Border Patrol agents nationwide have arrested more people who crossed the border unlawfully in 18 months under President Joe Biden than during former President Barack Obama's two terms, underscoring the extent of the border crisis.
Under Biden there have been 3,484,327 apprehensions of unauthorized migrants compared to 3,384,816 in Obama's two terms, The Washington Examiner reported. Some illegal migrants attempted more than once to cross, particularly during the pandemic, because agents immediately expelled many back to Mexico.
Federal agents have made 150,000 to 200,000 arrests each month over the past 18 months, mostly on the U.S.-Mexico border, The Washington Examiner reported. Ten months into the government's 2022 fiscal year, the Border Patrol has apprehended 1,822,620 people — exceeding the 2021 record of 1,662,167.
Vice President Kamala Harris said in an NBC interview earlier this month: "We have a secure border in that that is a priority for any nation, including ours and our administration, but there are still a lot of problems that we are trying to fix given the deterioration that happened over the last four years."
Biden's softening of tone on immigration compared to former President Donald Trump's hard-line talk is seen as a green light for people in other countries to migrate, analysts say.
The Biden administration stopped turning away unaccompanied child migrants, attempted to halt deportations for 100 days, and suspended border wall construction, The Washington Examiner noted.
Since March 2020, immigrants arriving at the southern border have not been allowed to seek asylum at land ports of entry as part of the Title 42 public health order. In response, those desperate for help walk around the port and illegally enter.
Because Border Patrol agents could turn away illegal immigrants during the pandemic, it has led to higher recidivism rates than pre-pandemic years. People sent back to Mexico may try to enter illegally again and continue doing so until they get in without getting apprehended, The Washington Examiner noted.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, blamed Biden's "catastrophic" open-border policies for the strain placed on Texas communities and resources, TheTexan.com reported.
"The Biden-Harris Administration continues ignoring and denying the historic crisis at our southern border, which has endangered and overwhelmed Texas communities for almost two years," Abbott said in a news release.
"Our supposed Border Czar, Vice President Kamala Harris, has yet to even visit the border to see firsthand the impact of the open border policies she has helped implement, even going so far as to claim the border is 'secure.' Texas will continue sending migrants to sanctuary cities like Washington, D.C., until President Biden and Border Czar Harris step up and do their jobs to secure the border."
"I think there is no question that we have to do what the president and I asked Congress to do — the first request we made — pass a bill to create a pathway to citizenship," Harris said in the NBC interview. She said a pathway to citizenship does not yet exist because "people are playing politics" on what was once a "bipartisan issue."
The Biden administration maintains it has focused its efforts on improving conditions within federal immigration facilities and quickly releasing people. It has opened numerous tent facilities where thousands of immigrants are detained each day as they are processed and either removed from the country or released with a future immigration court date.
In her column Sunday in The New York Times, Maureen Dowd wrote: "The argument that migrants coming across the border have a more severe impact on border states is obviously valid. You can’t have a nearly unchecked flood of people coming in — an average of 8,500 a day, according to Axios.
"It is also a valid criticism that Democrats — both in the White House and Congress — are going out of their way to avoid what they see as a third rail with progressives. The border is just the tip of the spear.
"Democrats are too afraid of angering the base to bear down and overhaul the system, including tackling the backlog of court cases and fixing how those cases are adjudicated."
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