The BorderLine is a weekly Daily Signal feature examining everything from the unprecedented illegal immigration crisis at the border to immigration’s impact on cities and states throughout the land. We will also shed light on other critical border-related issues like human trafficking, drug smuggling, terrorism, and more.
The Biden administration would have you believe that its purportedly “safe, orderly, and humane” immigration policy comes at no cost to you, the American citizen. But the truth is just another casualty of its open border agenda.
Joe Biden has presided over an unprecedented degradation of U.S. sovereignty, as our laws no longer determine who gets in. Instead, aliens do—just by showing up. This loss of sovereignty at the border can literally apply to territory as well: Recently, the Texas Department of Public Safety had to move Mexican cartel gunmen off Fronton Island in the middle of the Rio Grande.
Since January 2021, the Biden Department of Homeland Security has abandoned the effort to deter, detain, and deport illegal aliens in favor of letting in as many as Congress will fund. This “Mayorkas Migration Machine” (I named it after our feckless secretary of homeland security, Alejandro Mayorkas) grinds away nationally and locally, from the border town of McAllen, Texas (which I just visited), to up north and our failing big cities. And the bills are coming due.
In New York, the homeless shelters are full and city officials are running out of makeshift places to put the relentless stream of illegal aliens. Mayor Eric Adams has announced cuts to city services on which citizens rely—including police, education, and libraries—to pay to feed and house them, and the City Council seems likely to approve them.
Chicago plans to build a giant tent camp to hold 2,000 of the illegal aliens waiting for free housing. This will cost over $30 million, on top of the $250 million the city already spent this year on illegal aliens, such as those who are housed in a K-12 school.
Locals are outraged—maybe because, according to Fox News, other migrant shelters in the city have been prone to “loitering, engaging in late-night partying, prostitution, littering, and even fighting with community members.” Chicago’s budget for 2024 is already half a billion in the red, but taxpayers, not illegal aliens, will pay this cost. When the city says “equity,” it means treating newly arrived aliens who’ve never paid taxes better than Chicagoans.
Massachusetts, a “sanctuary” state nicknamed “Taxachussetts” for its historically high taxes, finally capped its free housing of illegal aliens at 7,500 people. But they keep coming. Boston’s Logan Airport has been informally housing families flown from the border for months.
The airport’s manager gave the excuse that “they’re paying passengers”—but who’s paying? All of us are, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and numerous other government grants paid to nongovernmental organizations that transport, shelter, feed, advise, and provide other “wrap-around” services to illegal aliens coming to the U.S.
Local Texans used to swim, boat, and recreate on the Rio Grande near McAllen. No longer. On a recent fact-finding mission, I visited the Hidalgo County water pumping station, which owns property on the river. Its employees have been shot at by cartel thugs on the other side.
The river was devoid of civilian traffic. Cartels battle each other for control of the Mexican side and the lucrative payoffs from illegal aliens crossing through their turf. Dead bodies—executed victims of the narco-traffic wars—regularly wash up on the banks. The water authority had to install a screen to keep the corpses out of its pumps.
Drug cartels have sabotaged Border Patrol boats by stringing cables underwater to destroy outboard engines and at head height to kill or injure American officers. The Border Patrol boats now use water-jet engines and are equipped with twin wires from the bow to the top of the command box to divert strung cables.
At the airport in McAllen, I saw several families who appeared to be from Haiti camped out on the floor, waiting for their free flight north. Sources at the airport told me that 100 such people go through security and board flights every day with nothing more than their Notice to Appear—a letter from DHS telling them to go to immigration court at some point in the future—as identification. The Transportation Security Administration is required to accept this worthless document from foreigners, although you and I need a “Real ID” such as a state driver’s license or passport to board a plane.
An airline employee told me that her early morning flight to Dallas is usually half full of women and children from the border. That plane holds about 160 people. That’s just for one flight, one airline, one border airport, one day.
On my early afternoon flight to Dallas, I sat across from two young men with neat clothes, Puma sneakers, and fashionable haircuts, both incessantly on their late-model phones. They had Haitian passports and the telltale folders of travel itineraries and documents given by nongovernmental organizations to released illegal aliens for their onward journeys further into the U.S.
Who were they? What did they do back in Haiti?
I have no idea, and neither does DHS. Haiti’s government is feckless, and civil order has given way to high levels of murder, theft, and kidnapping. But although many poor Haitians are victims of all this, someone is doing the murdering, too. So how does DHS know the two guys on my plane and thousands more like them who it lets in each week are average citizens or victims and not the perpetrators fleeing the consequences of their own crimes?
Lacking any way to verify identities and check foreign criminal records in most cases, DHS is forced to trust the information provided by people who have everything to gain and nothing to lose by lying. It is a statistical certainty that some of the millions paroled in or released at the border will have committed acts at home that render them legally ineligible to be admitted into the United States. The high risk of this percentage of aliens re-offending is now borne by the American communities into which DHS is sending them.
To take but one example, in July 2023, Border Patrol caught a 25-year-old man entering the U.S. illegally in Hidalgo, gave him his Notice to Appear, and let him go. Three months later, Boston police arrested him for assaulting a member of his family—probably before he even made his first immigration court appearance. Did he have a criminal record in Haiti that could have warned DHS or Boston police that he had a history of violence? It’s too late to ask now.
In recent testimony before the Senate, Mayorkas claimed that he had paroled into the U.S. over 240,000 aliens on a “case by case” rather than blanket basis. This is simply not credible. He’s just rolling the dice on the safety of the American people.
The cold hard truth is, Biden’s policies have surrendered control of our borders to Mexican cartels and illegal aliens and foisted all the ensuing costs and risks onto our taxpayers.
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