“Catch and Release” Has Become “Greet and Release”

COMMENTARY Immigration

“Catch and Release” Has Become “Greet and Release”

Jun 15, 2023 2 min read

Commentary By

Lora Ries @lora_ries

Director, Border Security and Immigration Center

Simon Hankinson @WatchfulWaiter1

Senior Research Fellow

People wait in line to enter the U.S. at the San Ysidro crossing port on the U.S.-Mexico border, as seen from Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico on May 31, 2023. GUILLERMO ARIAS / AFP / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Since President Biden took office, the number of illegal aliens encountered at our southwestern border has exceeded all records.

There has been no significant reduction in illegal entrants. They have simply been renamed and redirected.

Congress needs to defund the administration’s open-borders operations.

Since President Biden took office, the number of illegal aliens encountered at our southwestern border has exceeded all records. Yet the administration continues to deny this undeniable fact.

It’s boasting that border encounters have plummeted due to its supposedly tough “Comprehensive Plan to Manage the Border After Title 42.” But this plan is nothing more than a smoke screen for the administration’s true objective: Let in as many aliens as possible and punt them into backlogged asylum and court systems—in most cases without proper GPS tracking or scheduled court appearances.

In a June 6 “victory lap” press release that media outlets and allies on Capitol Hill quickly echoed, the White House claimed that its “historic expansion of lawful pathways” has reduced “unlawful entries between ports of entry … by 70% since May 11,” the day Title 42 authority ended.

It’s a shell game. The administration is comparing the historical high of 10,000 daily illegal alien southwest border encounters in the days before Title 42 ended with the 3,000 per day after the Title 42 termination.

>>> Deceptive Numbers and Word Games Are Hiding Continued Mass Illegal Immigration Post–Title 42

Former President Barack Obama’s second secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, said that 2,000 daily encounters was a bad day, so this is nothing to brag about. The Biden administration, however, is deceiving Americans about how many inadmissible aliens continue to be released into the U.S., albeit through ports of entry.

There has been no significant reduction in illegal entrants. They have simply been renamed and redirected. Tens of thousands of illegal aliens whom the Border Patrol would have “encountered”—that is, administratively arrested—crossing between ports of entry are now being welcomed into the country at air and land entry points by inspectors with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations.

The crucial number for tracking the surge in illegal immigration under Mr. Biden is how many total foreign nationals with no visa are being allowed into the U.S. nationwide. This number remains exceptionally high; April was the fourth-highest month on record. The White House is attempting to obscure this reality through unlawful action, botched accounting, manipulation of statistics, and exploiting a pliable and incurious media.

If you examine the numbers in the June 6 DHS press statement, encounters with the Border Patrol have averaged 3,400 per day since May 11, but 1,070 other inadmissible aliens presented themselves at a port of entry each day using Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ erroneously named “lawful pathway,” and CBP has since expanded daily appointments to 1,250. That is 37,500 inadmissible aliens each month.

This does not even include 23,000 supposedly vetted and sponsored Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan nationals who came in last month through a parole “pathway” that started in January. When added up, these two mass parole port programs released 60,500 inadmissible aliens per month. If this number were shifted back to the Border Patrol encounter data on the southwestern land border, monthly encounters would be back at or above the administration’s record-setting 200,000 levels again.

>>> Biden’s Open Border Policy Fuels Violence Against Women, Children

One thing is clear: Cartels and human traffickers are well aware of the Biden administration’s true agenda. They will continue to make billions from bringing millions more economic migrants—including families and young children—to the border, while harming them along the way.

Sadly, the administration remains committed to unlimited illegal immigration, and it is clearly using sleight of hand and administrative abuse to achieve it. Meanwhile, the White House threatens that “unless Congress comes together in a bipartisan way to address our broken immigration and asylum system,” which is code for mass amnesty, this deliberate chaos will continue.

Instead, Congress needs to defund the administration’s open-borders operations, increase Immigration and Customs Enforcement resources to find and remove the released masses, and consider legislation that will bring true and lasting border security to America.

Until then, the Biden administration’s “welcome and release” agenda will continue unabated with media air cover. The American people, however, shouldn’t fall for its misleading numbers or word games.

This piece originally appeared in The Washington Times