A crisis now exists on our southern border. This predicament is described in terms of a surge of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States. A reversal of past administration’s border policies by the current President of the United States has worsened this situation. People on both sides of the border are suffering.
This crisis has two dimensions: Humanitarian, coupled with national security implications. First, look at the humanitarian plight: Unaccompanied minors, defined as children under the age of 18, are inundating the border facilities. The current fiscal year (FY) numbers are at 29,000 unaccompanied children.
Compare that to just over 33,000 unaccompanied children in fiscal year 2020.
At that rate, the FY 2021 numbers of children attempting to enter the U.S. without parents could surpass well over 80,000. Additionally, the holding cells for these youngsters cannot accommodate the numbers being placed in them. As a result, infectious diseases (Scabies, lice, flu, and COVID-19) run unchecked.
To further underline the severity of this humanitarian crisis, turn to a report from the “Doctors Without Borders”. According to that organization, “two-thirds of migrants traveling through Mexico have experienced adduction, theft, extortion, torture, and rape”.
Next, the national security implications: The current surge of illegal crossings at our southern border has rendered our southern border porous. The priority mission now emplaced upon our Border Agents is to attend to the needs of the families and unaccompanied children. This has left our border open to human trafficking and drug and weapons smuggling. The criminal cartels are taking advantage of this situation. This question must be asked: What other element is utilizing this lapse in security to cause harm to the security of our country?
Describing the Biden administration’s border policies as compassionate contradicts the above-mentioned reality “on the ground”. The ongoing situation on our border dispels the administration’s claims to be concerned about the welfare of our neighbors to the South. It also displays a disregard for the safety and welfare of American citizens. No aspect of this policy can be described as compassionate; quite the opposite. Improving the lot of immigrants cannot be accomplished by ignoring, or, even worse, denying the dangers of illegal border crossings to the immigrants involved.
The current surge in border crossings is the result of immigration policies promoted by President Biden during the past Presidential campaign and placed into effect by Executive Order upon inauguration. This administration ignored the lessons learned by the previous administration and its successful management of the immigration issue.
On Sunday, March 21, 2021, in response to a reporter's question, the President tacitly admitted that the immigration policies put in place by the former administration was proven to slow the illegal immigration, was correct and indeed their current goal to implement. Those policies, the Migrant Protection Protocols, are the ones that Biden reversed immediately upon his inauguration.
The current administration is naive to think that human trafficking of unaccompanied youngsters would not occur. Many of them have sent their minor children unaccompanied in the hope that they would reach freedom and break the cycle of poverty in which they live. None of us can imagine the heartbreak that such a decision entailed.
Growing evidence exists that those unaccompanied children will become victims of human traffickers. Furthermore, it is heartless to separate children from their parents due to the immense logistical problem cause by a huge influx of people entering this country illegally.
The current administration has encouraged hundreds of thousands of human beings living under poverty and despotic regimes to begin their march to the United States where prosperity and freedom are promised. If this was done to promote a better life for others, it was misguided. If the motive to alter the political landscape of America it was morally wrong.
We are a nation that gladly opens its arms to those from other lands. Our strength is built on that compassionate approach. However, that approach must be based on the rule of law…not political manipulation.
Jeff Holbrook is the chairman of the Pennington County Republican Party.