By Joe Guzzardi
September 19, 2016
The Department of Homeland Security commissioned a report to determine what percentage of illegal immigrants who set out to cross the border successfully made it into the United States. But when the study’s findings ran counter to DHS’s long-standing insistence that the border is mostly secure, the agency blocked the report’s release. The Obama administration contends that about 80 percent of illegal immigrants fail, but the report, completed last November, revealed that the true figure is actually only 50 percent.
While the administration denies it purposely suppressed the alarming data, critics pointed to numerous reasons why the White House would be motivated to hide the accurate percentage. Not only is 50 percent at odds with what Obama’s administration has told Americans for months, if not years, the report could be politically damning to Democratic candidates in November. One detractor, John Lott, president of the non-partisan Crime Prevention Research Center, evaluated the statistics, and then charged the administration with making fraudulent statements related to border security. Lott argues that DHS knew that the total of illegal immigrants successfully crossing the border is significantly higher than the administration has repeatedly stated.
The bottled-up report is the latest in a long series of immigration infractions the Obama administration has facilitated and endorsed with the end result being a near-complete gutting of federal enforcement laws. Earlier this year, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd testified to Congress that the Obama administration had issued new instructions that agents must release any apprehended illegal alien who alleges to have been in the country since January of 2014: the mere claim insuring their release.
The catch-and-release policy directly violates existing federal law. Under Title 8 USC 1222, when an immigration officer comes into contact with an alien who has not been legally admitted, "the alien shall be detained for a proceeding" by the officer. In U.S. law, the word shall means imperative or mandatory, something that must be done. Judd, concluding his testimony, told Congress that immigration laws today appear to be mere suggestions, and that there are few if any consequences for breaking the laws, a fact that’s well known in other countries. Catch-and-release was put in place, according to Judd, because the Obama administration is embarrassed by the high percentage of apprehended illegal aliens who don’t show up for their Notice to Appear court dates. Between 80 and 90 percent of aliens just vanish.
In summary Judd, from his eye-witness perspective, described today’s border environment this way: "f you are an unaccompanied minor we will not only release you, but will escort you to your final destination. If you are a family unit, we will release you. If you claim credible fear, we will release you. If you are a single male and we do not physically see you cross the border and you claim that you have been in this country since 2014, we will release you."
Illegal entry is only half the total immigration equation. Every year for the past two decades about one million immigrants have arrived legally, and the State Department has issued another 750,000 temporary guest visas annually, some of which go to people who never return to their home countries. In total, an analysis of Census Bureau and DHS data found that in 2014 and 2015, more than three million legal and illegal immigrants settled in the United States, a 39 percent increase over 2012 and 2013.
Nonenforcement has led to an unsustainable increase in the immigrant population and this has security and quality of life ramifications. The U.S. is accepting of immigrants, but Americans want the comfort of knowing that the federal government will enforce immigration laws, and that immigrant admissions will not exceed the country’s ability to absorb them without penalizing or putting citizens at risk.
A Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow, readers can contact Joe at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.