When Joe Biden was vice president, the Obama administration changed the way the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) counted deportations, making it appear that they were enforcing immigration law while trying to negotiate a mass amnesty bill.
They padded these numbers by including the number of recent unlawful border crossers who were returned after being in U.S. Border Patrol custody. This inflated a count that historically included only illegal aliens removed from American communities by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration is now cooking the books on unlawful entries but is doing so to make the numbers look smaller and to try to convince the American people and the media that their border security strategy is working.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board on Monday schooled President Biden on the 14th Amendment. ((Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images))
If you believe the administration, “border encounters remain low” after Title 42 ended on May 11. But don’t fall for this disinformation. The humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border is ongoing, and the overall illegal immigration problem is now far worse than the border numbers show.
However, the Biden administration sees it differently and considers only illegal aliens “encountered” by Border Patrol agents are breaking the law. Consistent with this flawed philosophy, the administration’s new border strategy announced in January encourages illegal aliens to show up at ports of entry after scheduling an appointment through the CBP One app.
More than 99% of illegal aliens who used the app between January and April were waved through despite lacking a visa. This process is not discouraging illegal immigration but instead is diverting it to a controlled environment. In doing so, it spares the administration the negative optics of tens of thousands of illegal aliens flooding over the border. Nevertheless, the result is the same—the mass release of illegal aliens into American communities.
The combined 204,561 “encounters” in May 2023 were only slightly lower than the roughly 211,000 in April and mark the second-highest number in May ever recorded, trailing only May 2022. Border “encounters” are hardly remaining low, as DHS claims. The key difference is where they are showing up, as the 35,317 inadmissible aliens at the ports of entry in May 2023 is the highest monthly level ever recorded at ports of entry and more than double the 16,766 inadmissible aliens in May 2022.
Immigration parole is intended to be a very narrow authority to allow an inadmissible alien into the U.S. temporarily, but only for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit, such as to receive emergency medical treatment or to assist law enforcement in a prosecution. The current categorical parole program satisfies none of the statutory criteria.
To even find the parole data requires visiting CBP’s separate, nationwide encounters data page on the agency’s website and doing some math after running various filters of data subsets. Only after that multi-step process would you learn that 29,622 illegal aliens were allowed into the U.S. via international airports through the unlawful categorical parole program in May 2023.
Nearly all have made their way into American communities because ICE is detaining a record-low number of illegal aliens under the nationwide catch-and-release scheme currently in place.
This is a crisis by design. The American people deserve transparency, and Congress must hold this administration accountable through proper oversight and defunding these unlawful policies.