It’s not a secret that the southern border is now open to unaccompanied minors. However, the Biden administration has been saying repeatedly that the border is closed to everyone else. Here’s Sec. Mayorkas just a few days ago telling Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee “We are expelling families under that same public health authority limited only by the capacity of Mexico to receive them.” And on Meet the Press Sunday, Sec. Mayorkas left out the caveat. “The border is closed. We are expelling families,” he said.
Just yesterday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about this subject at length. She said, “Well, factually, the vast majority of people who come to the border are turned away. Adults, families, single people who are coming to the border are turned away.” A bit later a reporter asked about adults being released without notices to appear. “Is the Biden immigration policy just becoming more of, like, the honor system?” the reporter asked. Again, Psaki denied that saying, “The border remains closed. Families and single adults are being expelled under Title 42 and should not attempt to cross illegally.” She added, “In the narrow, narrow circumstances in which families can’t be expelled, the family is tested and quarantined as needed and placed in immigration proceedings to commence.” After a follow up question she said this:
Well, again, there are limited cases where there are families — because they can’t be held in Mexico — who are processed, tested, considered at the border. Most of them are sent back to their home countries. Those are very limited cases, and it’s certainly not a depiction of the overarching policy.
Very limited, narrow cases where families aren’t expelled. Got it? Today Axios reports that only 13% of families who arrived last week were expelled.
The Biden administration kept a Trump-era policy known as “Title 42” as a tool to quickly turn back adults and families who illegally cross the southern border— but new Department of Homeland Security data leaked to Axios shows in recent days it’s hardly been used for families.
The data shows an average of just 13% of nearly 13,000 family members attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border were returned to Mexico between March 14 and March 21 using the public health order…
It’s too soon to say how many will be ultimately granted asylum or deported — and when. Proceedings can take years.
The administration has allowed that there are some caveats to the family removal policy. If Mexico doesn’t have enough room, the U.S. can’t send migrants back. In some cases there may be a delay in sending them back because the border patrol is currently overwhelmed. But there’s no doubt that if you were listening to what the administration said about this over the past week, you would not have gotten the impression that 87% of migrant families were not being expelled right now.
And here’s the important part. The families, who see what is actually happening, have cell phones. They are informing their family members both here and abroad that they were not expelled. The smugglers also see what is actually happening, i.e. a lot of families aren’t being sent back across the border right now. So take one guess what they are telling other smugglers and other desperate families.
We have a surge of unaccompanied minors at the border because people know the border patrol won’t turn them away. Now we’re letting the majority of families stay too, at least temporarily and as Jazz pointed out yesterday some migrants are being released without court dates, which is unprecedented.
It really doesn’t take much insight into human nature to see where this is going. One or two more weeks of failing to return 85+% of migrant families and the word will be out that the border is open to kids and to families. If that happens we are going to set some new records at the border this spring.