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Biden's immigration agency choices won't help end the border crisis

Biden's immigration agency choices won't help end the border crisis
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Don’t for one second believe the spin from the Biden White House about the immigration crisis at our southern border that is being parroted by its pious corporate media cronies. There is absolutely nothing “normal” or “seasonal” about the border crisis and the unprecedented wave of migrants who are streaming into our country. 

Recently released apprehension figures from April show that more than 178,000 people were caught illegally entering the U.S. — a 944 percent increase from a year ago. This is the highest total for a single month in more than two decades. 

Single adults are driving the surge, but the unaccompanied alien children (UACs) — the most vulnerable illegal immigrants — are a chief concern. Statistics show that 17,171 UACs were apprehended in April, the second highest number in the Border Patrol’s 96-year history. And not surprisingly, the number of unaccompanied minor children in federal custody (some 20,000) is  the highest  on record.

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Unfortunately, at the helm of the Biden immigration fleet is the Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasDemocrats press ICE, DHS to not re-detain migrants released during pandemic Report: Nearly 4,000 children separated from parents at border under Trump Texas governor to sign bill banning vaccine passports MORE, despite his reputation of being no friend of immigration enforcement and a key architect of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. With the nation enduring a pandemic and facing threats of terrorism, Mayorkas was confirmed swiftly by the Senate with a bipartisan vote of 56 to 43. Senators of both parties gave him the benefit of the doubt that he’d uphold his pledge to “defend and secure our country” in the midst of several national crises.  

They clearly made a mistake.

Since taking office, Mayorkas has done everything in his power to incentivize illegal immigration into this country. Catch-and-release is in full swing, with tens of thousands of undocumented migrants being released into the country — many without COVID-19 test. Their removal from the interior of the country has slowed to a trickle and critical agreements with our Central American neighbors to tamp down on asylum abuses have been canned

Despite this dereliction of duty, it’s unlikely that Mayorkas will step down from his job or be fired. Still, he has a responsibility to assess the border crisis that he has helped to create and reconsider the three people he’s backing to lead the agencies that work under him to protect the border, enforce immigration laws in the interior of the country, and oversee the legal immigration process. President BidenJoe BidenPutin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting How the infrastructure bill can help close the digital divide Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE has nominated three individuals to fill critical roles who are unacceptable for the positions, given their track records:

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) nominee Chris Magnus who, as chief of police of Tucson, Ariz., claimed immigration enforcement makes the United States less safe. He would oversee the nation’s sundry border enforcement operation. 
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) nominee Ed Gonzalez, who as sheriff of Harris County, Texas, opposed cooperation between local law enforcement and the very agency he has been nominated to lead. The ability of state and local authorities to cooperate with federal immigration agents is not only federal law, but critical to ensuring that ICE protects the nation from criminal and illegal aliens.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services nominee Ur Jaddou is a mass immigration amnesty advocate who could try to bend or break rules and laws expressly designed to exclude people who do not qualify for immigration benefits. 

There’s a lot the Biden administration could do to curb some of the policy abuses they’ve put in place, but what the Senate can do is refuse to confirm these candidates the president has nominated to help enforce the nation’s immigration laws. Putting yet another layer of people in charge of federal agencies whose very mission they oppose is a colossal mistake. Clearly, a lot of damage has been done with Mayorkas in the lead, but Biden shouldn’t make things worse. 

Dave Ray is director of communications at Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).