The crisis at the southern U. S. border continues and worsens, as the numbers of those attempting to enter the U. S. illegally rises to record highs. In May, Border Patrol agents encountered over 180,000 people attempting or successfully entering the U. S. illegally, up from March and April. In fact, May represents the highest number of those detained since 2000. All the while, the Biden administration refuses to acknowledge that there is a crisis at the U. S.-Mexico border. Vice-President Kamala Harris visited the border briefly a few days ago, but Biden himself as not done so. Harris took criticism for her very brief visit to El Paso, hundreds of miles away from where the greatest impact of border crossings is being felt.
To make matters worse, Biden has reignited former President Obama’s “catch-and-release” policy, busing or flying illegal immigrant minors, what the government calls Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) to various sites across the country, hundreds of miles from the border, with little to no notification to state authorities or even members of Congress representing the districts to which these youngsters are being transported. Judicial Watch reports, “In an apparent effort to avoid public scrutiny, the Biden administration is transporting planeloads of illegal immigrant minors in the middle of the night then busing them to cities in the southeast. Even members of Congress representing the impacted districts are being kept in the dark about the covert operations and the Department of Defense (DOD) is contracting big tour buses to move the migrants to nearby states once they land, presumably from the southern border region.” However, the great majority of these UACs are not children, but older teenage males, which raises concerns about gang activity, since it’s well confirmed by federal authorities that these male teens are recruited by gangs at U. S. shelters, including by the notorious MS-13. “Catch-and-release” isn’t new, of course. As said above, the Obama administration practiced the same policy, and so did the Trump administration, in spite of Trump’s promise to end the practice.
“Catch-and-release” of illegal minors to unsuspecting communities is not the only problem with the current border crisis. In fact, the great majority of those detained are adult males. Of the 180,000+ encounters with CBP in May, 121,000+ were of adult males. This is important, because a goodly number of these have criminal records and there are reasons to suspect they are coming with criminal intentions. According to John Daniel Davidson, writing for The Federalist, these men “are the ones trying to evade law enforcement. In practice, that means more high-speed car chases. It means small groups of men hiking across South Texas ranchlands, often in camouflage. It means more break-ins and burglaries, assaults on Border Patrol agents, stash houses and smugglers and organized crime. It means a fair number of these men — and they are mostly men — are trying to escape detection because they have criminal records.” The increase in illegal border crossings corresponds with an increase in drug traffic at the border. Davidson writes, “Drug seizures so far this fiscal year are 56 greater than all of fiscal 2020, with an 18 percent increase from April to May. Seizures of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that’s driving a record number of deadly overdoses nationwide, have increased markedly, from 2,801 pounds in 2019, to 4,776 last year, to 7,450 so far this year.” CBP also reports a 542% increase in the arrest of sex offenders crossing the border.
Claiming little effort on the part of the Biden administration to thwart the crisis at the border, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced his intent to build a wall across the Texas-Mexico border.
There’s no question that many people are attempting to immigrate into the U. S. because of the poverty, natural disasters, drug wars and corruptions plaguing their own countries. One can hardly blame them wanting a better life in the United States. At the same time, a country that cannot or does not control its own borders is soon at the mercy of elements that will bring chaos and crime to its own citizens, citizens the government is duty bound to protect. Unfortunately, given a lack of resources for ascertaining who is coming for legitimate reasons and who is coming for nefarious reasons, an “all-or-nothing,” “open-or-closed” policy is adopted. Either the border is essentially open to any and all who come, or the border is closed to everyone. Neither policy is satisfactory. It’s impossible for the U. S. to take in all those of every, or even any, country who are desperate for a better life. Their numbers are far too great. The only hope, then, is for nations to work together to improve the situation in every nation, for the benefit of all. That hasn’t been the case, as too many politicians and criminal leaders are invested only in their own power and profit. Such is the way of the world. Or, more accurately, such is the way we have made the world.
It’s not clear to me, however, why the U. S. cannot adopt a policy of giving genuine consideration to women and children, especially young children, who are making the dangerous trek north in their attempts to make a better lives for themselves, while at the same time being circumspect about allowing in single males, especially those over the age of fourteen or so. Is this discrimination? Of course it is. Is it unjust discrimination? I don’t think so, honestly. The truth is, young single males are those most likely to cross our border with criminal records and with criminal intentions. This isn’t rocket science. There aren’t many five year old children accompanying their mothers across the border who are experienced in crime or have plans for a life of crime. This will certainly increase the number of single males attempting to cross the border with children in tow, either their own or those they’ve obtained by various means, legal or otherwise. But, even here, we can be discriminating in who we allow over the border. Accepting the child doesn’t necessarily mean accepting the male older teen or adult. If that policy is made clear and consistent, single men will see no advantage in attempting to cross with children in tow, a much safer situation for the child and for the U. S.
To whom much is given, much is expected (Lk 12:48, paraphrased). The U. S. has certainly been given much. So, much ought to be expected of us. We can certainly offer refuge to women and children who need protection and opportunity. But, we cannot be expected to heal all the world’s ills, and we also have responsibilities to our own citizens, to protect them from the chaos and crime that results from open borders. It’s a myth that everyone in the U. S. is wealthy and has everything they need for a safe and successful life. Unfortunately, those in leadership often make decisions that will mostly impact those who are least in a position to manage the consequences. No one is talking about busing illegal immigrants to Nancy Pelosi’s neighborhood in San Francisco, or flying them to Mar-A-Lago or the Hamptons.
I am convinced that the crisis at the border is one of our own making. We could adopt reasonable policies, but immigration is too much of a political football to inspire our political leaders on the left or the right to do much to actually solve the problem. As it is, there will be consequences from the current crisis, and those consequences will not be suffered by those in power to prevent them.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.