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The 'Secure Border' of Kamala Harris

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

When Donald Trump was president in fiscal 2019, the Border Patrol did not encounter a single individual on the terrorist watchlist trying to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border between the legal ports of entry.


In the first ten months of this fiscal year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they encountered 66.

These include individuals, as CBP explains on its website, who are "known or suspected terrorists" or "individuals who represent a potential threat to the United States, including known affiliates of watchlisted individuals."

Did CBP fail to encounter any watchlisted individuals in 2019 because the Trump administration was less aggressive about securing that border?

Or have 66 been caught this year because the Biden administration has sent a signal to the world that the border is not as secure now as it was three years ago and, thus, has inspired watchlisted individuals to try sneak in?

Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" last Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris claimed that the U.S.-Mexico border has indeed been secured and argued that illegal aliens already inside the United States should be rewarded with U.S. citizenship.

"Would you call the border secure?" host Chuck Todd asked Harris.

"I think that there is no question that we have to do what the president and I asked Congress to do -- the first request we made, pass a bill to create a pathway to citizenship," Harris responded.

"The border is secure," she continued.

"But we also have a broken immigration system, in particular over the last four years before we came in, and it needs to be fixed," she said.

"We're going to have 2 million people cross this border for the first time ever," Todd said. "You're confident this border is secure?"


"We have a secure border," Harris repeated, "in that that is a priority for any nation, including ours and our administration. But there are still a lot of problems that we are trying to fix, given the deterioration that happened over the last four years.

"We also have to put in place a law and a plan for a pathway to citizenship for the millions of people who are here and are prepared to do what is legally required to gain citizenship," she said.

This is nonsense.

People who were "prepared to do what is legally required to gain citizenship" legally applied for immigrant visas before they came to the United States, came here legally and are now living here legally on a legal path to citizenship.

Harris is talking about people who have violated the law either by overstaying a visa or by illegally sneaking across our border.

America has the most generous legal immigration policies of any nation on Earth.

In 2019, the same year that the Border Patrol did not encounter a single person on the terrorist watchlist at the U.S.-Mexico border, the United States naturalized 843,593 new foreign-born citizens.

These new Americans came from all across the globe, according to data published by the Department of Homeland Security.

The total included 5% from Central America, 8.1% from South America, 9.6% from Europe, 10.1% from Africa, 12% from the Caribbean, 15.8% from other regions in North America and 38.8% from Asia.

In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic started, the number of naturalized U.S. citizens dropped to 628,254. In 2021, however, it climbed back up to 813,861.


The 813,861 people who became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2021 almost equaled the entire population of San Francisco, which the Census Bureau says was 815,201 in that year.

Indeed, the number of people who became naturalized U.S. citizens in 2021 exceeded the populations of many major U.S. cities, including Seattle (733,919), Denver (711,463), Washington, D.C. (670,050), Boston (654,776), Detroit (632,464) and Baltimore (576,498).

Clearly, the United States has not closed its doors to law-abiding people who immigrate here in keeping with our laws.

What has happened along our border in the last three years? In fiscal 2020, Trump's last full year in office, CBP reported that it encountered 458,088 people trying to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border into the United States.

In fiscal 2021, the year Biden succeeded Trump, the number of people CBP encountered trying to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border jumped to 1,734,686.

"Migrants were encountered 1.7 million times in the last 12 months, the highest number of illegal crossings recorded since at least 1960," the New York Times said on Oct. 22, 2021.

"It was the highest number of illegal crossings recorded since at least 1960, when the government first began tracking such entries," said the Times.

The Washington Post reported on April 2, 2021 -- more than two months after Biden took office -- that the number of illegal border crossers who successfully evaded the Border Patrol was surging.


"Nearly 1,000 people per day are sneaking into the United States without being identified or taken into custody because U.S. border agents are busy attending to migrant families and unaccompanied children while also trying to stop soaring numbers of male adults, according to three U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials familiar with the data," the Post reported.

"While CBP has never claimed to interdict every border-crosser, the number of 'got aways' recorded in recent weeks is the highest in recent memory, said two of the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the data," reported the Post.

In just the first ten months of this fiscal year (October through July), CBP has encountered 1,946,780 illegal border crossers.

The Biden administration is setting another record for the number of illegal border crossers encountered by CBP.

This is what Vice President Harris calls a "secure border."

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