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Border, Tijuana, CA, USA. Photo credit: Barbara Zandoval

Biden’s border crisis

The US states of Arizona and Montana are taking legal action to block new Biden administration immigration regulations. The crisis at the southern US border started brewing at the end of 2020 because the human and drug trafficking cartels expected President Joe Biden to have a “hands-off” attitude.

Published: March 10, 2021, 11:49 am

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    The new rules limit the capability of ICE to detain some illegal immigrants unless they pose a threat to US national security, entered through the border after November 1, or committed aggravated felonies. The Biden administration has argued that the new lax attitude to border crossings would not impair arresting or deporting criminals, but the immigration enforcement officers like to differ.

    “Meth trafficked into Montana by Mexican drug cartels has wracked our state. The problem will only be made worse if the Biden administration continues to allow criminals to stay in the country,” Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen explained. “Enforcing our immigration laws and helping to keep Americans safe is one of the federal government’s most important functions. The Biden administration is failing its basic responsibility to Americans.”

    Republicans have blamed US President Joe Biden and the Democrats for failing to deal with recent waves of migration. The White House has refused to confirm the number of unaccompanied minors being detained in custody amidst reports that the number has tripled in the last couple of weeks alone to 3250. The involvement of Mexican drug cartels has meant a significant spike in the number of children. Researchers have already documented hundreds of cases of children involved in human and drug smuggling activities.

    “We have a crisis on the border,” Republican Senator Tom Cotton told Fox News. “This is the Biden border crisis. Now Joe Biden and the Democrats may not think it’s a border crisis because they don’t believe in borders. So by definition you don’t believe that there can be a crisis at the border, but the American people know we have a crisis there.”

    This was foreseeable. The Republicans had already warned last year that you cannot promise open borders and health care for illegal immigrants without a crisis at the border, warned Cotton. “And what has happened has not only happened in the past few weeks, but every month since the elections we have seen more people on our southern border.”

    Previously, ex-President Donald Trump had also criticized the development in a statement: “Our border is now completely out of control because of the disastrous leadership of Joe Biden.” He also warned of overcrowded hospitals, an overburdened administration and increasingly scarce jobs.

    Also, the number of migrants who have tested positive for the Coronavirus and are being released into the US to travel anywhere, has nearly doubled, according to Fox News.

    According to a report by broadcaster CBS, US protection agencies had registered more than 7 000 migrant children in February. In the first four days of March alone, another 1 500 unaccompanied minor migrants who wanted to cross the border between Mexico and the USA were taken into custody. Meanwhile, an average of 337 children per day are registered by the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

    The news site Axios spoke of a “growing problem for the new president and his political and social authorities” caused by “the influx of unaccompanied minors”. According to the report, the border patrol intercepted an average of 321 children per day in the last week of February. At the end of January and beginning of February the weekly average was 203 children per day, in the first week of January it was 47 children per day.

    Internal documents from the Ministry of Health also showed that the “shelter system”, a programme which aims to provide shelter for the homeless and migrants at the border, has now reached 94 percent occupancy and could reach its maximum capacity this month.

    Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reportedly asked officials from his agency on Monday to volunteer to help register the “overwhelming” number of migrants at the border, according to a Fox News report. In early March, the Mayorkas had denied reports that there was a serious crisis building on the southern US border. “The men and women of the Home Protection Department work around the clock, seven days a week, to make sure we don’t have a crisis at the border,” he declared at a press conference at the White House.

    According to a White House domestic policy council document, the number of unaccompanied minors at the border in 2021 will be around 117 000. It is at least 50 percent higher than the record number of children who arrived in the 2019 “humanitarian crisis” for which Donald Trump was lambasted. But Trump had tried to discourage illegals from crossing.

    In February, some 100 000 immigrants were stopped by the Border Patrol agents for illegal border crossing. “I actually think that’s an undercount,” Victor Manjarrez Jr, an ex-Border Patrol agent at Texas University, commented.

    The policy of “catch-and-release” has been reinstated by Biden which means that illegals crossing from Mexico cannot be held for more than 72 hours. They are thus released to await a future court date, but most never show up.

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