The border problems of the Biden administration are increasing, as 2022 approaches
After a 2022 in which a record number of migrants arrived at the southern border, the border and immigration challenges of the Biden administration only increase as it looks toward a nearing end to the its ability to deport migrants under Title 42 and an incoming Republican Congress demanding answers. .
A federal judge ruled earlier this month that the US government’s use of Title 42 public health authority to deport most migrants at the southern border is illegal. Although the judge reluctantly granted a five-week delay requested by the administration, it means the key authority will be thrown out on December 21.
The administration tried to end the order earlier this year, but was blocked by a federal judge and also faced significant bipartisan backlash given the ongoing border crisis that has only increased in 2022 over the already historic numbers of 2021. In recent months, in fact, the administration had expanded Title 42, with cooperation with Mexico, to include Venezuelan nationals following the increase in migrants from the country.
There were more than 2.3 million migrant encounters in FY 2022, up from 1.7 million encountered in FY 2021. FY 23 has shown little sign of slowing with more than 230,000 meetings only in October.
REPUBLICANS, AHEAD OF HOUSE CAPTURE, LOOK AT ZERO IN ADMIN BIDEN’S HANDLING OF BORDER CRISIS
The Biden administration has repeatedly said it has a plan for the end of Title 42, noting in addition that the end of the order will allow it to increase penalties for illegal entry and has plans to increase the forms alternatives to deportation, such as expedited deportation. which allows deportation without a hearing.
Earlier this month, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the administration’s position, saying it intends to use the same plan it had in April.
That plan includes increasing personnel and technology at the border, prioritizing “smart border security solutions,” increasing efforts against cartels, strengthening nonprofit organizations, and making the processing of migrants more efficient at United States.
In addition, Mayorkas said the administration will focus on increasing the consequences for illegal entry.
“We are improving the consequences of illegal entry, particularly for people who seek to evade law enforcement, including deportation, detention and criminal prosecution where warranted,” he said in a hearing in Congress.
Mayorkas also wanted to emphasize that the crisis of American migrants is actually one that the entire hemisphere is experiencing.
“The entire hemisphere is suffering from a migration crisis. We are seeing an unprecedented movement of people from one country to another. It is not limited to the southern border,” he said.
But it has so far failed to quiet the administration’s critics, with even some Democrats remaining nervous about the looming end of the Trump-era order. Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., wrote Mayorkas this week expressing “deep concern” about the ending of Title 42.
They point out that DHS has admitted that ending Title 42 will lead to an increase in the number of migrants found along the southern border and pointed to earlier concerns about DHS’s preparations.
“The record annual gatherings have led to unsustainable situations. In Arizona, shelters have been pushed far beyond capacity. This month, El Paso has seen more than 700 migrants released directly onto the city’s streets due to the ‘overcrowding’, they say. “This is unsafe and creates a dangerous situation for migrants and communities.”
Border Patrol agents have also expressed concern about the end of the order, with the National Border Patrol Council predicting a “s—show” if the order expires.
Republicans take control of the House
Republicans have also been hammering the administration over the expiration of the order, and the GOP’s voice is about to get much louder as its House caucus takes control of the chamber early next year, opening a new front in their lobbying efforts. on the administration in the face of the crisis.
GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy advanced the aggressive stance when, during a trip to the border last week, he demanded Mayorkas resign or face possible impeachment hearings when Republicans take the House.
DHS REJECTS MCCARTHY’S DEMAND FOR MAYORS TO RESIGN OR FACE POTENTIAL CHARGES
“He cannot and must not remain in this position,” McCarthy said. “If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate every order, every action and every failure to determine whether we can open an impeachment inquiry.”
McCarthy said he had spoken with Reps. Jim Jordan and James Comer, the ranking Republicans on the Judiciary and Oversight Committees, respectively, and said they have his full support for investigating the “collapse” of the border.
“The American public deserves more, deserves better and expects more from their government. Enough is enough. We will do whatever it takes,” he said.
DHS quickly backtracked, accusing lawmakers of blaming the agency for congressional failures to fix immigration law.
“Members of Congress can do better than point the finger at someone else; they should come to the table and work on solutions to our broken system and outdated laws that haven’t been revised in over 40 years,” he said. a DHS spokesman said Wednesday. .
ICE rules frozen
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is embroiled in another legal dispute, now before the Supreme Court, over its efforts to dramatically reduce the arrest and deportation priorities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In 2021, the administration issued a memorandum limiting ICE agents to prioritizing three groups of illegal immigrants: recent border crossings, “aggravated criminals” and national security threats. The narrowed priorities coincided with a sharp drop in arrests and deportations, but the administration said it was about quality rather than quality, with Mayorkas declaring that it had “fundamentally changed domestic immigration enforcement.” .
“For the first time, our policy explicitly states that a noncitizen’s unlawful presence in the United States will not, by itself, be a basis for initiating an enforcement action,” he said.
That prompted a legal challenge from Republican states, which said the policy was harmful to their states and against congressional law that requires DHS to detain most illegal immigrants. Since then, the guidelines have been frozen, creating uncertainty about how ICE should carry out its mission.
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The appeal of that ruling went before the high court for oral arguments on Tuesday, and it appeared the majority of the Court would limit the government’s discretion in the matter.
Chief Justice John Roberts noted that federal immigration law requires DHS to “unlawfully detain and remove most non-citizens from the country.”
“Our job is to say what the law is, not whether or not it can be implemented or whether there are difficulties,” Roberts said.
The high court in that case addressed three issues: whether the state plaintiffs have “standing” in court to challenge DHS’s enforcement policies, whether those guidelines are contrary to federal law or violate d otherwise the Administrative Procedure Law; and whether federal law precludes entry of an order “holding illegal and setting aside” the guidelines under federal law. A ruling is expected in June 2023.
Fox News’ William Mears contributed to this report.