Point/Counterpoint: There's no denying our southern border is in crisis

From the column: "Over two years, Biden has released 2 million migrants into the country, few of whom will ever leave, effectively creating his own lawless immigration system."

Monte Wolverton / Cagle Cartoons

Suppose that over a month or two, prices doubled. Would that be a crisis? Would it be a crisis if the number of people out of work doubled? Or the number of drug overdoses doubled, or car crashes, or burglaries?

So, how is it that a doubling — and more — of illegal immigration isn’t a crisis?

Even after two years of unprecedented levels of border-jumping, the Biden administration’s point man on immigration, the not-yet-impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, mulishly refuses to use the word “crisis” to describe the massive jump in illegal immigration that started immediately after the president’s inauguration in January 2021.

From the column: "Different alarmist terms have been used at different times, but the notion of a “border crisis” is almost as old as our nation."

Of course there’s a border crisis.

The number of Border Patrol arrests on the Mexican border ran at 70,000 monthly at the end of President Donald Trump’s administration. That more than doubled to 170,000 in March 2021 because the new president canceled almost all of Trump’s border-control policies — and the numbers have stayed high ever since.


President Barack Obama’s Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson has said that 1,000 border arrests in a single day overwhelms the system and constitutes a “crisis.” That’s almost quaint when you consider that this past February agents arrested nearly 5,000 daily. And when Title 42 — a COVID-related measure that allows Border Patrol to expel border-crossers without a hearing — ends in May, the numbers could double or even triple.

Of course there’s a border crisis.

It’s not just a crisis for the Border Patrol. For instance, the hospital in the border town of Yuma, Arizona, is on the brink of financial collapse because of the cost of uncompensated care to migrants it is required to provide.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is proposing to cut services to New Yorkers because he’s had to spend more than $800 million on border-crossers who’ve made their way to the Big Apple.

A Democratic city councilman in New York complained: “Where is it written that we have to take care of migrants indefinitely and that the taxpayers are on the hook to care for noncitizens?”

Sure sounds like a crisis to me, though the only solution offered by big-city politicians is to slosh more state and federal money their way rather than stopping border jumpers in the first place.

And then there’s the fentanyl crisis, an outgrowth of the border crisis. While most seizures of the poison happen at legal border-crossing points, known as ports of entry, we have no idea how much more of this filth is coming across between the ports of entry, but it’s a lot. Precisely because the Border Patrol is overwhelmed by migrants responding to Biden’s de facto invitation to come, there are frequently whole stretches of the border where no one is watching. Cartels, in fact, use large groups of undocumented migrants as a diversion, ensuring that they can import their venom undisturbed.

The Trump administration faced a similar, if smaller, border crisis in early 2019 but didn’t lie about it. With the end of the so-called family-separation policy, smugglers learned that any border-jumper bringing a kid with him was virtually guaranteed to be let go, so the number of “family units” soared. The DHS responded quickly and decisively, most notably with the Remain in Mexico policy, and the crisis ended.


In contrast, the Biden administration actually caused the current crisis. And to the extent it acknowledges that there’s a “challenge” (but not a crisis!), it identifies the problem merely as one of disorder and chaos. In other words, the number of undocumented immigrants isn’t the problem, just the messy way they’re getting into the country. That’s why the administration has created various unlawful programs to admit foreigners with no right to come here through ports of entry, so they won’t be counted in the arrest statistics — or to just fly them directly into the interior of the country, bypassing the border altogether.

Over two years, Biden has released 2 million migrants into the country, few of whom will ever leave, effectively creating his own lawless immigration system. That means the border crisis is creating not only a spending crisis and a fentanyl crisis but also a brewing constitutional crisis.

Of course there’s a border crisis.

Mark Krikorian is executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (, an anti-immigration think tank in Washington, D.C.

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Mark Krikorian

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