By Arab News
By Dalia Al-Aqidi
In the early days of his presidency, Joe Biden made a swift and momentous decision that continues to feed the ongoing immigration crisis. One of his initial actions in the White House was the termination of the Migrant Protection Protocols, often referred to as the “Remain in Mexico” program. While the program was effective, its discontinuation brought about significant consequences.
The essence of Remain in Mexico lay in its approach to handling apprehended illegal aliens at the US-Mexico border. Under this policy, individuals seeking asylum were required to stay in Mexico while awaiting the resolution of their removal cases. This approach had been regarded as a success, as it managed to curb the influx of unauthorized entries and address specific concerns related to border security.
However, Biden’s policy shift brought about a fundamental transformation. The decision to end the program meant that apprehended individuals were no longer required to remain in Mexico while their cases were pending. Instead, they were released into the US, sparking concerns about the potential repercussions on border control, national security and immigration processing.
A significant development occurred when a federal judge mandated the Biden administration to revive the Remain in Mexico program. Nevertheless, the actual implementation of this court order seemed to be an uphill battle, as only a limited number of migrants were placed back into the program. This scenario further fueled debates about the administration’s commitment to the rule of law and the enforcement of immigration policies.
The apex of this narrative was reached in June 2022, when the Supreme Court issued a ruling permitting the Biden administration to legally rescind the Remain in Mexico policy. While upholding the president’s authority, this verdict has been met with varying reactions. Supporters of the decision emphasize the need for flexibility and humanitarian considerations in immigration policies. At the same time, critics argue that this stance might inadvertently encourage unauthorized border crossings and potentially exacerbate the existing challenges. Indeed, the sequence of events unfolded exactly as described. This sequence of actions and their outcomes highlights the intricate and evolving nature of Biden’s immigration policy decisions and their impact.
Furthermore, compounding these changes, on the very first day of the new administration, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf implemented a 100-day pause on deportations of illegal immigrants. This decision was accompanied by the establishment of fresh interim enforcement priorities, effectively signaling a shift away from deportations for the mere act of being an undocumented immigrant.
The rapid and profound changes in deportation policy, enforcement criteria and procedural requirements have had far-reaching consequences, culminating in one of the most significant crises in the US today. This crisis casts a dark shadow over major metropolises and smaller urban centers alike, affecting communities of all sizes, particularly those governed by the Democratic Party.
The ramifications of these shifts have become acutely apparent in the streets of cities across the nation, where the impact has been felt at various levels. Law enforcement agencies, local authorities and communities found themselves grappling with the repercussions of altered immigration enforcement strategies. The fallout of these changes has been manifested in increased strain on public resources, heightened security concerns and complex social dynamics.
Since Biden assumed the role of president on Jan. 20, 2021, an estimated 5.6 million illegal immigrants have entered the US through its northern and southern borders.
Despite Democratic claims of prioritizing humanitarian concerns, the party’s actions do not align with these professed values. The apparent lack of comprehensive care for these illegal immigrants, many of whom find themselves homeless and in gravely dangerous situations, raises doubts about how their well-being is being addressed or even considered. Led by progressive politicians who pretend to advocate for the rights and dignity of immigrants, the Democratic Party has nothing in mind other than numbers. Each immigrant will be a potential voter. That is how they plan to change the political demographics.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams last month made a significant announcement that underscored the pressing challenges his city is facing. With an intake of approximately 90,000 migrants since April of last year, Adams revealed that New York had reached its capacity to accommodate additional arrivals. This declaration, emanating from the leader of the most populous American city, reflects the gravity of the situation.
The Democratic mayor emphasized the stark reality by stating that the city could no longer accommodate further migrants due to space limitations. He proposed a policy change to address the evolving situation: single adult migrants would be limited to a 60-day stay in the city’s shelters.
Currently, a staggering 105,800 individuals reside in New York’s shelters, a record high. Among these individuals, more than 54,000 are asylum seekers, underlining the multifaceted nature of the challenge facing the city due to the Biden administration’s immigration policies.
The dynamics at play in New York City summarize the complexities inherent in managing large-scale immigration movements. Adams’ announcement reflects the need for careful considerations that balance humanitarian concerns with practical capacity limitations.
The repercussions of the influx of migrants extend beyond New York City, with other urban centers grappling with similar challenges. The associated costs, both financial and social, have proven to be substantial.
Chicago, for instance, has not been immune to the challenges that accompany an increased migrant population. Reports of illegal immigrants in a high-capacity shelter engaging in disruptive behaviors such as loitering, late-night parties, prostitution, littering and even conflicts with community members have generated concerns among locals. These occurrences shed light on the complex dynamics that arise when a country adopts open-border policies.
In Massachusetts, a state known for its liberal stance and sanctuary policies concerning illegal immigration, the situation mirrors other regions. Emergency shelters are becoming overwhelmed as the demand for temporary housing continues to surge.
Open-border policies without stringent controls present a formidable challenge to any responsible nation’s commitment to safeguarding its citizens and maintaining national security.
Progressive politicians are motivated by political gains rather than the overall welfare of the nation, while the taxpayers are footing the bill.
However, the upcoming 2024 election offers Americans a significant opportunity to voice their opinions in how they want to shape the nation’s policies.
- Dalia Al-Aqidi is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy. Twitter: @DaliaAlAqidi