As the crisis of the chaotic, unsecured southern border escalates, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reported that a record 1.7 million migrants were caught illegally crossing the border this year.
Illegal border crossings have not been this high since 2000, which saw 1.6 million arrests at the southern border. In comparison, there were only 400,000 arrests at the southern border when President Trump was in office in 2020.
Illegal immigration has soared since Joe Biden took office and immediately struck down Trump’s strict border policies by halting border wall construction with an executive order.
President Trump had begun construction of the wall along the southern border in 2019, following a Presidential Proclamation that decried a security and humanitarian crisis, citing a security threat to the United States. The Trump administration was awarded $3.6 billion dollars in military funding toward the project. The border wall has since been tied up in the courts, facing legal challenges from environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the ACLU.
A most recent ruling from the Supreme Court, however, cited “changed circumstances” in the case and directed the lower courts across the country to take another look at Trump’s southern border policies.
Joe Biden also ended the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), better known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy in June 2021. Just one month after ending the immigration program, Border Patrol reported a record 200,000 migrant encounters at the southern border – an all-time high. MPP was implemented by President Donald Trump in 2019 in response to an open and unresolved southern border and immigration issue, tightening immigration protocols and drastically reducing the flow of illegal migrants into the country.
In September, 192,001 migrant encounters along the Southwest border were reported by the CBP. Many of them were expelled under Title 42, a Trump-era immigration policy which allows migrants to be immediately returned to their home country, denying them an opportunity to apply for asylum.
CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller said of the border crisis, “CBP encounters along the Southwest border declined in September from the prior month, and a majority of noncitizens encountered were expelled under Title 42. The men and women of CBP continued to rise admirably to the challenge, despite the strain associated with operating during a global pandemic that has claimed far too many lives among our frontline personnel.”
The high number of expulsions that have occurred at the border throughout 2021 served as a mechanism for large numbers of migrants making multiple border crossing attempts, according to the CBP. Last summer, migrants flooded across the southwest borders, culminating in a border crisis beneath the Paso del Norte bridge on the border line between El Paso, Texas and Mexico, where thousands of illegal migrants were poised to flood into the state, some of which were Haitian nationals.
In September, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) sent a letter to Joe Biden requesting an emergency declaration for the state of Texas as a result of the catastrophic situation at the border. Joe Biden responded with partial approval, according to press release from the governor.
In light of the escalating border crisis, proponents of border security are closely watching the progression of President Trump’s border policies as they work their way through the court systems. Just this month, the Biden administration announced a return to Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy in mid-November, contingent upon the Mexican government’s approval of the terms of agreement. This comes, perhaps, as a response to the shocking humanitarian and security issues culminating at the southern border due to Joe Biden’s removal of the MPP in the first place.