Biden’s Border Band-Aid: 25% Decline in Illegal Immigrants—Too Little, Too Late?

Aaron Wells /
Aaron Wells /

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials recently announced a 25% decrease in illegal immigrant apprehensions at the U.S.–Mexico border following President Joe Biden’s new asylum cap. Well, it’s about time something happened! After all, this administration has been notoriously sluggish in addressing the border crisis.

On June 4, Biden issued a proclamation that caps asylum eligibility whenever the number of border encounters exceeds an average of 2,500 per day over a week. CBP agents can no longer “deliver timely consequences if that threshold is surpassed.” Biden says, “We can’t handle this, so let’s just limit who gets in.”

According to Biden, this ban will remain in place until the flood of illegal crossings reduces to a manageable level. At a news conference, he declared, “This measure will stay until we can handle the number of people trying to enter illegally.”

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Attorney General Merrick Garland have also issued an interim final rule to restrict asylum eligibility further and increase the penalties for some illegal border crossers. It was a necessary move, but why did it take so long?

CBP’s latest monthly report warns that “migration flows are dynamic,” it is ready to adjust its strategies as needed. CBP Acting Commissioner Troy A. Miller stated on June 20, “Our enforcement efforts are continuing to reduce southwest border encounters.”

Let’s not forget the dedication of the CBP agents, who, according to Miller, will continue to prioritize national security and crack down on criminal networks while enforcing new executive actions to secure the border. Preliminary data shows these new restrictions reduce daily encounters between border agents and illegal immigrants. However, Miller emphasizes the need for more resources to enforce immigration laws and ensure national security.

Despite the current measures, the immigration system remains overwhelmed. Miller commented, “Our immigration system is not resourced for what we see.”

Border Patrol agents have apprehended nearly 1.3 million illegal immigrants nationwide in just the first eight months of this fiscal year, which started on Oct. 1, 2023. An additional 929,000 inadmissible individuals were stopped at ports of entry, totaling 2.2 million. And last year? The total was a staggering 2.1 million.

The DHS Office of Inspector General recently issued a report identifying significant flaws in immigration law enforcement. One alarming case revealed that hundreds of illegal immigrants were released at a U.S. international airport due to insufficient resources, and 44% of them didn’t return for their removal flights. Coordination between CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was also lacking, resulting in 77 out of 168 released illegal immigrants not receiving court appearance notices. ICE’s failure to conduct consistent risk assessments led to high-risk individuals being released.

DHS acknowledged these issues and agreed to the report’s recommendations for improving processes and coordination.

Meanwhile, Texas is taking matters into its own hands. Since Gov. Greg Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in 2021, the state has seen a 74% decrease in illegal crossings from Mexico. This operation has involved deploying floating barriers, installing wire fencing, and utilizing the Texas National Guard. Since its inception, 514,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended, including over 44,000 criminal arrests, and nearly half a billion lethal doses of fentanyl have been seized. Now, that’s how you secure a border!

While the Biden administration’s recent actions have decreased illegal crossings, the overall strategy and response time leave much to be desired. With states like Texas showing that it can be done, it’s time for the federal government to step up and prioritize America’s national security.