"Look, I believe in immigration, but when is enough, enough?"
These aren’t my words—they came from Democrat Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas. I bet they are also the feelings of most Americans.
Americans may be divided on the number of immigrants to admit every year, whether to prioritize family or employment in selecting them, or how to deal with the millions here illegally. But most understand that this country can only function under the rule of law—and the Biden administration’s handling of immigration and the border is as lawless as it is incompetent.
After May 11, border agents will no longer be able to expel people attempting to enter the U.S. illegally under Title 42, a COVID-19-prevention authority used since 2020. Title 42 was like a bar bouncer, who can keep people out with no paperwork.
Post-Title 42, illegal aliens processed at the border or apprehended as they try to sneak in can only be removed under regular immigration law (Title 8)—and that’s a lengthy process more like evicting a bad tenant.
Biden never liked using Title 42. He "stacked his administration with immigrant advocates," according to the Associated Press. Those officials deliberately destroyed the enforcement methods that were succeeding under the last administration. Their philosophy seems to be that nearly everyone, everywhere, has the right to claim asylum from inside the U.S. although they know that almost nine of every 10 will never qualify.
They’ve lowered the asylum bar by stretching the categories that could qualify, which now include "former membership in a gang." This has caused asylum backlogs to grow near 2 million, which will take decades to clear. Under Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas, DHS has de-prioritized interior enforcement so even a convicted criminal illegal alien with a final order of removal has a low chance of being deported.
But on Title 42, Biden’s approach was confused: on the one hand, administration lawyers fought to be able to end it in federal court, and DHS made major exceptions for family groups and people from certain countries. Even so, DHS expelled over a million people (mostly single adults) under Title 42 in both Fiscal Year 2021 and 2022, and nearly half a million already this year.
Biden and Mayorkas supposedly have a two-fold plan to handle the post-Title 42 rush. First, they want to scale up use of the "lawful pathways" they invented by abusing a limited parole authority in U.S. immigration law. By this unprecedented arrogation of power, they’ve allowed in more than a million migrants who are not "refugees" under U.S. law.
They plan to ramp up tent processing cities at the border and even set up camps in Colombia and Guatemala to feed their "pathways," assisting aliens to apply for parole appointments from their phones and then fly directly into the U.S. interior.
The second part of the Biden plan is allegedly to crack down and remove those who don’t follow their "lawful" Yellow Brick Road. Perhaps it is dawning on them that open borders might not be electorally sustainable.
But the exceptions to DHS’s supposed new get-tough policy are wide and may be easily exploited. Mayorkas has all the public credibility of Baghdad Bob right now, and with his track record, anyone hoping for efficient enforcement will likely be disappointed.
As long as we make it obvious that we won’t enforce our own laws, there will be an unending supply of people eager to cross illegally into the U.S. Any DHS staff "surged" to the border—or 1,500 soldiers, or 15,000—will only be grist for the Mayorkas’ migration machine to suck arriving illegal aliens from the border and funnel them into the interior.
The Biden administration will keep reprogramming or asking Congress for yet more money and staff, in the forlorn hope—because even they don’t really believe it—that this mass rush of largely economic migration on our southern border is a passing phase.
Border towns are neglecting their own people to provide emergency services to rotating camps of indigents in their streets. Cities and towns across America are also paying the price. Resources to absorb those arriving via Biden’s "lawful pathways," bypassing long lines of actual legal immigrants, are finite.
There is always a chance Congress could enact new border security measures or even replace Title 42 with a similar power based on resource constraints instead of COVID-19. But if nothing happens, and if the patience of the American voter has any limits, we may soon find out when "enough is enough."
This piece originally appeared in Fox News