QUEMADO, TX – This week’s headlines about five unaccompanied migrant children gave most of us chills. If you watched the video, then your chills may have led to sobs. A Texas rancher found five unaccompanied migrant children abandoned on his property near the border. The children ranged in ages from eleven months to seven years old. The whole incident was caught on video in a viral moment which left most of us wondering what is happening at our southern border. The rancher’s wife, Katie Hobbs, said her husband called her early Sunday morning and then sent a picture of the five little girls left on their land. “They were crying, they were scared, they didn’t know where their parents were,” said Hobbs. Mrs. Hobbs rushed over to where her husband was, took out her phone, and started recording what was unfolding. She told viewers that the little girls were left on a dirty blanket. The youngest child, a baby, didn’t have a diaper and crawled around in the dirt. On the videos, Hobbs records one of the little girls, an infant in the arms of a farm employee. During the video, Hobbs said, “If this doesn’t make you mad and want to take to the streets, I don’t know what will.” Hobbs said during their decades on the farm, they’ve never seen this many migrants crossing over from Mexico. She also noted that just last week, a group of fifty men crossed not even a half a mile from their home. Hobbs said she fears it will only get worse.
Hobbs is entirely on-point that it is going to get worse. Although this video (fortunately) went viral and made some headlines this week, many stories like this do not get coverage. The crossings of the large groups of men that Hobbs mentioned aren’t discussed. It’s a policy problem that the mainstream media is silent about. This policy problem is the main contributing factor to the illegal border crossing that we are seeing.
The number of people apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) near the Southwest border has been rising in the past year. The public concerns are erringly familiar to those raised in the summers of 2014 during the Obama administration. Most of us know this administration is an extension of that prior one.
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After the election, in early 2021. We saw an influx of unaccompanied children. This influx presented a significant challenge for the CPB and other agencies. It is a horrible reality that pulls on the heartstrings and has gotten some public attention. Thanks in part to social media and viral videos, like the one captured this week by Mrs. Hobbs. However, the root cause of our border crisis is much more severe. These increases are single adults from Mexico. The most significant numbers are not asylum-seeking families from Central America. Remember that President Trump warned us that Mexican illegals, including criminals and drug dealers, were the problem. One must understand that the recent increases are the result of rising recidivism rates. These border-hopping individuals, if apprehended, are expelled back into Mexico and expelled with virtually no penalties. What would compel someone to cross illegally over and over? Typically, these are not work-seeking or asylum-seeking individuals. They are people looking to sneak in and back. There is a transparent reason this is happening, and it’s a policy that the current administration and mainstream media ignore. The border hoppers are happening because of “Title 42“. If you haven’t heard of Title 42 before this, that is probably intentional. It’s not covered. This administration has done its best to silence any discussion of this.
Overall, land border encounters have increased under this administration and Title 42. According to the CBP Newsroom, data shows that encounters hit a low of approximately 17,000 in April 2020, during the Trump administration. This data now shows a rise to just over 170,000 in March 2021. An increase of 100,000.
Instead of families and unaccompanied children, the increased apprehensions are primarily the result of increasing recidivism rates of Mexican adults traveling alone. Title 42 was meant to be a temporary reaction to the pandemic. Penalties are reduced, and traditional processing for repeat attempts of unauthorized entry is halted. The result is an increase in single adults attempting to cross the border. In 2019 repeat crossers accounted for 7% of apprehensions. In April of 2021, they account for 37%.
The new administration has embraced these pandemic policies as a permanent procedure. It was meant to be a very temporary relief to border patrol. What it has morphed into is the real crisis at hand. To present a timeline, in March 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a rule that gave the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the authority to immediately expel or deport anyone who attempts to cross the border without authorization. DHS and CBP immediately started using the rule, issued under Title 42 of the 1944 Public Health Service Act, to expel almost everyone apprehended at the border, including vulnerable asylum seekers, pregnant women, and unaccompanied children.
During the Trump administration, these Title 42 procedures were used to expel border crossers to their home countries via deportation flights. Others were returned to Mexico just hours after they were apprehended at the border. Because of their expedited nature, these expulsions were not processed according to traditional border processing procedures. Bottom line, Title 42 was working when you had an administration using it to advance removal. In 2021, we have an administration that uses it to give the illegal crossers virtually no repercussions. As no surprise, the unlawful crossers have caught on.
At the beginning of the pandemic, The Trump administration deported >200,000 individuals at the border under Title 42, including over 13,000 unaccompanied children. Under Title 42, the Biden administration is not applying the same deportation procedures. Instead, they are encouraging repeat border jumpers. The lack of repercussions is no surprise, as the coyotes and smugglers react to the lack of response.
Our border crisis is another crisis spurred by a pandemic policy dragged out to advance a political agenda. If Title 42 remains in place, we are inviting a crisis at our southern border.