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Political Editors / November 23, 2022

In Brief: The Border Crisis Is About to Get Worse

Biden won’t have Title 42 to mitigate the consequences of his unwillingness to protect the border.

If there’s one thing Joe Biden has been very intentional about doing, it’s opening the border to a veritable invasion of migrants. The editors of National Review see that clearly, and they note that the end of Title 42 as a mechanism for removing illegal border crossers means things are about to get worse.

Yes, Title 42 was a pandemic-related Band-Aid to a more serious problem, so it had to end at some point. But Team Biden never wanted it anyway.

The administration has actually wanted to terminate Title 42 but got blocked by one judge. Now, another judge says the order has to go, although he is giving the Biden administration several weeks to figure out how it wants to handle a post–Title 42 border. (That important policy questions are now, in effect, decided not so much by Congress but by judges squinting at the Administrative Procedure Act is its own problem.)

Everyone agrees that lifting Title 42 will make a bad situation at the border worse. The Biden administration has made less use of the order than the Trump administration. Still, it is almost all it has in terms of ready enforcement tools.

Now for the appalling numbers:

In October, there were more than 200,000 apprehensions of migrants at the border, the highest number for any October on record. According to Art Arthur of the Center for Immigration Studies, the number was higher than the total for all Octobers between the years 2016 and 2020, and we had what was then considered a border crisis in 2019. Another estimated 64,000 migrants weren’t apprehended and got away in October.

Overall, in fiscal year 2022, more than 2.2 million migrants were apprehended. The Biden administration is simply releasing many of these migrants into the country. It has effectively ended Remain in Mexico, the key Trump policy innovation that had asylum-seekers stay in Mexico while making their claims in the U.S. If the claims proved valid, they could enter the U.S. Otherwise, they were turned away. This plugged the easily exploited hole in the system of bogus asylum-seekers gaining entry into the U.S. based on their claims and never leaving again even if those claims were rejected.

So what happens without the Title 42 Band-Aid?

Estimates are that up to 18,000 migrants a day could begin arriving at the border if Title 42 is lifted, a shocking number that would overwhelm a system that is already over-topped by the current flow. NPR talked to a journalist the other day who reported of a migrant camp just on the other side of the Rio Grande: “Everyone was aware that Title 42 is ending soon.” They will act accordingly.

Biden will never do what’s necessary, namely reviving Remain in Mexico and other successful policies implemented by Donald Trump. As the editors conclude:

Of course, none of this is likely to happen. The Biden administration is showing a little willingness now to embrace small-scale or symbolic changes at the border, most notably in cashiering the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. But the administration doesn’t really believe in preventing bogus asylum-seekers from entering the United States, or in deporting illegal immigrants once they are here. It is hostile to immigration enforcement as such. The results have been plain to see and could be about to get much worse.

Read the whole thing here.

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