Through the United States’ official immigration system, the country typically welcomes about one million legal immigrants each year. The government establishes this number based upon the country’s capability to absorb new immigrants, looking at job availability, education infrastructure, housing and other factors. Since many more people than that wish to move to the US, a lottery system is typically used to determine who is finally considered for entry. In addition, individuals with special skills that are needed in the U.S. may move to the head of the line and will not be required to go through a lottery process. Also, individuals and families that are able to prove that they are in danger living in their country (refugees) are given priority. Before any applicant is granted a visa to live in the U.S., a thorough background check is performed to ensure there is no history of criminal activity, terrorist connections, etc.
In 2021, a record 1.7 million people crossed the U.S. southern border illegally (outside of the normal immigrant application process described above) and were processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. This included family units, many single young men and even thousands of unaccompanied children as young as 3 years of age. It is projected that the total number in 2022 will reach 2.1 million immigrants arriving at the border, seeking permission to stay. These numbers do not include an estimated 360 thousand people who were seen crossing but could not be confronted by border patrol agents. These are called “gotaways.” There are still more who crossed without being detected at all. These immigrants were from 160 different countries including Russia, Iran, China and others that might be considered enemy nations.
It is estimated that there are more than 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S. At current levels, that number may increase by nearly 20% this year.
The issue has been around since the 1980s. Democrat congressional leaders approached Ronald Reagan and asked that the few million undocumented immigrants be given amnesty and allowed to apply for citizenship when they met the qualifications. Reagan agreed to go along with the Congress on the condition that they would do what was necessary to stop the flow of people into the US illegally. The deal was struck and the immigrants received amnesty. However, nothing was ever done to stem the flow of illegal migrants into the country.
Those on the right, politically, have vowed never to be taken advantage of like that again. Their mantra has been, secure the border and then they will talk about legalizing those who are here without authorization. Many on the right also add, NEVER AMNESTY! This means that they believe that those who break the law to enter the country should never be eligible for citizenship unless they first go back to their country and apply to enter legally. Some may go along with granting these immigrants papers allowing them to live and work here legally but never as citizens.
On the left, politically, there has always been a stated desire to do comprehensive immigration reform. By this, they mean that they would like to see those here without documentation be legalized and given a pathway to citizenship and work to develop improved border security simultaneously. In addition those on the left frequently state that they want to welcome children and families with open arms, helping them out of their poor living conditions. Typically, these immigrants’ need to come to America is to get out of poverty rather than to get out of danger (refugee status).
Most on the right refuse to go along with comprehensive immigration reform because they don’t trust that the border will be secured.
Realistically, the only president who actually made progress in securing the border was Donald Trump. Illegal immigration declined throughout his tenure in office. In 2018, it was estimated that 1/3 of those captured by border patrol were returned to their home country. By 2020, the Chief of Customs and Border Protection testified that 95% were being returned home. In addition, Trump’s “wall” helped to make border protection more manageable by reducing the number of miles of totally open boarder that border patrol agents had to guard.
Before Trump could complete his plan, Joe Biden won election. President Biden has shown no interest in securing the border. In fact his campaign rhetoric sent a signal to immigrants that he would welcome them into the United States if they could get here. His Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, in late July of 2022 continued to state that “our border is secure,” even though more people are crossing the border illegally than at an time in our nation’s history. In June, 2022, only 44% of illegals were returned to their home country. That is primarily due to the Title 42 restriction related to COVID. President Biden has continuously worked to remove the Title 42 restrictions. The President has never been to the border to see the chaos. His Vice President, Kamela Harris, who was given responsibility for the border issue, has been to the border once, to a section where the immigrant traffic is relatively low in El Paso, Tx. She has stated that she wants to work the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The solution derived at in July 2021 was to help those countries with a “five pillar” strategy:
·Pillar I: Addressing economic insecurity and inequality;
·Pillar II: Combating corruption, strengthening democratic governance, and advancing the rule of law;
·Pillar III: Promoting respect for human rights, labor rights, and free press;
·Pillar IV: Countering and preventing violence, extortion, and other crimes perpetrated by criminal gangs, trafficking networks, and other organized criminal organizations; and
·Pillar V: Combating sexual, gender-based, and domestic violence.
I am not sure how these goals are being pursued but there has been no immediate impact on the border crisis, nor does this approach address immigrants from the other 157 countries.
There is a humanitarian element to the border crisis. Most people crossing the southern border are only able to do so by paying thousands of dollars to Mexican cartels. These thieves make millions of dollars per DAY getting people to the border, sometimes holding family members hostage until additional money is paid to them. There are many incidents of sexual abuse of women and children along the way. Many drown every month as they try to cross the Rio Grande River at the border. Many more die of exposure and dehydration while making the trip. I don’t hear anything from the current administration about these molestations and deaths. I would like to.
Unfortunately, the hundreds of thousands of immigrants that approach the border each month totally consume our border patrol agents. They spend all of their time processing these people rather than guarding the border. This has created another crisis in the United States as fentanyl laced drugs are easily smuggled across the border by the same Mexican cartels. They manipulate the traffic of migrants to consume the border patrol agents in concentrated areas. Then, large open swaths of the border are available for moving drugs into the country. These fentanyl laced drugs are now the leading cause of death in the United States for people between the ages of 18 and 45.
The crisis at the border is about more than immigration. What sort of stance would you like your government to take regarding this immigration and border situation? Do you think this is important enough that it should be aggressively attacked by our federal government, whose primary function is the security and protection of the U.S. and its citizens?
It appears that the three major television networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC don’t think this is an important story. Their coverage of the border crisis has been minimal, and in some cases non-existent for periods of time. Unfortunately, the result of this is that many Americans don’t realize the extent of the problem on the border.
I hope every voter becomes aware and asks their candidates where they stand regarding immigration and the border.