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Biden and Mayorkas’s dishonest border security shell game

Thought Leader: Mark Morgan
February 7, 2023
Written by: Mark Morgan

If something is too good to be true, it probably is. Take Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s response to the worst self-inflicted border security crisis in our lifetime.

The Department of Homeland Security recently put out a self-congratulatory press release announcing that illegal border crossings “plummeted” in January. The release didn’t tell the public how this was accomplished: through a perverse application and violation of the law. The creation of their online system “CBP One” doesn’t address the crisis. It masks it by hiding under a false sense of legality. Rather than enforce the law, deal with those who violate it, and insert integrity back into the system by ending “catch and release,” Mayorkas’s new policy further streamlines immigrants’ ability to file fraudulent asylum claims and expands DHS’s catch-and-release efforts.

Yes, fewer illegal border crossings between the ports of entry are a good thing. But at what cost? Is it OK to sacrifice the rule of law by encouraging millions of fraudulent asylum claims in an intentional effort to cover up the crisis at our borders? Are we to simply accept the assertions of a secretary who has repeatedly lied and made it his goal to cover up the crisis rather than solve it in any meaningful way?

It’s disastrous enough that Biden’s catch-and-release policy has transformed Border Patrol’s enforcement mission into a federal travel agency by forcing agents away from front-line law enforcement to administrative duties processing millions of illegal aliens. Reversing that trend is critical. But now, Mayorkas is transferring some of the burden to the ports of entry rather than solving the crises. Essentially, he has made a deal with immigrants from more than 160 nations across the globe. In exchange for them no longer illegally crossing our border, he will allow them to make an appointment with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, walk to the nearest port of entry, and promise to look the other way as they file fraudulent asylum claims — and are promptly processed and released into the United States. Take advantage of our immigration system in a less obvious manner, he’s telling them, and we’ll look the other way.

The data show the overwhelming majority of those coming to our borders are economic immigrants. They therefore do not qualify under long-established law as asylum-seekers. They are not victims of state-sponsored persecution due to their affiliation with a protected class. Mayorkas knows this. Yet rather than implement policies to deter fraudulent claims, the CBP One app streamlines it. Most of the claims being filed will be fraudulent, but DHS’s own reporting shows that once these people are ordered removed by a judge, around 90% remain in the U.S. indefinitely.

Biden and Mayorkas have essentially legalized illegal immigration by making it easier for hundreds of thousands of people to file illegitimate claims and gain unlawful access to our country. And they didn’t stop just with facilitating fraudulent asylum claims from across the globe. In direct violation of our parole laws, they have sweetened the deal for would-be illegal immigrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti.

In exchange for not crossing illegally, DHS will parole 30,000 into the U.S. every month, no questions asked. These immigrants won’t even have to go through the motions of claiming asylum. Just hop on the internet, let them know you’re from one of these four countries, and claim your free pass into the U.S. That’s 360,000 would-be illegal immigrants this fiscal year alone who will be granted de facto amnesty.

Mayorkas is claiming victory, but all he’s done is shifted the massive catch-and-release strategy to the ports of entry. This new reality is actually the worst of both worlds. Border Patrol agents are still being overwhelmed with the flood of illegal aliens between ports of entry, but now record numbers of immigrants are being shuffled to actual ports where they are unlawfully released.

Ending the Biden border crisis means not just securing the border but reducing illegal immigration by removing incentives to enter the U.S. improperly — or fraudulently claim asylum in the hope of being admitted to the country. Biden’s now encouraging the world to do both.

Mark Morgan is the former acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and is currently a Heritage Foundation visiting fellow.

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