Chaos: America’s immigration fiasco

“There’s a difference between a failure and a fiasco. A failure is simply the non-present of success. Any fool can accomplish failure. But a fiasco, a fiasco is a disaster of mythic proportions.” Elizabethtown -2005

  • Contradicting a common assumption that most of the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States came across the US-Mexico border illegally, almost half of all undocumented immigrants in the United States came into the US legally with a visa, often on fiancée, tourist or education visas, and then overstayed their visa time limit. They became what are simply labeled “overstayers”. A 2017 study by the Center for Migration Studies, a nonpartisan think tank, estimated visa overstays in 2014 accounted for 42 percent of the total undocumented population, or about 4.5 million people. It also projected that overstays made up about two-thirds of the total number of people who became unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. that year. There’s a strong case that, until the recent upsurge in border crossings, visa overstayers accounted for a larger share of the overall total of unauthorized immigrants. Complicating matters, the government doesn’t even compile information on the millions of overstayers, leaving it to others to piece together a snapshot of who they are and where in the U.S. they live.

So much for homeland security.

  • Contrary to assumptions that asylum applications have been going up, until recently asylum applications received by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) were actually down, not up, for the third straight year. Approximately 92,800 affirmative asylum applications were received by (USCIS) in FY 2020, the lowest number in five years, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
  • Whether to count undocumented immigrants in the 2020 census matters. About half of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States in 2018 resided in just three states: California (24 percent), Texas (16 percent), and New York (8 percent). If unauthorized immigrants were excluded from the apportionment count, California, Florida and Texas would each end up with one less congressional seat than they would have been awarded based on population change alone.
  • You may think that once an immigrant makes an asylum claim, action is prompt. Not so. Due to the large application volume and limited resources, both the affirmative and defensive asylum systems have extensive backlogs. As of December 2020, according to USCIS, there were 350,000 affirmative cases pending; the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) reported over 570,000 pending asylum cases. EOIR is a sub-agency of the United States Department of Justice whose chief function is to conduct removal proceedings in immigration courts and adjudicate appeals arising from the proceedings.
  • You may assume that when unaccompanied children are allowed to stay in the United States under Biden’s presidency and are placed with sponsor families, at least those families are in the country legally. Not necessarily. According to UPI, The Biden administration announced on March 12 it was terminating a policy of checking the immigration status of caregivers who come forward to sponsor unaccompanied migrant children because it discouraged caregivers from coming forward to sponsor the children. HHS and the Department of Homeland Security signed an agreement to promote “the safe and timely transfer of children” to sponsors, which the administration said was usually a parent or another close relative who crossed the border before their children.
  • Despite common assumptions that Mexicans and Central Americans are the entire illegal immigration problem. MPI has estimated that of all unauthorized immigrants during 2014-18, about 1.5 million (14 percent) were from Asia; 783,000 (7 percent) from South America; 648,000 (6 percent) from Europe, Canada, or Oceania; 406,000 (4 percent) from the Caribbean; and 230,000 (2 percent) from Africa. In one week of Dec. 2019, U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Del Rio Station in Texas apprehended 56 migrants trying to cross into the United States from African countries, including Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. During FY 2019, Del Rio Sector agents apprehended a total of 1,211 people from 19 African nations. Just a few days ago, a man was sentenced in federal court after three Chinese migrants, including a mother and her 15-year-old son, were found dead in the trunk of the man’s BMW in August 2019 after he crossed into the United States through the San Ysidro Port of Entry. On March 21, 2021, the New York Times reported that a center run by the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition in Del Rio had recorded about 1,325 migrants so far in March, more than three times the number in February, said Tiffany Burrow, its director of operations. About 70 percent of them are Haitians, she said, with many others coming from Africa, “from Ghana down to Angola plus the Congo.”
Litter and bedding covers the floor of the hard-top shipping cargo container used to smuggle Chinese nationals to the United States.
  • In his eagerness to roll back President Trump’s immigration policies, President Biden has exacerbated the problems at the U.S.-Mexico border, creating a massive surge of migrants and numerous economic and security risks.  

What a mess.