When critics refer to the Biden administration's 'open borders' policies, apologists often shoot back that the phrase is inaccurate. As evidence to supposedly debunk the 'open borders' descriptor, they cite the record-setting monthly numbers of border encounters, reports of convicted felons captured, and examples of interdicted guns and drugs. The border isn't open, they claim, because these apprehensions and other enforcement actions are being taken. My response to this parsing is typically to say that people are entitled to argue that the border isn't fully open, but they cannot credibly argue that it is "closed" or "secure," which is what administration officials routinely claim, sometimes under oath.
But I'm increasingly convinced that 'open borders' is broadly apt and applicable. One reason why is that a large percentage of the massive numbers of people who are detained at the border after unlawfully crossing want to get caught. Many actively seek out border officials to surrender themselves, sometimes in large groups. This is a pretty reliable way to be allowed to stay in America for an indefinite period of time, with US taxpayers frequently footing the bill for final passage (by bus or plane) to a final destination city of illegal immigrants' choosing. The sequence is to get 'encountered,' briefly detained, processed, then released, pending a future court date -- for which many of them never show up. And they're well aware that the Biden administration has changed policies with the explicit purpose of making it harder to deport anyone in the country illegally, including those who are subsequently convicted of various additional crimes. This is, effectively, a form of open borders.
We also know that in a matter of weeks, one of the only effective tools still being used for rapid expulsions of illegal immigrants -- Title 42 removals -- is being ended by the Biden administration. They're extending other legally-dubious government fiats under the guise of an ongoing pandemic 'emergency,' but they're ending this 'emergency' measure. The priorities and standards speak for themselves. Title 42 has been extended before, with previous concerns over a looming expiration deadline forcing a punt, and those concerns remain very much active. With the elections over, more Democrats are saying as much out loud. The rolling disaster will become more disastrous, with an even stronger incentive to enter the United States illegally in place, and even fewer enforcement tools available to officials trying to stem the flow. If your response to these realities is to nitpick about whether this situation technically constitutes 'open borders,' you're avoiding the issue. And on the rhetorical game scorecard, there's also this factor to bear in mind:
NEW: Per multiple CBP sources, there were at least 73,000 known gotaways at the border in the month of November, representing a daily average of at least 2,400 illegal immigrants slipping past Border Patrol.— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) December 1, 2022
There have been at least 137,000 known gotaways since 10/1. @FoxNews
More than 2,400 every single day. For a full month. The 'known got-aways' number was an astronomical 64,000-plus in October, a record. It got far worse in November. And Title 42 is slated for the chopping block in late December. We know that among the apprehended masses, hardened criminals, cartel and gang members, and suspected terrorists are stopped every month. Since the start of the fiscal year on October 1, roughly 135,000 illegal immigrants have gotten away. These people were detected by cameras, censors, or officers, but US enforcement was too overwhelmed to stop them, due to a lack of personnel and resources. As Bill Melugin also notes, "a majority of [border patrol] agents in busiest sectors have been pulled off front line patrol to instead process large groups." They're off the front lines doing paperwork. We learned in recent days that other federal officers have been diverted from their duties to do the same. How many national security or public safety threats are among those who aren't caught, and take pains to avoid detection? On and on it goes:
Over 105,000 illegal crossings in the El Paso sector in just two months, including nearly 2,000 in last 24 hours alone. Up 257% over same time last year.— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) November 30, 2022
And this is with Title 42 still in place.
Buckle up for when it drops in 3 weeks. https://t.co/dPgRkHACYD
KJP to Doocy on whether Biden will go to the border w/@GOPLeader: "He's been there. He's been to the border & since he took office--"— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) November 30, 2022
Doocy: "When did he go to the border?"
KJP: "--since he took office, the President...has been taking action to fix our immigration issue." pic.twitter.com/b0EEQP47Nz
Joe Biden has not visited the border as president. He did not visit the border over his eight years as vice president. The best the White House could come up with in terms of spin was to point out that he once drove near the border 14 years ago.