What happens when you demoralize border security officials at the same time you incentivize illegal immigration? President Joe Biden’s administration is finding out the hard way.
According to Fox News, Biden’s Department of Homeland Security is calling on employees to volunteer at the southern border, citing an influx of migrants and concerns of a surge in the coming months.
On Wednesday, DHS Deputy Secretary John Tien sent an email to employees asking them to contribute their service to the DHS Volunteer Force. Over 1,400 employees have volunteered thus far, the email said.
(Of course, this likely wouldn’t be necessary if border officials had the resources they need. Here at The Western Journal, we’ve highlighted the issues we’ve faced at the southern border under the Biden administration — and how the border crisis could have been averted with strong leadership. We’ll keep bringing America the truth. You can help by subscribing.)
“Once again, we need to tap into our Department’s greatest resource: the skills of our talented and diverse workforce,” Tien’s email read. “Today, I am asking you to consider stepping forward to support the DHS Volunteer Force.”
“[Customs and Border Protection] continues to encounter large numbers of individuals at the Southwest Border,” it continued. “We are seeking your help to support our CBP frontline workforce.”
The Volunteer Force has been used at the southern border twice, once during the 2019 migrant surge and once last year as the unprecedented border crisis we saw during the first few months of the Biden administration was gathering steam.
Most of the Volunteer Force will be doing general support and data entry, according to the email; this is consistent with how the force was used last year, when Fox noted the volunteers were used in a “non-law enforcement capacity.”
One source in the Border Patrol said there was a “frantic sense of urgency” to get processing capabilities in place as officials have come to the grave realization that there’ll likely be a crush of illegal migrants in the spring and summer.
Is Biden responsible for the border crisis?
“We are limiting agents in the field just to have more processing,” the source said.
This is partially due to fears of what will happen when Title 42 is ended. Title 42, a public health policy that allows for the summary expulsion of migrants without an asylum hearing in times of public health crisis, was invoked by former President Donald Trump’s administration at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Biden administration left it mostly intact, save for a provision exempting unaccompanied migrant children. That exemption was blamed in part for the large number of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border last year.
While the number of migrant encounters in February was down from the height of the crisis last summer, the 164,973 apprehensions were 60 percent more than February of last year and up from 154,745 in January.
Asking for volunteers is all well and good, given the situation. However, it’s a bit worse than the Biden administration sticking its finger in a giant leak in the dam and hoping it will hold. It’s the administration sticking its finger where the dam used to be and assuming it’ll stop the raging floodwaters.
Keep in mind that when the Volunteer Force was called up under the Trump administration in 2019, the number of illegal immigrant encounters peaked at just over 144,000 in May of that year.
February was a light month for the Biden administration at the southern border — and there were still 20,000 more encounters than at the height of the Trump border crisis.
If there’s any remnant of the enforcement dam on our southern border left, it’s Title 42. As we start acknowledging — roughly a year and change too late — that COVID-19 is endemic, that brake on illegal immigration will likely end, one way or the other.
If the administration doesn’t put a stop to it, a court may very well do so. In September, a federal court ruled Title 42 doesn’t authorize the mass expulsion of migrants, according to Reuters — although an appeals court stayed the ruling as the administration appealed.
If and when Title 42 goes away, there aren’t enough volunteers in America to adequately deal with the influx of illegal immigrants we’ll see. Not only will they be able to stay in the U.S. as they await an asylum hearing in a backed-up immigration court system, but they’ll have a president in the White House who promised to do a 180 on Trump-era immigration policies.
The Biden administration will then have to make a choice: Does it want to start enforcing laws it promised to ignore, or does it want to see a turbocharged border crisis that makes last year’s numbers look quaint by comparison? The former option will infuriate liberal activists; the latter, almost everyone else.
The White House will have to decide whether it’s more interested in its agenda or in protecting our sovereignty.