Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Quiet Invasion: Illegal Immigration Under President Biden

Not much has been said or written about illegal immigration lately. We've been focused on inflation, the war in Ukraine, the growing aggression of China, the "Great Resignation", and gas prices. However, none of that, as severe as they may be on their own, replaces the issue of illegal immigration which goes back to at least the presidency of Ronald Reagan, and yet we're hearing very little about it.

Illegal immigration is "the quiet invasion". Currently there is an estimated 11.7 million illegals currently living in the United States. 53% are believed to be Mexican. 16% are from Asia (mainly China, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Korea), followed by El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. About 4% or 430,000 illegal residents are from India.

However, 17% or about 2 million are from elsewhere, such as Russia, Africa, Middle East or Europe. Most come from "south of the border", however, Canada has become an important crossing point due to its largely open and thinly monitored border. Amusingly, there's an estimated 70,000 Canadians living in the U.S. illegally. Most of those are thought to be residing on either coasts. California and Texas saw the biggest influx with a combined 40% of all illegal immigrants. 

Other crossing points includes U.S. coastlines which are typically unmonitored and typically close to large cities.  The good news is that the border patrol usually intercepts up to 2/3 of those attempting to enter illegally. A record 210,000 were arrested in March 2022; a 24% increase from March 2019. 

During President Trump's Administration, illegal immigration dropped  off significantly due to his crackdown, starting with a wall along the Texas/Mexico border. 2017 saw a 46 year low; down 25% from 2016, although still well less than under the Obama Administration's high of 298,000 arrests in 2009 compared to Trump's high of 143,000 in 2019. Nevertheless, President Biden promised to undo many of Trump's immigration policies.

As promised, on his first day in office Biden signed six executive orders reversing portions of Trump's immigration policies. He also sent Congress a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Biden has taken steps to boosting refugee admissions (and expanding the requirements to qualify as a refugee), protecting so-called "Dreamers" or those who came here illegally as a minor alone or with their parents, and expanding Obama's "DACA"  or "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" program.

It should be noted that under United Nations guidelines, refugees are considered those fleeing their country due to war/conflict or ethnic and/or religious persecution. UN guidelines state that refugees must go to the next nearest safe country, not traverse the continent to find one of their liking.  However, per the UN, those seeking economic betterment do not qualify as refugees.

Biden's proposals ignore that exception since most individuals seeking entry into the United States are doing so to improve their economic status. Biden has stated that the U.S. is committed to settling some 20,000 refugees, particularly from Latin America, and most notably from Haiti. He is also resuming the Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program which will allow reunification of Cubans with their American relatives (a similar program will be made available for Haitians). 

He also decided not to enforce the "public charge rule", denying green cards to those who would use them to obtain taxpayer backed benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security, as well as food stamps. Biden also supports legislation to allow the estimated 11.5 million here illegally a means whereby they can remain legally, and even obtain citizenship over a eight years period.  

69% of those issued a green card are based on pre-existing family ties here in the United States. 14% are issued for purpose of obtaining legal employment. 8% are given to refugees while their application for permanent residency is being processed under the Temporary Protection Program.  Another aspect of Biden's loosened immigration policy is broadening standards needed to obtain a H-1 Work Visa, especially for highly skilled or agricultural workers (which comprised 22% and 24% of the visa's issued). 

Another change made by the Biden Administration has been the restructuring of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (or better known as "ICE"). From now on, it will restrict its immigration enforcement to those who pose a threat to U.S. national security such as felons and recent illegal immigrants (thus excusing the so-called "Dreamers").  It would also reprioritized  to lower status those with older non-felony criminal records.

In the last 11 months of the Trump Administration, an average of 6,000 illegal  immigrants were arrested  monthly by ICE. Under Biden, that number has dropped by half for the first 11 months of his administration.  Biden also moved to halt Title 42, which was the last effective legal mechanism for deporting illegal immigrants.

Title 42 was a public health order which provided government the power to deport an immigrant for health reasons such as the spread of contagious diseases like STDs or Covid. This was to have gone into effect in May 2022. However, just prior to being halted, a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the move which means immigrants can still be deported for spreading certain diseases...for now.

Also among those whose arrest have been reprioritized  are illegal females who are pregnant, recently given birth, or are currently nursing, along with those currently hospitalized, under doctor's care, attending a public function like a wedding or funeral, attending a religious function, or is at a social services facility. Children at school or on a playground may not be apprehended (including their parents or other relatives). The idea appears to be to create a softer and more compassionate immigration enforcement agency.  

ICE raids of businesses are known to strike fear in the hearts of illegal immigrants out of fear of arrest and deportation, while proving to be an annoyance to employers who are often fined but rarely arrested, face the loss or suspension of their business license, or serve time.  Between 2000 and 2020, there were nearly 30,000 arrests of employees as a result of these raids but fewer than 75 managers.  

Now, under Biden, such raids have stopped. In addition, now the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are actually encouraging illegal employees to rat on employers for "exploitative" or unsafe employment practices in exchange for legal protection and deferred deportation status (in other words, DHS looks the other way while they're given a head start to get out of Dodge and find another job). 

Lastly, the Biden Administration ended the family separation program, which was begun under the Obama Administration, but for which President Trump was blamed by the media. In conjunction, Biden also ended the long term family detention program which had been in effect since 2001.

So, what does all this mean? As a result of the changes discussed above, the border patrol has stated that they are anticipating as many as 18,000 attempted illegal border crossing per day. Yet, despite the changes, Biden didn't change the funding for DHS or ICE in FY 2022.  But for FY 2023, he is requesting $56.7 billion for Homeland Security, which includes an 80% increase in funding for immigration courts.

However, Biden is also asking for a 8% reduction in funding for ICE's Enforcement and Removal program while funding of the Border Patrol is expected to see a 13% increase over the previous funding. This increase calls for the hiring of an additional 300 border agents.

More technology will be added to border protection, which will increase to $309 million. It includes funding for additional watch towers, personnel sensors,  aircraft/drones, and aircraft monitors to detect incoming planes. Lastly, funding of ICE's detention operations will see a drop by about 25%.

This represents a decrease from 34,000 beds to around 25,000, meaning that ICE will not be capable of holding as many detainees, which in turn, encourages fewer arrests and more rapid processing. Overall, Biden's FY 2023 budget, as it pertains to containing and curtailing illegal immigration isn't much different than President Trump's. Critics of the budget are already chiding Biden for "more of the same". 

With just under two more years remaining in office, it's unlikely Biden will do anything dramatic. It's also just as likely that, given his consistently poor approval rating (which is currently at 36% for the fourth straight week), that Biden will see a second term (not to mention his declining mental health). There's also an increasing likelihood that the Democrats could lose control of at least one chamber of Congress in the midterm elections this November.

Overall, his FY 2023 budget appears more of a readjustment of both Obama's and Trump's immigration policies rather than anything new. Having said that, the ongoing situation in Ukraine will likely result in more refugees being accepted than expected.

Afghanistan too is continuing to unravel as the Taliban slowly try to re-impose its version of Sharia law despite assurances to the contrary. This has been particularly hard on female professionals who had begun to thrive during the American occupation as they had during the pre-Taliban era. The same thing applies to females being able to attend school. 

In addition, there were thousands who aided the U.S. military in various capacities that were left behind. The number of these individuals applying for emergency refugee protective status will grow and for the most part will be granted.  The situation in Syria for the Kurds and Yazidis who face severe ethnic and religious discrimination, and in some instances, attempts at genocide, will worsen as will their applications for emergency refugee status. Additionally, there has been an increase in illegal immigration from countries in Asia facing unstable political situations, not to mention the growing threat of war due to China's growing aggression.   

Finally, there will be continued mass migration from South and Central America due to growing economic instability, increasing violence, and political corruption (which tend to include the police and military).   Thus far, most of it is stopped at the Mexican/U.S. border. However, the influx has put a tremendous strain on Mexico's resources, despite increased U.S. aid (the State Department confirms that in 2021 we gave $321 million dollars to Mexico and Central America in humanitarian aid). This money covered refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants, and is expected to increase under Biden.

It's worth nothing that while amnesty isn't on the table this go around, the Biden Administration has switched gears when it comes to businesses hiring illegal workers. Now, under Biden's revised plan, ICE agents would "look the other way" in exchange for employees ratting out employers, meaning more illegal workers will remain in the country rather than be deported.  

Also not on the table is what to do about individuals and groups who undermine U.S. immigration law by illegally bringing illegals into this country and providing them with housing, jobs, and other forms of assistance (most of these are religious groups who believe they're exempt from the law). 

Like with businesses, those caught could face fines, loss of their tax exempt status, and/or jail time. Taxpayers pay out an estimated $113 million dollars a year to support these illegals, not including what they unknowingly give in the way of donations to certain churches and religious institutions. Apparently, there will no change in the existing laws unless forced by U.S. citizens. 

Until the political class in Washington and around the country develops the fortitude to put an end to illegal immigration while simultaneously proving aid to legitimate humanitarian needs, illegal immigration will remain a growing problem and will lead to a destabilization of the U.S. economy, as well as the political and social structure of this nation. This will require the American voters to reward and punish those politicians at the ballot box and to call them out at every public venue possible.


If you want to know more, please take a look at the links below. If you enjoyed the article, please consider passing it along to others and don't forget to subscribe. It's free! Lastly please be sure to "like" us on whatever platform you use to read A/O. It helps with the algorithms and keeps our articles in circulation. Thank you!  


Biden Administration moving to protect Dreamers after Texascourt ruling

2022 Changes to the Public Charge Inadmissibility Rule andImplications for Health Care

Key facts about U.S. immigration policies and Biden's proposed changes

Biden Advocates More Legal Pathways to Reduce IllegalImmigration


Biden at the One-Year Mark: A Greater Change in Direction onImmigration Than Is Recognized

President Biden's Executive Actions on Immigration

Judge blocks Biden Administration from lifting public healthorder

How border apprehensions, ICE arrest and deportations havechanged under Trump



Anonymous said...

Paul, I’m disappointed. Undocumented workers till the fields and, as we saw under Trump and Obama, sometimes food was allowed to rot because there were no workers to harvest the crops. Reagan, that Republican icon gave amnesty to 11 million while he was in office. I assume that we’re not prosecuting those we think are gaming the system because it’s so hard to prove.

Paul Hosse said...

Well, they're not "undocumented". Calling them "undocumented" is like trying say they left their green card at home in their other pants. That's not the case. They knowingly broke the law. They committed a crime regardless of the reason. They're here illegally and in violation of our existing immigration laws. Yes, immigrants are very important. The ones who come here to work are the ones we want to keep. They do a lot of hard, tedious, and often backbreaking work for very little money. But their illegal status also means they can be taken advantage of. They can be forced to work long hours with few or no breaks, in unsafe and miserable work conditions for next to nothing and no benefits. Their legal status means they can't do anything much about it, and the employer knows it. If they want to come here and work, that's great! Welcome. All we ask is that they do so legally. Apply for a work permit. Keep it updated. It's not difficult and it would benefit everybody. Oh, and you're correct. Reagan was the first president to offer amnesty to illegal workers, with the assurance there wouldn't be further amnesties offered and the federal government would crack down on illegals. That didn't happen.