Eight days before Americans elect a new president, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions on Monday laid out the stakes as immigration enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border continues to deteriorate.
In a news release, the senator’s office declared a “crisis at our southwest border — one that in many ways exceeds the crisis we saw just two years ago, one that further undermines the integrity of our immigration system, but one that the most of the media has elected to ignore.”
The current situation “exceeds the crisis we saw just two years ago, one that further undermines the integrity of our immigration system, but one that the most of the media has elected to ignore.”
Sessions, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, arguably is the Senate’s foremost expert on immigration. He also has been an important surrogate for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Sessions’ release Monday serves to rebut the contention of President Obama’s administration that the border is secure, measured by the decreasing number of apprehensions and deportations from their peak earlier in his presidency. Sessions points to the following facts:
- Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, has said talk of amnesty or something resembling it has created a “pull factor,” encouraging illegal immigrants to make the dangerous journey to the Mexican border. “We are simply overwhelmed,” Judd said. The senator highlighted an immigration enforcement agent who told Breitbart News on Sunday that the workload is worse that it ever has been. “The administration’s policies have created the influx and the crisis situation because people overrun our border knowing they have a chance to stay,” the unnamed officer said.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are currently holding more than 40,000 foreigners, sending the Department of Homeland Security scrambling to find additional detention space. A Wall Street Journal story noted that according to internal projections, the number of illegal immigrants awaiting deportation — already a record — will hit 47,000 by next June. Without additional funding, ICE will release many of those detained.
- The recent surge in unauthorized border crossings reflects the changing demographics of illegal immigration. People from countries other than Mexico now make up 70 percent to 75 percent of the illegal immigrants crossing the southwest border. That includes thousands of Haitians and Africans coming from the Mexican cities of Tijuana and Mexicali, as well as about 35,000 Cubans — aided by special treatment from outdated U.S. laws — who crossed into Texas between October 2015 and this past July.
- In the fiscal year that ended in September, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 408,870 illegal aliens at the southern border, up 23 percent from fiscal year 2015. Much of that growth has been driven by increases in unaccompanied minors and so-called “family units” — adults traveling with children. The Obama administration refuses to tell Americans how many of the 408,870 illegal immigrants remain in the country, according to Sessions. Nor will it provide information on the current location of the 331,333 it apprehended in fiscal year 2015. Judd told LifeZette that border agents estimate one person makes it across for every one caught. A still-unreleased study sponsored by Homeland Security reaches a similar conclusion. What’s more, Judd said, the administration’s catch-and-release policies mean many of those apprehended eventually wind up in the United States.
“Indeed, rather than sending a strong signal to the world that the United States will not tolerate illegal immigration, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson recently appeared to blame the surge in illegal immigration on the refusal of Congress to pass a mass amnesty bill,” the senator’s news release states.
Judd, in a statement released by the Trump campaign, blasted Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“Mrs. Clinton’s extreme plan will expand upon the policies that is the cause of the current crisis, including the president’s unconstitutional executive amnesty orders — triggering a constitutional crisis,” he stated. “Her plan will erode the physical and economic security of this great nation and all of its residents. Her plan means an open door to criminal cartels, drug dealers, and even terrorists.”
The release issued by Sessions pointed to other lapses in the U.S. immigration system, including estimates that 527,127 people admitted legally for business or pleasure in fiscal year 2015 failed to return home after their visas expired.
“The integrity of our immigration system and our national sovereignty require a real change in enforcement,” the release states. “The future of our nation depends on strong, secure borders, and a president willing to enforce our laws. Without a commitment to deport aliens who violate our immigration laws, we lose our ability to protect our communities from criminal aliens, terrorism, and cartel-related crime and violence.”