“Sensible policies” are desperately needed at the southern border to prevent the humanitarian crisis from getting worse, warns a U.S. senator who recently returned from a trip to the scene.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, wrote about the needs he perceived in a commentary at RealClearPolitics.
On his first day in office, President Biden issued executive orders reversing the successful policies implemented by President Trump in response to the 2019 border crisis, signaling “come-to-America” to residents of troubled Central American nations.
Portman said, first of all, the current administration must support the Border Patrol and “finish the wall system already paid for.”
“Second, give families and children seeking asylum relief a way to apply in their own country or a neighboring country rather than making the treacherous trip north,” he said. “The Biden administration should do this by reviving the Safe Third Country agreements with Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries and working with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees so that individuals can seek asylum and are resettled in the country that makes the most sense for their situation – be it a neighboring country or the United States.”
Third, the Biden administration must “stop releasing children and families into the U.S. and instead restart and expand a pilot program that allows for due process through a rapid adjudication of asylum claims at the border, starting with the most recent cases.”
The program was the Remain in Mexico policy, which required asylum seekers to apply from Mexico.
“Fourth, because American jobs are the magnet, the E-Verify program, which checks if a worker is legally eligible to work in the United States, must be made mandatory for all businesses, backed up by employer sanctions,” he said.
The senator noted the evidence of a crisis: “Customs and Border Protection reported more than 172,000 total encounters at the border in March, up 70% from February and more than five times the March 2020 numbers. This includes more than 53,000 migrant family members, a more than 1,000% increase from March 2020; nearly 100,000 single adult migrants, an increase of 275% versus last year; and nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children, double the amount that crossed our border in February and a nearly 500% increase from March 2020.”
He said the reason is clear: “The Biden administration’s policy changes encouraged families and unaccompanied children, mostly from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, to come to our southern border and apply for asylum. Traffickers are telling families they can come into the U.S. if they pay to make the treacherous trip north, then apply for asylum at the border. Under the Biden policies, there is a lot of truth to that.”
A large part of the problem is being aggravated by Biden’s policies, since most of the people caught but released into the United States never appear for their scheduled court hearings.
Further, an estimated 95% of those people still are in the U.S.
The problem could have been prevented, Portman said.
“Upon taking office, the new administration took a number of actions, including canceling the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, which required immigrants to remain in Mexico while applying for asylum; announcing a 100-day pause on all deportations; halting construction of an essential part of the border wall; and reversing the Title 42 public health emergency travel restrictions for unaccompanied children and some families,” the senator said.
“The career professionals I spoke to at the border say these changes are the main reasons for crisis.”
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