Democrats Suddenly Realize Open Borders Are a Disaster

The Republican governors of the border states are sending buses full of illegal immigrants — released in their states by the Department of Homeland Security — to DC and New York City, prompting recriminations and pleas for federal money from the Democratic mayors of those once-immigrant-friendly cities.

Those mayors, seemingly without realizing it, are expressing the governors’ point of view: that the administration has created a mess on the US-Mexico border, requiring immediate policy change to protect lives and state finances. and local.

It started in April. Fed up with federal releases of large numbers of immigrants in overwhelmed small towns in his state (including Uvalde), Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) began offering immigrants free bus rides to DC to move part of cargo to Washington.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) did the same in May, and since then, more than 7,300 migrants have arrived in DC from the two states, creating what even Vanity Fair has dubbed “A Migrant Crisis in Washington.” .

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), who reaffirmed her town’s status as a “sanctuary city” for immigrants after the election of Donald Trump in 2016, now derides the efforts of Abbott and Ducey as a “game.” cruel politician” who creates a “humanitarian crisis” in his city that “must be dealt with at the federal level” in a letter to Department of Defense requesting National Guard support (already rejected).

Bowser was complaining about what, at the time, numbered 4,000 immigrants over a three-month period in his city of more than 707,000 people. In March, by comparison, DHS was dropping off up to 150 migrants a day in Uvalde, with a population of 15,312, or about one migrant for every 102 residents per day.

Venezuelan migrants dispatched by Texas Governor Greg Abbott at DC’s Union Station on August 2, 2022.
Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) also weighed in, blamed Texas and Arizona in July for busing 2,800 immigrants to his city (population: 8.467 million) over a six-week period, overwhelming the city’s homeless shelters. Adams also demanded federal cash to help his administration muddle through.

Both governors denied Adams’ accusation, but Abbott apparently saw it as an invitation, since he has just started sending buses to Manhattan as well.

Adams office and The New York Times profiled those migrants in New York as “asylum seekers”, but that is mostly untrue. DHS statistics show that between July 2021 and July 2022, the department cleared fewer than 40,000 “arriving aliens” to apply for asylum in the United States.

A bus of Venezuelan migrants arriving in Washington, DC from Del Rio, Texas, on August 2, 2022.
A bus of Venezuelan migrants arrives in DC from Del Rio, Texas, on August 2.
Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser accused Republican governors of creating a
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser accused Republican governors of creating a “humanitarian crisis” in her city.
Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

During that same period, however, CBP found 2.361 million arrivals at the southwest border, expelled 1.142 million under CDC Pandemic-Related Title 42 Orders (which Biden, however, opposes) and released about 853,000 into the US, meaning only about 5% of the immigrants Adams complains about are actually “asylum seekers.”

All of those immigrants, whether or not they were cleared for asylum, were released for deportation hearings, which can take years to complete. Nationwide, the average immigration case has been pending 829 days and 953 days in New York. The only relief available to most of those illegal immigrants is asylum, so those who show up in court will apply for that protection to stay here longer, even if they just came to make more money.

The New York Times article focused on Venezuelan migrants in New York City. Under Biden, agents on the southwest border have captured 157,600 Venezuelans, 57% of them single adults. Only 1,404 were kicked out under Title 42, meaning most of the rest are here indefinitely.

The Times maintains that the United States cannot send them back to Venezuela, with which the United States has no diplomatic relations, but that assertion belies the fact that, as The Washington Post reported in JanuaryBiden had reached an agreement with Colombia to recover the Venezuelans who had resettled there.

Two million displaced Venezuelans have moved to Colombia, and more than one probably entered illegally. However, it does not appear that DHS returned many or even asked detained Venezuelans where they lived before coming here.

I sympathize with DC and New York City, but have spoken with officials in those much poorer border cities about their struggles to deal with costs. Perhaps now that Democrats are complaining, the administration is finally paying attention.

Andrew Arthur, a former INS associate general counsel, congressional staffer and chief of staff, and immigration judge, is a resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies.

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