WESLEY SMITH, ACLJ
The crisis on the southern border of the United States continues to grow with evermore serious ramifications—all while the Biden Administration continues to not recognize it as a crisis at all. They prefer to call it a “challenge.” Yet what is happening there is a vivid illustration of the “law of consequences,” a principle that is apparently lost on those in charge in Washington, D.C.
When border security is weak and illegal immigrants believe they are tacitly (if not directly) invited to illegally cross by the new Administration, it is no surprise that our border agents are overwhelmed by the thousands of people attempting to gain entry into the United States.
This is a clear and present danger, a humanitarian crisis impacting thousands of helpless children. And it is completely preventable if only President Biden has the willpower.
The number of unaccompanied children crossing the border has tripled in just two weeks. As of last week, 3,250 children are being held in facilities that the Left considered as abusive and immoral when temporarily used by the Trump Administration. The “children in cages” was not a Trump era practice; it began in the Obama Administration. Like him or not, President Trump drastically decreased the number of children and others being held by using a border wall and by the Migrant Protections Protocol—the “Remain in Mexico” policy where people were held there while their petitions for coming to America were processed. Minors who crossed illegally were returned to their countries of origin, with every effort made to reunite them with their families.
Now, however, over 5,800 children illegally crossed the border in January alone, and another 23,992 in February, according to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). Over 78,000 illegal immigrants were detained in January—the most in over a decade—and another 100,441 in February 2021. The rush at the border is unprecedented.
Catch-and-Release was stopped by the Trump Administration. President Biden has overturned most of the previous border security policies, including that policy. Last week, over 100 immigrants were released into the interior of the United States even though they all tested positive for COVID-19. As one Senator pointed out, the new border and immigration policies by President Biden are viewed as an invitation to cross the border and are now virtually “recruit and release.”
In President Biden’s first week in office, he halted wall construction, ended Trump’s travel ban from 14 countries, and decreed that no one would be deported for the first 100 days of his presidency—not even convicted felons. There is a reason that many immigrants come to the border wearing t-shirts that read “Biden Please Let Us In.” In short, what is happening on the border is a chaotic mess. But it is a crisis of the new Administration’s own making.
Reports also surfaced that the Biden Administration canceled, or “postponed” (bureaucracy-speak for canceled) Operation Talon – a Trump Administration operation aimed at removing convicted sex offenders living illegally in the U.S. Canceling Operation Talon is so catastrophic that 18 State Attorneys General recently wrote to the Biden Administration, urging it to reverse the cancellation and persuasively laying out the reasons it must do so.
The Biden Administration’s Southern Border Coordinator, Roberta Jacobson, recently said that it was not a “coincidence” border crossing attempts spiked after President Biden took office.
Asked at a White House press briefing if surges at the border could be linked to Biden’s undoing of Trump-era border policies, Jacobson, who serves as special assistant to the President and was U.S. Ambassador to Mexico from 2016 to 2018, said:
“We’ve seen surges before. Surges tend to respond to hope, and there was significant hope for a more humane policy after four years of pent-up demand . . . so I don’t know if I would call that a coincidence. . . . But the idea that a more humane policy would be in place may have driven people to make that decision, but perhaps, more importantly, it definitely drove smugglers to express disinformation, spread disinformation about what was now possible.”
Note: She just admitted, among other things, that Biden policies have encouraged the smugglers’ trade.
This is both a national security issue and a moral issue. Due to new feckless policies, children are indeed being held in jail-like facilities. Human traffickers are taking advantage of the border chaos, and young girls and boys are sexually exploited. Other smugglers take young people and adults and simply assist them in crossing the border. Some smugglers cross the border with children while pretending to be their parents. After the children are freed, these smugglers return to Mexico only to repeat the process over and over.
President Biden is trying to make good on his campaign promise to be more compassionate to immigrants. This is NOT compassion. It is unfair to the immigrants who make the perilous trek to the U.S. border with the belief they will be accepted. It is unfair and abusive to the young people who fall victim to human traffickers. It is unfair to the Americans who live along the border when their property and safety is put at risk. In the midst of a pandemic, it is unconscionably unfair to knowingly allow people with COVID-19 to be released into the general population. And all of this is grossly unfair to the thousands of potential legal immigrants who are waiting to enter the country and begin a new life in America—and who are going about it in the right way.
The Biden Administration must respond to this blinding flash of the obvious: Their border policies are making the situation worse, much worse. President Biden must not overturn policies of the previous Administration simply because they were put in place while Donald Trump was President of the United States. He must reevaluate the situation at the southern border with the goal of establishing a humane policy that includes clear messaging, border security, and discourages those who would come here illegally. He must fulfill his primary obligation to the health, safety, and security of the people of the United States.
At the ACLJ, our Government Accountability Project is already hard at work preparing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests on these issues. The American people deserve to know who in our government is intentionally making policy decisions that endanger thousands of children and victims of sexual violence. It is repugnant, and we will not stop until these horrendous policies that encourage human trafficking and exploit helpless children are reversed. President Biden can and MUST end this humanitarian crisis at the border.
Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.
Chaplain Colonel (Retired) J. Wesley Smith is Senior Military Analyst at the American Center for Law and Justice. He served 26 years in the Army, with two combat deployments. Prior to his retirement in 2013 Wesley was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Chaplains (Headquarters Department of the Army) with duty as the Senior Army Chaplain at Dover Air Force Base and the Dover Port Mortuary, as well as the senior- ranking Army Chaplain for over-watch of all Casualty Operations. In his military career he served as a Field Artillery Battalion Chaplain, a Field Hospital Chaplain, a Battalion and Assistant Brigade Chaplain with US Army Aviation, and as the Brigade Chaplain for the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division. For four years he was the Religion and Culture Analyst for Army Central Command (ARCENT) where he advised the Commanding General’s staff on the impact of religion and culture on the Army’s mission in the 17 countries in which ARCENT operated. (Chaplain Colonel Smith’s full bio)