Key to House Republican oversight in the next Congress is investigating the crisis at the southern border–and this is something that will (or at least ought to) hit home more than most matters that get talked about on Capitol Hill.
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This will be relevant soon enough based on the death, crime, fiscal and economic toll on our country.
There are far too many demagogues who claim that enforcing federal immigration laws is somehow not compassionate. Anyone in a position of power must know better.
Of course, there are plenty of heartbreaking tales from people that would risk everything–including paying criminal organizations–to help them enter the United States. If this was only a matter of well-intentioned people with an American dream, the worse consequence would be strained public budgets and depressed wages for low-skilled workers.
That’s not anywhere near the only consequence.
The largest killer of Americans between the ages of 18 to 45 is fentanyl pouring across the southern border, while a record 1,300 migrants died on American soil during Biden’s watch. And as the New York Times noted last year, “Migrant smuggling on the U.S. southern border has evolved over the past 10 years from a scattered network of freelance “coyotes” into a multi-billion-dollar international business controlled by organized crime, including some of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels.”
Supporting the status quo is not compassionate. It is an inhumane policy. Apathy for a worsening border crisis is borderline monstrous.
This is not sustainable.
It has become not just a border problem, but increasingly a national problem, as even Democrat mayors have pronounced their municipalities are de facto border cities. That’s the result of overwhelmed governors and mayors from Texas, and Arizona bussing illegal immigrants into Washington, D.C., New York City, and–in one notable case–to Martha’s Vineyard.
It is going to get much worse soon enough. The Supreme Court only temporarily prevented President Joe Biden from terminating Title 42–doing the president a huge favor. The Department of Homeland Security predicts 12,000 to 14,000 new illegal border crossings per day if Title 42 is dropped. That’s about double the current average of 6,785 apprehensions per day, with about 2,000 daily “got-aways,” the term for those who escape capture.
However, much of the public is unaware there is a crisis about to become a catastrophe.
A Harvard poll in December asked 1,851 Americans, “How many border crossings by illegal immigrants do you think are occurring each year?” Only 6 percent accurately answered, “between 2 million and 3 million.” Another 12 percent responded, “between 1 million and 2 million.” The rest answered numbers of less than 500,000. Of that, 16 percent seriously believed “less than 100,000” illegal border crossings occur each year.
Last year, the United States had 2.2 million illegal entries, which doesn’t count the nearly 600,000 got-aways, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Since Biden came into office in January 2021, Customs and Border Protection encountered more than 5.5 million illegal border crossers that includes 1 million got-aways.
The Biden administration took actions, such as rolling back the remain-in-Mexico policy for asylum seekers and demoralizing the Border Patrol. It was nonsensical to believe the result would have been different.
So, what now?
It’s difficult to have hope that Biden will make a turnaround. But historically, some presidents became better at their job when faced with the majority of the opposite party.
How great it would be to conclude on a hopeful note. But we have a president–or at least a president whose handlers–willfully damaged the United States.
It’s also not yet clear the new House Republican majority will be serious enough to do more than jawbone about the border catastrophe for a political edge. Some bipartisanship is required for even nominal improvement.
The problem is that this is just too big for a partisan solution, but it seems unlikely any bipartisan solution can make a dent.
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Barbara Joanna Lucas is a writer and researcher in Northern Virginia. She has been a healthcare professional, political blogger, is a proud dog mom, and news junkie. Follow her on Twitter @BasiaJL.