The crisis on our southern border is worsening by the day. It can be traced directly to the Biden Administration’s decision back on February 16 to abandon the asylum pacts between the United States and Mexico that we in the Trump Administration worked hard to implement.
Then, this week, the Biden Administration officially terminated the “Remain in Mexico” joint agreement. That understanding between the U.S. and Mexico was the result of the Trump Administration’s efforts to fix and replace the broken immigration policies employed by the Obama Administration. My team negotiated this simple idea into being: You cannot stay in the United States until your legal entry into the country has been determined. Period. This turned off the magnet for those seeking asylum only for the purpose of remaining in the United States during the pendency of your claim – and often longer.
Now, the Biden Administration seems set on going even further than the Obama Administration. President Biden has called for a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States. And he’s doing this without even attempting to address the current crisis at the border. Recent reports indicate that an overhaul of the asylum process is in the works, the result of which would be a more expedited system allowing those here illegally to stay in our country. Such pronouncements may sound good to the radical Left, but they will only incentivize more illegal immigration and worsen the crisis on our southern border that is allowing more drugs, human trafficking, and crime to spread into the heartland of America.
The Trump Administration’s approach to immigration was common-sense. We didn’t shut the door on immigrants who wanted to come to our country legally to make a better life for themselves; we simply took away the incentives for them to do so illegally. Our ‘remain in Mexico’ policy spelled this out – if you wished to apply for asylum in the United States, you could not already be here unlawfully. The Biden Administration discarded all that good work in order to virtue signal to its base – a base which is comprised of elites who are far removed from the problem and have no idea of the cost it is imposing on the United States or the migrants themselves.
Those who think the Biden Administration’s current policy direction is more humane and decent are mistaken. Creating the incentive to enter the United States illegally has made it open season on our border with Mexico overwhelming our border patrol and the local governments of our border states.
The number of illegal immigrants apprehended at our southern border in April 2021 was higher than it has been in 21 years. Roughly 360,000 illegal immigrants – over 35,000 being unaccompanied minors – crossed the border illegally. And they aren’t being returned to wait in Mexico or their host country. Every one of these children had to cross the border at the peril of the gangs and thugs who extort and traffic migrants unable to pay the price for being smuggled across. The Trump Administration recognized this situation and made it an unviable option. Now, the Biden Administration has made those gangs and cartels rich by adopting policies that give them back their inhumane source of income, further incentivizing illegal immigration by relaxing and accelerating the asylum process.
The left-pandering morally bankrupt policies of the Biden Administration are doomed to fail—they will fail our country and fail those to whom America offers great promise. What should be a matter of enacting sound immigration policy, which prevents crises such as the current one from unfolding, has now been turned into a political weapon.
The ACLJ is actively engaged in this fight. It has been filing FOIA requests to get to the bottom of why the Biden Administration seems content to sit and watch the migrant surge grow without taking action. When team Biden failed to comply with that request, the ACLJ filed lawsuits compelling it to cooperate. America deserves to know the cause of this egregious inaction, and the ACLJ will be relentless in pursuit of the truth.
The United States is a fundamentally good nation. We have always recognized the importance of helping those in need – historically, we have taken in more refugees than any other nation in the world. But good immigration policy must first and foremost ensure the safety of the American people and uphold the rule of law, while also limiting the suffering and enhancing the safety of those seeking to enter our country legally to the greatest extent possible.
The Trump Administration understood this, and our policies worked. The Biden Administration’s policies have failed on both counts, and unless they embrace common sense and correct their current course, the disaster on our southern border will only intensify.
Mike Pompeo is the former Secretary of State and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
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