Even before day one of his administration, President Joe Biden knew he had a problem on his hands.
Caravans began to gather in Central America in December, just a month after the election. As Inauguration Day approached, the Biden team began frantically messaging that migrants “need to understand they’re not going to be able to come into the United States immediately,” as one said.
“There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey,” the senior transition team official told NBC News.
Even realizing the storm that was brewing, there was hatch-battening at the White House. On the day he became president, Biden stopped new enrollments in the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program, which forced asylum-seekers to remain south of the border while their cases were adjudicated.
He would stop enforcing Title 42 — a provision that allowed Customs and Border Protection to expel migrants from the country if shelters were overcrowded due to COVID-19 concerns — on unaccompanied minors. (The administration now seems fazed as to why it has so many unaccompanied minors in detention.)
Finally, Biden followed through on his promise to build “not another foot” of border wall, halting construction of projects that were already paid for by Congress and were well underway.
This meant that wall projects were simply left as they were. If there was a hole left in the fencing in a sensitive area — well, there it was going to stay. Biden is going to break plenty of campaign promises, but you can rest assured “not another foot” won’t be one of them.
In Southern California on Tuesday, Fox News managed to capture exactly what this means — illegal immigrants crossing in sensitive places where there should have been a fence.
Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse and his crew caught it on camera from the San Diego neighborhood of Otay Mesa, where illegal immigrants have been taking advantage of the crossing opportunity.
At roughly 50 seconds into the video, the Fox News crew was able to get footage of someone crossing through a gap in the bollard fencing from the Mexican state of Baja California into our California.
“There’s an illegal immigrant coming into the United States right now, crossing basically between the two fences,” La Jeunesse said.
“That was construction that was supposed to be a fence right there, but President Biden stopped that in January,” he added.
The Fox News correspondent went on to say he was “with two border agents, they’re going to probably pick this guy up momentarily once he clears the secondary fence.”
Part of the problem was the segments of the wall left unfinished by Biden’s stop-work order, however.
“The agents say … this is where these problems begin,” La Jeunesse said. “These holes left in the wall. It’s a huge gap left between the fences.”
And while the problem in Texas has to do with family units and unaccompanied minors, he said, it’s quite a bit different in California.
There, LaJeunesse said, there was “a heavy concentration of single adults.” He went on to say that in the Border Patrol’s El Centro Sector in California, apprehensions of single adults were up 103 percent; in the Yuma Sector, which runs from Arizona into California, apprehensions had risen “up to 300 percent.”
“That means you’re going to have a lot more ‘got-aways,'” he said.
Unlike family units and unaccompanied minors, the Title 42 exemption granted by the Biden administration doesn’t apply to single adults. If they can get through the fence and evade detection, however …
This is a problem that has been highlighted in other places as well. In Nogales, Arizona, Oklahoma GOP Sen. James Lankford showed how ridiculous the stop-work order was — and how dangerous it is now, given the border crisis:
I visited the AZ border yesterday. You can see giant gaps in fence- it’s ridiculous it’s 95% done & won’t be completed. This is a problem created by Biden’s administration–stopping construction weakens effectiveness of the fencing structure and the technology. It makes no sense. pic.twitter.com/aiB2bdOx8r
— Sen. James Lankford (@SenatorLankford) March 15, 2021
While most of the fence was completed, Lankford said in a tweet earlier this month, the stop-work order came “as they were in the process of installing gates. And so you have gaps in the fence like I’m showing you right there behind me.”
“You go for miles and miles and miles where you have solid fence and then you have just giant gaps.”
“When people think about ‘we’re just going to stop construction,’ this is what you get when you stop construction,” the senator continued. In his tweet, he said that “it’s ridiculous it’s 95% done & won’t be completed.”
So, in other words, all that money expended and the wall can’t even provide security, thanks to a symbolic decision by the Biden administration.
In some places, the stop-work order has actually made things worse, according to law enforcement. In Arizona, one sheriff described to The Washington Times how the high-speed roads the Border Patrol would use to traverse the wall were built but the wall remained unfinished.
Thus, Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels said, “We just built roads for the cartels.”
And even if the single adults caught crossing by Fox News are sent back if they’re caught by Border Patrol, one still wonders how much difference it’ll make.
One migrant who was caught, identified as José, was asked whether he’d be trying to cross again, given that he’s unlikely to be prosecuted or detained.
“Oh yeah,” José told Fox News. “For sure.”
Joe Biden knew he had a problem on his hands — one that’s not going to go away for a while. He also had made campaign promises pro-illegal immigration activists expected him to keep, no matter what the costs. We’re finding out now just how steep the cost is.
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