Immigration law is a maze of statute, regulation, and presidential whim. Explaining things like immigration parole, Title 42, and asylum is difficult.
Here’s a parable to explain Title 42, a public health measure that enabled the quick removal of illegal immigrants, but that is set to expire.
Imagine the hottest nightspot in town, Club America. It has the best DJs, a massive dance floor, and is jampacked with beautiful people every night.
On Fridays and Saturdays, a long line of hopefuls waits outside to get in. Guarding the door is head bouncer Tony, who decides who gets in. There are some criteria: Applicants have to be over 21, they can’t carry weapons, and they can’t present an obvious safety risk.
Space inside is limited, so Tony selects those best-suited to the club’s style. The club is safe, it makes money, and it complies with the law.
One day, the manager comes and tells Tony he thinks it’s unfair to make people wait outside. He tells Tony to let them all in, then verify their ages afterward. Tony should take their word (or “parole”) that they are over 21, unarmed, and have no criminal record.
Now, Tony still has to control the door. But he also needs to go inside and try to find all the people he let in, ask for their IDs, inspect them in poor light, and interview them on a noisy dance floor. If he finds someone who isn’t 21, or who’s violent, he has detain them and then get help to throw them out.
It’s an impossible job.
Once the word gets out, hundreds of underage kids show up at the club, knowing they will get in and be able to party, drink, and dance unmolested for most of the night. They know that however lame their claim is to being 21, there are too many for Tony to deal with them all.
See where I am going with this?
Tony is Title 42. President Joe Biden, the manager, wants all comers to have an opportunity to claim they are 21, though he knows 9 out of 10 aren’t. He knows some are criminals, but he doesn’t think that ought to bar their entry. The more bodies in the club, legal or not, the more money he makes.
Next week, on May 11, Title 42 ends: Tony gets fired, and Club America will basically be open to all comers. Cities and states will deal with the increased costs of housing, educating, and feeding the 2 million who have arrived illegally since Biden took office, plus millions more on the way.
Biden’s abuse of immigration parole is unprecedented. It’s undermining both the rule of law and civil society. Using the administrative state to bypass the law as written is a favorite tactic of this administration, and only Congress can put a stop to it.
If aliens fail to get asylum or other legal protection, they should be removed. Family reunification should take place under the process, and at the rate provided for by U.S. immigration law, and not at the caprice of an increasingly tyrannical executive branch.
We need legislation that puts parole back in its proper place as a rare exception to the rule that people arriving in the U.S. illegally should be detained until their immigration cases are concluded.
One possibility is the Secure the Border Act of 2023, which would empower agents at the border to expel illegal arrivals before they can enter our fatally backlogged asylum process.
Put another way, the bill would rehire Tony the Bouncer and keep people out of Club America until they’re approved to enter, rather than let them in only to have to eject them years later.
Whatever law makes it happen, some power to expel and detention for any alien who gets around it, is necessary to end the border crisis. With estimates of 13,000 or more daily encounters expected at the southwest border after Title 42 ends, we can’t wait.
Caution, though: Any Title 42 replacement power needs clear but limited exceptions. We’ve seen what the Biden administration can do with exceptions. Parole, used a few hundred times a year under some previous presidents, has been used like a rubber stamp for two years.
The Department of Homeland Security’s latest plan to cope after Title 42 is all about quantity (processing more people into the U.S.) and not quality (separating genuine asylum claims from the mass of economic migrants).
Anyone who thinks that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ DHS will ramp up deportation for aliens falling outside the new, made-up, and expanding “lawful pathways” hasn’t been paying attention for two years.
Once the word is out that the border is no longer open to anyone with a claim, no matter how bogus, then numbers will begin to come down. Then, DHS can return to its day job of facilitating legal immigrants, visitors, and legitimate trade while cracking down on illegal entrants, contraband, fake goods, and drugs.
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