The Border Has Been Open for Three Years

Almost 80% of those who try to get into the U.S. without permission are successful.

Written by Jack Elbaum

What’s happening: Almost 80% of the 3.1 million people who attempted to enter America’s Southern border illegally in 2023 did. Some 1.5 million were caught, given a court date, but then released into the country — some as asylum applicants; 600,000 were able to sneak past border control; 300,000 were “paroled”; 565,000 were deported.

What is parole: It is a mechanism by which someone can be temporarily admitted to the country for either humanitarian reasons or for public benefit. It is supposed to be applied on a case-by-case basis and in limited numbers. However, the Biden administration unilaterally expanded eligibility by allowing in Ukrainians, Afghans, Venezuelans, Cubans, and others under this policy.

  • However: A 1982 clarification of the parole law said it only applies in “emergent, individual, and isolated situations, such as in the case of an alien who requires immediate medical attention, and not for the immigration of classes or groups outside the limit of the law.”

What is asylum? It is a tool to take in people who have a fear of persecution by their government. However, over time, the criteria have expanded to include a wider range of threats such as discrimination or gang violence. The Biden administration more than quadrupled the asylum acceptance ceiling.

  • In practice: Migrants are often advised to give themselves up at ports of entry and apply for asylum because between then and their court date — which can be years later — they are released into the country.

  • A steep increase: The number of asylum applications rose from less than 100,000 in 2021 to almost 500,000 in 2023.

Consequences: Texas is no longer able to deal with the influx of people on its own, and when tens of thousands of migrants were sent to Chicago and New York, it forced the cities to live up to their "sanctuary" policies and use significant taxpayer resources to provide food and shelter at the expense of poor residents of the city.

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