In 2024, will border crisis accelerate or come under control?

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Around financial markets, the conventional wisdom is to “let the trend be your friend.” What happens in the market on one day will also likely occur on the following. Investors, the theory goes, should ride the “trend” until it “bends,” then bail out.

The phrase sums up the southwest border crisis. The invasion continues seamlessly one day after another, and during 2023 ramped up to a record number of migrant crossings with a December seven-day average of more than 9,600, a Homeland Security official told CNN. The record-smashing figure represents the average across the nation’s entire southern border.

In November, total encounters stood at 6,800, meaning that the southern border has seen a month-over-month influx of 3,000 more daily arrivals as migrants continue to pour through the border.

During its 2023 fiscal year (which ran from Oct. 1, 2022 to Sept. 30, 2023) U.S. Customs and Border Protection recorded more than 2.4 million encounters at the southwest border and more than 3.2 million encounters nationwide. During the current fiscal year, 169 individuals on the terrorist watchlist were apprehended attempting to enter the country illegally, and at least 1.7 million known gotaways have evaded apprehension since the 2021 fiscal year. Since President Biden took office, there have been 7.5 million encounters nationwide and 6.2 million encounters at the southwest border, in addition to 1.7 million known gotaways.

Also in the 2023 fiscal year, Border Patrol agents arrested 35,433 aliens with criminal convictions or outstanding warrants, including 598 known gang members, 178 of those being MS-13 members. The agency also seized enough enough fentanyl coming across the Southwest border to kill about six billion people, the House Homeland Security Committee estimated.

The data are included in the committee’s fiscal year-end report titled “Startling Stats,” but it’s findings did nothing to influence the administration to end the invasion. Not only did the illegal alien influx remain steady, it accelerated unabated. If the House’s year-end summary had no effect on the Biden administration’s mismanagement of the border disaster, nothing will. Proof that the border crisis will continue unchecked: in December, Border Patrol processed and released 302,000 aliens. Since the start of the new fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, Border Patrol agents have encountered more than 785,000 aliens at the southern border alone.

As alarming as the raw statistics are, they understate the invasion’s inevitable consequences. Factor in chain migration and the certainty that arriving aliens will either start new families or grow their existing ones, and population growth will continue upward. Citizens who live in high density cities should brace for more overcrowding driven by Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ criminal disregard of federal immigration laws.

A Center for Immigration Studies analysis detailed that the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey showed the total foreign-born or immigrant population, both legal and illegal, was 49.5 million in October 2023 — a 4.5 million increase since Biden’s inauguration and a new record high. At 15 percent, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population is the highest percentage recorded in U.S. history. Since Biden took office, the foreign-born population has grown on average by 137,000 a month, compared to 42,000 a month during Trump’s presidency, and 68,000 a month during President Obama’s two terms.

These unsustainable population increases generate urban sprawl and drain already diminishing natural resources like water and farm acreage.

Creating an equitable immigration system under Biden that benefits citizens and migrants alike is a long shot, but still possible. Congress returns from its winter recess on Jan. 8, and will resume discussions over numerous thorny issues. At the top of the House GOP’s to-do list is, before authorizing funding for Ukraine and Israel wars, to demand that the immigration provisions encompassed in HR-2, which it passed in May, must be included. Key among those provisions is mandatory E-Verify which would end the jobs magnet that lures thousands of foreign nationals to the U.S. with employment expectations and to curb the administration’s parole abuse. Parole is intended for extraordinary circumstances, usually granted to one individual, and not intended to be given out en masse.

HR-2 represents the best chance that legislators have to restore operational control of the border. Otherwise, the invasion will continue until at least January 2025. Based on the latest Border Patrol monthly statistics, without HR-2 another 3 million illegal aliens will cross during the 2025 calendar year.

Copyright 2024 Joe Guzzardi, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Guzzardi is a Project for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Contact him at [email protected].