The problem is that they are admitting to releasing them and moving them around near the southwest border itself. That is not much better. What happens after they are moved around? They are released. And as most border officials will tell you, most of them are not staying near the border but are going to major cities in the interior of the country, most often the East Coast. So while there is much debate over what CBP does initially with the migrants, what is not in dispute is that between CBP and ICE, they have released over 200,000 impoverished illegal aliens who went into our communities.
What is important from the protests of Palm Beach and Broward, two Democrat counties, is that everyone seems to agree that the protection of Americans should come first. They laid down a clear marker that it is unacceptable for Americans to bear the fiscal cost and be on the hook for any health concerns or crime. As Governor Ron DeSantis said, “It will tax our resources, the schools, the health care, law enforcement, state agencies.” Even Democrats were furious. Sheriff Bradshaw, a registered Democrat, called it “a public safety problem,” and questioned, “What kind of health conditions do they have?” Other local Democrats decried the public safety concerns and straining of public resources.
So! If we all now believe that it is unacceptable to dump illegal immigrants into Florida, then why is it acceptable to dump them into Texas and New Mexico outside controlled tent cities right at the border? And why it is acceptable to release them after dumping them in border states and have them smuggled, often by criminal networks in the country, to the East Coast? Is it only a firehose that is a problem, but not a sprinkler system of migrants?
Also, DHS officials now admit that they are indeed using aircraft to fly illegal aliens around, although they say they will only do so to other parts of the border in order to conserve space. But again, once they are putting illegal immigrants on planes, why should the American people be on the hook for their eventual release into the interior instead of flying them back to Central America or at least to one of our islands with military bases? The trip from McAllen, Texas, to San Diego is actually 200 miles longer than a trip back to Guatemala City. Flying them from McAllen, Texas, to San Diego is not going to deter them from coming so long as they know they will be released into our country. If they were flown and held outside the country or returned to their own countries, then that would solve the numbers problem with detention facilities.
What this dust-up over the dumping of migrants in Florida has demonstrated is that now is the best time for the president to begin shifting the debate away from the needs and desires of the illegal immigrants to the needs and desires of the American people and the sovereign states, not to mention the government’s obligation to the American people and the sovereign states. We now see how bipartisan this issue truly is, once the effects are actually apparent, imminent, and brought home to our communities. According to a new Harvard/Harris poll, when asked whether people with questionable asylum claims should “be let into the United States for years until their case comes up or should they immediately be turned back to Mexico for staging,” 66 percent said that they should be turned back to Mexico. And just 13 percent of the same pool of respondents ascertained the number of migrants coming to our border. If more people realized how bad it is, the number of people opposing catch-and-release would likely be higher.
While DHS has been turning migrants back to Mexico in small numbers, the president has thus far declined to issue a complete shutoff of all asylum requests at our border and refuse entry to anyone, an executive power that was just affirmed in the Supreme Court. The American people have been forced to shoulder the burden of millions of illegal migrants from Mexico for years. The American people are clearly tired of it.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.