By Joe Guzzardi
December 17, 2016
After eight years of refusing to enforce immigration laws, either at the border or in the interior, President Obama has left the proverbial lump of coal Christmas gift for President-Elect Donald Trump. The incoming president will inherit the huge immigration mess his predecessor created and encouraged.
Central American unaccompanied minors and family units are flocking to the border knowing that they’re likely to be admitted, and fearful that if they don’t try now, Trump may build a wall, a fence or at the least institute some form of border security. After they receive their court appearance dates, to which they will not show up, the aliens will board buses and head to the homes where their illegal immigrant family members live. This month, a Washington watchdog group learned that Immigration and Customs Enforcement spent more than $100 million over the last several years ferrying illegal immigrants around from place to place.
The border crisis continues unabated, in part because no one in the administration from the top on down has the resolve to end it. The chaos as measured by soaring alien detentions is hard to quantify. Normally, the federal government contracts for about 34,000 detention beds, but it’s recently surpassed 40,000 as agents strive to cope with the renewed surge of not only Central Americans but also Haitians and Cubans.
An internal Department of Homeland Security analysis The Washington Times obtained and published revealed that, based on the first month’s statistics in fiscal 2017, the U.S. is on pace to break previous records for entries of illegal immigrant children and families. Health and Human Services, the agency charged with overseeing the border mess, told Congress it needs an additional $1 to $2 billion for the next year, above and beyond the $1.2 billion spent in 2016 and proposed for 2017. Depending on how many more migrants arrive, the total could increase. As an interim step to provide for the alien youths, HHS will divert money from other valuable services provided to needy Americans, including monies directed toward cancer research and disabilities programs.
Border Patrol agents, whose union endorsed Trump, are reeling under Obama’s administrative orders to ignore the law. Brandon Judd, National Border Patrol Council president, told Congress that the Obama administration ordered his agents to release any alien who claims to have been in the U.S. since 2014, information impossible to verify. In his testimony, Judd said that his agents have been instructed to release unaccompanied minors, family units and others who allege credible fear of returning to their country, and then to help them get to their final destination.
Voters gave Trump a mandate to control the border, a pledge he made to them during his campaign. As Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the border patrol is made up of “great people,” but they’re forced to watch aliens walk right past them. Trump: “We’ve lost control of our country. We’ve lost control of our borders.” As for the criminal aliens, Trump said, “They would be out really fast, immediately.”
Trump will soon be in a position to right Obama’s wrongs. He’ll have little time to make good on his campaign promises. Americans want quick action, not excuses, on border security.
Joe Guzzardi is a Senior Writing Fellow with Californians for Population. Contact Joe at [email protected] and on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.