Lisa Venus's picture


  by  Lisa Irving

Articles published in the Washington Post and the Washington Examiner this spring report on this year's "predictable" record border surge and how the Biden administration's responses have done more to encouraged the surge than to quell it

The crucial question left to consider from these articles is whether the administration's future plans to address "root causes" of illegal migration through aid and corruption mitigation in Central America will pan out.

Nick Miroff traces Biden's steps monthly in the column "At the border, a widely predicted crisis that caught Biden off guard," citing that, from his transition phase to April, Biden: "issued more executive orders and actions on immigration than any other topic;" dismantled the "Remain in Mexico" program; allowed unaccompanied minors to remain in the US; and canceled agreements with Central American governments regarding asylum seekers.

Miroff writes that Biden has had one positive development, with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador agreeing to provide more immigration enforcement along his country's border with Guatemala. However, at best it seems this added enforcement will only steady illegal migration to the US at current record levels rather than reverse those numbers.

In "White House migration strategy faces new backlash from Central American leaders," Katherine Doyle addresses Biden's plan to curb illegal migration by providing aid and challenging corruption in Central America, measures tried under previous administrations.

Doyle acknowledges Mexican President López Obrador's willingness to work with the Biden administration. At the same time, she writes on how El Salvador President Nayib Bukele is miffed that Central American governments are blamed for the US migration surge. She notes prior success in Honduras under President Obama's "strategy for engagement," but counters that similar outcomes under Biden will be difficult to achieve due to corruption and economic downturns in Central America.

Ultimately, Doyle offers that while providing aid and attacking corruption have key benefits, stemming illegal migration to the US may not be one of those. The argument is that people with enough resources will continue to trek illegally to the US, drawn by "pull factors" such as unauthorized employment, while the more destitute remain in their home countries.

In Immigration, World Poverty and Gumballs, NumbersUSA President Roy Beck explained how the better off in poorer countries migrate while demonstrating compellingly how immigration cannot solve hardships throughout the world.

There are actions the Biden administration can take now to reverse the surge aside from the wait and see "root cause" approach. Those include:

  • Closing the border to most, non-essential traffic during of the COVID-19 pandemic; Title 42
  • Restarting the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, or "Remain In Mexico" program), which requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico until their case can be heard by an immigration judge;
  • Quickly and safely returning any unaccompanied alien children who cross the border illegally to their home countries;
  • Renewing asylum cooperative agreements with Central American countries; and
  • Increasing the wait period for work permits for asylum seekers to limit fraud.

LISA IRVING is the Volunteer Standards Program for NumbersUSA

Updated: Thu, Jun 17th 2021 @ 1:45pm EDT

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