Welcome to the United States of Mayorkas
From the moment Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed as secretary of Homeland Security in February 2021, the humanitarian emergency now wracking America’s southern border was inevitable.
This is not one of those chin-tugging cases of “the law of unintended consequences,” in which well-meaning officials are undone by the unforeseen effects of their best efforts. On the contrary: Secretary Mayorkas is an open borders zealot. What the rest of the country calls a disaster, Mayorkas considers as a job well done.
In 2020, under President Trump’s comparatively hawkish immigration and border policies, the United States saw the fewest illegal border crossings in four decades, 53 percent fewer than the year before. But Mayorkas and President Biden began rolling back those policies as soon as they took office.
In less than a year, the Mayorkas DHS has revoked the “public charge rule,” which allowed DHS agents to deny entry to foreigners likely to become dependent on government welfare; quadrupled the number of refugees the U.S. will take in; announced an end to Trump’s policy of expelling unaccompanied minors trying to cross the border; halted construction of the border wall; rescinded the “Remain in Mexico” policy negotiated between the Trump Administration and the Mexican government, whereby asylum seekers trying to enter the U.S. from Mexico had to stay there until their cases got resolved; allowed U.S. arrests at the Mexican border to sink to an eight-month low in October; and announced a halt to raids on businesses employing illegal aliens, giving them carte blanche to ignore U.S. employment law.
These actions, combined with President Biden’s open borders rhetoric, encouraged would-be illegal immigrants to try their luck in 2021. That is certainly the message drug cartels and migrant-smuggling “coyotes” have taken to the people of Central America: Trump is gone, and Biden will let you in.
The results have proven disastrous.
In February—President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas’s very first full month in office—apprehensions of illegal border-crossers jumped 28 percent to 100,000. The numbers kept surging month after month, even in the summer, when crossings traditionally dip due to the oppressive heat. By the end of the federal fiscal year in September, agents had apprehended 1.7 million illegal aliens, an all-time record. Many were released into the interior of the country, awaiting court appearances that few will bother to attend.
Secretary Mayorkas’s decisions have enriched Mexican cartels and smugglers, who’ve turned the effectively open border into a cash cow. The illegal journey north can cost migrants $11,000 or more, on average. In total, officials estimate that cartels are reaping hundreds of millions of dollars annually from effectively extorting these smuggling operations, forcing migrants and coyotes to pay for safe passage.
In fact, these extortionate fees have prompted some migrants to band together in caravans, figuring that the cartels won’t attack such a large group, even if its members don’t pay for protection.
It’s a risky gamble. Those who fall behind their caravans are often abandoned and left for dead. Many drown in the Rio Grande trying to cross. Women and children are routinely sexually assaulted.
On our side of the border, the humanitarian emergency continues to worsen. Processing centers designed to accommodate hundreds of people are crammed with thousands, environments ripe for abuse and Covid outbreaks. Ironically, officials have temporarily held unaccompanied children in pens while they sorted out relief logistics—the exact same practice that spawned accusations of “kids in cages” under the previous administration.
The strategy Mayorkas is pursuing with President Biden’s blessing is very simple: The more Trump border policies he rescinds, the more migrants will come, the more the system will be overrun, and the more illegal immigrants Border Patrol will have to release.
That, in turn, means more cheap workers for big corporations, which have increasingly favored Democrats in recent years. It’s no coincidence that real wages—which jumped by the most in decades during the four years of immigration restrictions under President Trump—actually declined 2.4 percent in December 2021 compared to the prior year, according to the latest data available.
And if a Democratic Congress eventually gives amnesty to these migrants, it’ll undoubtedly mean more reliable voters for the party. Some are asking what the Biden administration’s plan is to fix the border crisis. They’re missing the point. The border crisis is the plan.
James Berger is the owner and manager of Histo Techniques, LTD and a resident of Powell, Ohio.