Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) has been sounding the alarm for weeks about the growing crisis at the southern border, telling anyone who would listen that the crisis is real and will spiral out of control unless something is done.
Cueller hasn’t exactly hit the panic button, but the reality is that numbers don’t lie. About 10,000 people trying to enter the United States last week were apprehended — 2,500 in the last two days alone. Border Patrol data shows that In October 2020, there were 71,922 apprehensions, while in November, data showed 72,091 apprehensions. In January, data showed a significant rise with 78,323 apprehensions.
“We are weeks, maybe even days, away from a crisis on the southern border. Inaction is simply not an option,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Our country is currently unprepared to handle a surge in migrants in the middle of the pandemic.”
What is the Biden administration doing? The president sent a team to the southern border to assess the situation. Other than that, he has ordered immigration facilities that temporarily house families to process them more quickly.
But getting people out of the government’s hands more quickly isn’t going to address the underlying reality. Biden has raised expectations sky-high among the peoples of Central America that the door to the U.S. is now open and all that’s needed is to show up at a border crossing and you will be allowed in.
That’s not even the way that Biden envisions his “welcoming” policy to be, but that’s what people who are desperate for succor in the United States think. And with most of his administration in apparent denial, the crisis will quickly spiral into a humanitarian catastrophe unless Biden adopts some Trump-era policies — policies he ended not because they weren’t effective but because they were begun by Trump.
The Biden administration has pushed back on the claim that it is a crisis, with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas describing it as a “challenge” rather than a crisis.
He said instead that the Department of Homeland Security is working to “replace the cruelty” of the Trump administration with “an orderly humane and safe immigration process.”
“Orderly humane and safe?” There’s nothing orderly about it and it’s hardly humane and safe if a human wave overwhelms our ability to house them.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may be wanting to politically exploit the crisis, but he’s not wrong.