Thursday, August 18

Biden’s ‘call effect’ breaks record for border arrests: 1.7 million in 2021


Correspondent in New York

Updated:

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The number of arrests of undocumented immigrants on the border with Mexico is incontestable proof that the arrival of Joe Biden to the White House It has been a ‘pull effect’ for those seeking to enter the US illegally. Data for fiscal year 2012 – between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021 – from the Customs and Border Police (CBP) show that the historical record of arrests has been broken: 1.7 million arrests of undocumented persons in that period.

The data, to which ‘The Washington Post’ has had access but which is expected to be made public this week, is a jug of cold water in the Biden Administration, which avoids in all ways to speak of a ‘crisis’ at the border and he has tried to justify the increase in arrests as normal.

But the official numbers leave no doubt about Biden’s impact on the record: total arrests tripled the average for the years 2012-2020, which was 540,000 arrests; And, although fiscal year 2021 started with Donald Trump in the White House, the vast majority of arrests -1.3 million- they occurred in the eight and a half months corresponding to the start of the Democrat’s presidency.

In his presidential campaign, Biden sought the contrast with Trump, who stood out for his aggressive messages against the undocumented and established a ‘zero tolerance’ policy in 2018, which caused the separation of tens of thousands of children from their parents and was criticized even within his party. Biden sought a polite tone, spoke of humane and dignified treatment for the undocumented and promised comprehensive immigration reforms. As soon as he got to the White House, he defended the push for massive regularizations in Congress, recovered the program of giving permanent residence to millions of immigrants who entered the country as children, suspended deportations for a hundred days and dismantled the Trump program ‘Remain in Mexico’, which forced asylum seekers to do so from the Mexican side.

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Amid those kind messages, immigrants flocked to the border. The authorities of the Biden Administration insisted that at the moment there was no regularization underway, that entry into the country was not possible due to covid regulations and that it was not the time to seek refuge in the US It did not matter: the number of arrests skyrocketed last spring. The Biden Administration assured that it was due to the usual increases in those months, which occur every year. It was not so: the months with the most arrests were July and August -more than 200,000 immigrants were arrested-, in the midst of scorching heat in which the number of entries is normal to drop.

Biden and his senior officials have blamed the situation on his predecessor’s policies and the economic crisis caused by the pandemics. The management by its vice president, Kamala Harris, of the ‘root causes’ – the socioeconomic conditions in countries like Guatalama, Honduras or El Salvador – that cause massive emigrations has not caused any impact.

Biden has seen his approval ratings plummet since August, when the crisis of the evacuation of Afghanistan and the new wave of Covid-19 starring the Delta variant came together. In the polls, immigration is the worst valued aspect of his administration. The president is criticized on both sides: Republicans and their conservative media allies criticize that he has caused chaos on the border with his ‘pull effect’; Left-wing Democrats and pro-immigrant activists protest because it has cornered immigration reform – with no place in Congress due to the blocking of its spending plans – and because it has used the regulations imposed by Trump during the pandemic for mass expulsions of undocumented. The recent chaos caused by the attempted entry of thousands of Haitians to the Texas border – sometimes driven off by police on horseback using their reins to intimidate immigrants – has also been a headache for Biden.

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A significant fact is that most of those arrested at the border are Mexican citizens -608,000-, while in previous flows the highest numbers came from Central America. Now the growing number of immigrants arriving from more distant countries – especially Haiti, Venezuela, Ecuador, Cuba or Brazil – has also consolidated, reaching 367,000.

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