(The Center Square) – The immigration crisis has been a thorn in the side of President Joe Biden, and the administration’s latest plan to tackle the issue is facing pushback.
Critics are taking aim at Biden’s latest proposal after months of federal data show illegal immigration has only grown worse. In the proposal released this week, Biden pledged an “expedited removal process for those who arrive at the border,” and faster processing for those seeking asylum.
The plan also calls for strengthening relationships with Latin American countries to prevent migrants from reaching the border in the first place.
“We will always be a nation of borders, and we will enforce our immigration laws in a way that is fair and just,” the White House said in a statement. “We will continue to work to fortify an orderly immigration system.”
Notably, Biden emphasized his previously released budget, which removes funding away from the border wall, his predecessor’s signature immigration policy.
“Since fiscal year 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) discretionary budget has grown from $9.9 billion to $15 billion in FY 2021,” the White House said. “The President’s Budget redirects resources from a needless border wall to make robust investments in smarter border security measures, like border technology and modernization of land ports of entry, that are proven to be more effective at improving safety and security at the border.”
The plan comes after months of troubling federal immigration data. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported encountering nearly 190,000 illegal immigrants trying to enter the country in the month of June alone, a 5% increase from the previous month.
“We are in the hottest part of the summer, and we are seeing a high number of distress calls to CBP from migrants abandoned in treacherous terrain by smugglers with no regard for human life,” CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said. “Although CBP does everything it can to locate and rescue individuals who are lost or distressed, the bottom line is this: the terrain along the border is extreme, the summer heat is severe, and the miles of desert migrants must hike after crossing the border in many areas are unforgiving.”
Axios reported this week that 50,000 illegal immigrants have been released into the country without a court date, and only about 13% show up to Immigration and Customs Enforcement as requested.
Local reporting in border counties show that in many cases immigrants infected with COVID-19 are also allowed in and placed in hotels, raising concerns about the spread of the virus. CBP is still operating under Title 42, which allows the expulsion of illegal immigrants over concerns about the spread of COVID. The administration has not applied this order as aggressively as the Trump administration.
Critics said Biden’s plan will do little to reverse the growing trend of illegal immigration anytime soon.
“Unfortunately, this plan inspires little confidence that we will see substantial declines in illegal crossings or the massive abuse of the U.S. asylum system anytime soon,” said Ken Oliver, senior director of Right on Immigration at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “The single biggest red flag in President Biden’s new immigration plan is its failure to recognize that the United States is facing a problem of massive asylum abuse. The administration continues to show no intention to end it.”
Oliver argues a broader interpretation of asylum is inviting more immigrants to come to the U.S.
“Asylum was never meant to provide protection for hundreds of thousands of victims of gang violence or spousal abuse in other countries,” Oliver said. “But the Biden Blueprint boasts about opening up both of these new categories for asylum protection.”
Another point of contention is Biden’s more positive portrayal of the current immigration crisis.
“The border crisis has been anything but ‘fair, orderly, or humane,’” said Lori Ries, a homeland security expert at the Heritage Foundation. “The Biden Administration can keep repeating these words, but it just makes it more obvious to the American people that the administration doesn’t want you to believe what you see playing out every day at the border. Everything this administration does regarding immigration has the purpose of providing more pathways for more immigrants to enter the U.S. and remain here. The Biden admin stating in the fact sheet that it continues to deter illegal (‘irregular’) migration at our Southern border and that the Trump administration failed to securely manage our border does not even pass the laugh test.”