As an immigrant and someone who has been advocating for immigration reform since 1997, I feel caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to my reaction to the obvious border crisis at the U.S. Southern border.
The immigration crisis at the U.S. Southern border is now unlike anything seen in the past two decades. In fact, data shows that so far this fiscal year, 845,307 persons have been encountered by border agents compared to 796,400 during the same period in fiscal 2019. All are trying to enter the U.S. for what they perceive to be a better life.
Of that number, 212,672 were apprehended at the Southern border last month alone, a 13% increase from June. Many more, including Haitian and African migrants are stuck in South and Central American countries like Colombia and Panama, as they also try to make it to America, that shining beacon on a hill––or so they presume.
The spike in illegal immigration in the midst of the pandemic, sadly comes just when many felt immigration reform to help those living in an undocumented capacity within the borders of the U.S. would finally become a reality.
But unlike many advocates who are highly critical of the Joe Biden administration’s response at the border, especially when it comes to restarting removal flights of Central American migrants to southern Mexico, I completely support the measure.
Why? Because the reality is that there is no way over 800,000 people qualify for or can be given asylum in the U.S. in a matter of months. What happens when another 800,000 follow on their heels? Do we let them in too?
How can any country simply welcome all these new migrants in while millions of DREAMERS and undocumented immigrants who have been living here for decades, need assistance and a path to legalization themselves? These are the immigrants who we should be supporting and advocating for because their commitment to this country is without question.
It’s absolute madness, regardless of how highly you rank on the liberal scale, to support an open border asylum policy for anyone who crosses the line.
The focus has to be on immigrants in America who need legalization now and not on adding to the rolls of the undocumented in the midst of a pandemic. They are paying taxes and growing our economies and should be given the focus.
This is a sad but necessary reality that we must face, and that the Joe Biden’s administration must firmly stand on.
The president’s immigration czar and veep, Kamala Harris, needs to be making this clear, not hiding in the shadows behinds reports of phone calls on the hot button issue and leaving the immigrant-born Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas out in front.
Mayorkas is absolutely right when he said last week: “Our mission is to protect the American public and to administer the laws of our nation. Consistent with that, our efforts will uphold our laws, and will uphold our values. That includes the laws of humanitarian relief, as well as the laws of enforcement. We will work relentlessly to thwart illegal immigration and to adjudicate asylum claims fairly and efficiently.”
That is not xenophobic, illegal or anti-immigrant––it is commonsense and reality.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow