The Trump Administration is sending National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in response to a spike in border apprehension numbers combined with news of a caravan of more than 1,000 Central Americans making its way through Mexico to the Southern border.
Pres. Trump is also using this week's news to amplify his push for building a "wall" along the border.
"We're going to be doing things militarily. Until we can have a wall and proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military."
-- Pres. Trump, April 3, 2018
BORDER APPREHENSIONS UP IN MARCH
Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border reached a peak during Pres. Trump's first term last month, increasing more than 200% from March of 2017. Border Patrol officers apprehended 50,308 aliens attempting to enter the country illegally compared to just 16,588 last year. In fact the number of border apprehensions in March was higher in the last two years of Pres. Obama's term.
Not only have the numbers more than tripled, but they've been slowly increasing since last fall. The increase coincides with Pres. Trump's push for a DACA amnesty as noted in the statement that Roy issued to the press earlier this week.
"This March is a predictable outcome of most American media and politicians sending the message to the world in recent years that another amnesty is inevitable and that Congress is unwilling to pass mandatory E-Verify and asylum reform."
-- NumbersUSA President Roy Beck
A 'WALL' WON'T STOP BORDER SURGE
NumbersUSA has long advocated for implementation of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which requires 700-miles of double-reinforced fencing along the Southern border. But our 'Ten Steps to Fix the Broken Immigration Enforcement System' doesn't include completion of the border fence. The list does include reforms that need to be made to existing law in the processing and handling of aliens who attempt to cross the border illegally.
WHY NATIONAL GUARD WON'T STOP SURGE
Although there are reports that the caravan is dissipating, reports also say that many will continue their journey to the U.S. and few have been discouraged by Pres. Trump's decision to mobilize the National Guard and his use of tougher rhetoric.
Why? Because they've been coached by human smugglers and open-borders groups on how to take advantage of the loopholes in existing U.S. immigration law, specifically when it comes to making a "credible fear" claim.
When an alien attempts to enter the United States illegally and is apprehended by a Border Patrol officer, many are put into expedited removal proceedings. However, aliens can claim to have a "credible fear" of persecution, delaying their removal proceedings and allowing them to disappear into the interior of the United States.
Any alien that makes a "credible fear" claim will have that claim evaluated by an Asylum Officer. Unless the Asylum Officer determines that the claim is fraudulent (which is rare), the claim must then be reviewed by an immigration judge prior to the alien's removal proceedings. But long backlogs in the Immigration Courts can delay that review for years.
According to TRAC's Immigration Court Backlog Tool, there are 684,583 cases pending before immigration judges. And in the first quarter of FY2018, more than 22,000 "credible fear" claims were made by illegal aliens.
The Trump Administration has tried to hold illegal aliens who make a "credible fear" claim, but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched a class-action lawsuit last month, asking a judge to force the Administration to follow an Obama-era policy of releasing certain illegal aliens into the country.
Furthermore, a memo from Pres. Obama's Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief, John Morton, issued on January 4, 2010, ordered that any alien who enters a "credible fear" claim must be released into the interior of the United States if "the alien poses neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community, and no additional factors weigh against the release of the alien." The memo also orders ICE agents to grant parole to the illegal aliens, protecting them from future enforcement efforts until their case is heard.
The Morton Memo of Jan. 4, 2010 has yet to be rescinded by the Trump Administration despite Pres. Trump's executive order of Jan. 25, 2017 calling for an end to catch-and-release because of bureaucratic roadblocks.
E-VERIFY AS A DETERRENT
E-Verify can still act as a major deterrent for future illegal immigration. As long as employers can continue to hire illegal workers, foreign nationals will continue to attempt to enter the country illegally, either through illegal border crossings or overstaying a visa.
But aliens who enter "credible fear" claims can apply for a work permit 150 days after they file their asylum application, so Congress needs to make changes to existing laws in addition to requiring all employers to use E-Verify.
The House Judiciary Committee has already marked up and passed three pieces of legislation that would accomplish both:
- Rep. Lamar Smith's H.R. 3711, the Legal Workforce Act, would require all employers to use E-Verify within two years;
- Rep. John Carter's H.R. 495 would reform the way Border Patrol handles cases of unaccompanied alien children crossing the border illegally; and
- Rep. Mike Johnson's H.R. 391 would give more authority to asylum officers in detecting fraudulent credible fear claims.
Portions of all three bills are contained in Rep. Bob Gooldatte's H.R. 4760, the Securing America's Future Act.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA
Updated: Sun, Apr 8th 2018 @ 8:30pm EDT