The Biden administration has big plans to reform immigration. Long-time immigrant rights champion Senator Bob Menendez (D-NY) will introduce a bill that portends to be a radical reformation of the immigration system in the U.S. It is unclear whether he will present his reform as one comprehensive bill or whether the Democrats will present reforms piecemeal with several smaller bills. Regardless of the process, reform will be significant. It has been suggested that a strategy of smaller bills over time will keep it off the radar of those who might disagree with radical reform and, thus, make it more likely to pass as a whole.

A precursor to the upcoming bill has been the reversal of immigration-related Executive Orders put in place during the Trump administration. Biden issued his own Executive Order on Immigration in early February in anticipation of the Menendez-sponsored legislation to be presented some time this month. Regrettably, Congress failed to support President Trump with immigration reform legislation during his tenure. The lack of leadership on immigration reform in Congress is not a new problem—in fact, it preceded the 2016 election.

Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has already revoked Trump’s “remain in Mexico” program featured in a Feb. 15 article on UncoverDC. Biden has also halted deportation for 90 days, a policy that Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas was able to temporarily rescind with his lawsuit. Paxton’s position was upheld by a judge in the United States District Court, Southern District of Texas. The ruling placed a nation-wide injunction on the the deportation freeze. Unfortunately, according to Chris Chmielenski, deputy director of Numbers USA, in defiance of the judge’s order, Biden has ordered ICE “not to remove anybody.”

The new immigration bill could give amnesty to at least 11 million people (some estimate more than 20 million) if illegal immigrants can claim they were on U.S. soil by Jan.1, 2021. In addition, those who were deported by the Trump administration will also be given amnesty, according to Chmielenski. There will be significant increases in guest worker programs and chain migration. Menendez also plans to double the visa lottery, something the 2013 Gang of Eight bill eliminated. Internal enforcement programs will also be gutted, as is already seen with its reinstatement of the Obama-era Catch and Release Program.

The Catch and Release program dictated that when an illegal alien is apprehended, they are processed and then released into the United States—with the idea that they would return to court for their immigration hearing. The wait for a hearing can be as long as 18 months—many fail to return. There are only 465 immigration judges, most of whose cases are severely backlogged. Holding spaces are few, and the logistics of keeping families together is much more difficult.

The Trump administration espoused a Zero Tolerance policy requiring that illegals, once processed, were returned to Mexico to await their hearing. Mexico now knows that immigration policy has shifted, so even when the current administration sends back illegal aliens, Mexico refuses to hold them, according to Chmielenski.

Mexico no longer worries that the sanctions it once faced due to non-compliance will be enforced. “They are not afraid of the Biden administration, as they were with the Trump administration,” says Chmielenski. The numbers show it too. January of 2021 saw the “highest number of border apprehensions since the border surge of 2019.” It also marks the highest number in the past decade. Chmielenski says that the Catch and Release program’s reinstatement is the single biggest influence on the influx of illegals in the U.S.

According to the NumbersUSA, a bi-partisan organization whose mission is to work toward “immigration numbers that serve American’s finest goals,…authorities made about 78,000 arrests in January, according to data released this week by the U.S.CBP. The agency averaged about 3,000 arrests per day in January and the numbers are only going up.”

Graph/NumbersUSA/Immigration Apprehensions

In addition, NumbersUSA reports that “single adult Mexican citizen encounters increased by about 119 percent from January 2020 to January 2021. Almost all categories of illegal aliens increased by approximately six percent between December 2020 and January 2021.” Chmielenski estimates that the U.S. will see a “minimum of 100,000 illegals crossing the border every month.”

Graphic/NumbersUSA/Apprehensions

War correspondent Michael Yon discussed his recent trip to the southern border with Steve Bannon’s War Room Pandemic on Tuesday. Yon says this is not a good time to relax the enforcement of immigration policies. The pandemic has created enormous pressure on the U.S. economy and infrastructure. An influx of illegals who are incentivized to cross the border is the last thing the American worker or our school systems need. He says of the Biden administration, “They have just turned up the gas. Pressure is clearly building…the osmotic pressure is building..for people to get to places where they can do better for themselves…we don’t have a lot of extra room at this point.” He reports that the “fact of Biden coming into office has increased the flow of illegal crossings two or three times” the normal number.

Yon also reported that Biden has completely stopped the construction of the wall in Texas and New Mexico due to the administration’s termination of the National Emergency that President Trump declared in February of 2019. The National Emergency declaration “allowed Trump to transfer unused funds from other accounts to help build the border wall, in addition to what Congress has appropriated. But the Biden administration has even gone a step further. They have stopped all construction on the border wall, including the funds that Congress has appropriated to build the border wall,” explained Yon.

Immigration is already transforming the American electorate. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) reports that “nationally, in 2020 about half (48 percent) of the voting-age people of what the Census Bureau used to call “foreign stock” are immigrants and the rest are U.S.-born children with at least one immigrant parent.” A sampling of impactful statistics found on the CIS website can be found below:

  • Nationally, the number of voting-age citizens who are immigrants or their children increased by 71 percent, while the rest of the potential electorate grew by just 15 percent between 2000 and 2020. As a share of eligible voters, immigrants and their children increased their share from 14 percent to 20 percent.
  • Proportionally, immigration has had the most transformational impact on the electorate in states of the South. The share of potential voters who are immigrants or their children increased more than three-fold in North Carolina and Georgia. It doubled in Virginia and Kentucky, and it nearly doubled in South Carolina and Maryland.
  • The growth in numbers between 2000 and 2020 in North Carolina and Georgia is by far the most striking. In North Carolina, the number of eligible voters who are immigrants or their children increased by 355 percent—while the rest of the potential electorate grew by just 22 percent. In Georgia, the number increased by 337 percent—while the rest of the potential electorate grew by only 17 percent.
Graph/NumbersUSA/Immigrants and the Electorate

Lax immigration policy threatens the safety and security of our country. Angel Mom, Mary Ann Mendoza, whose website “brings illegal alien crimes to the forefront of politicians and American citizens,” can attest to the dangers of poor immigration policy. Her son, Sergeant Brandon Mendoza, was killed by a convicted criminal who had lived in the United States illegally for more than 20 years. The influence of drug cartels and human traffickers is no longer limited to border cities. And research shows that the rise in Sanctuary cities nationwide has impacted the available resources and safety of the residents in those communities. Illegals from Special Interest Countries like Iran also cross the border daily. On Feb. 15, the new book by Todd Bensman called  “America’s Covert Border War” was the subject of a robust conversation about the national security risk posed by “long-haul illegal border entry of migrants from nations of terrorism concern in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa.” 

The economic impact of open borders policies could be consequential, especially when the pandemic has stripped many Americans of their jobs. Chmielenski told Bannon that officials in the Biden administration are already telling open borders activists that they plan to completely eliminate e-verify “a tool that more than fifty percent of employers use to verify that their new hires are verified to work here in the United States. That jobs magnet is huge” and could displace many American workers. E-verify was encouraged but never mandated by the Trump administration. In his Senate confirmation hearing, newly appointed DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas indicated, however, that he is a supporter of the program.

Statement on E-Verify/Mayorkas