Border security experts say Vice President Kamala Harris’s claim that the Trump administration “dismantled” and “broke” America’s immigration system is nothing more than deflection.
“This is an example of what is known in psychology is deflection—blaming others for what you yourself have done,” Andrew Arthur, resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Signal.
During an interview with Spanish-language television outlet Noticias Telemundo published Friday, Harris was asked about the Biden administration’s plan to deal with the expected surge of illegal aliens crossing the southern border when the public health measure known as Title 42 expires May 11. Title 42, invoked during the Trump administration, has allowed the Border Patrol to turn away many migrants at the border.
In the interview, the vice president said:
Under the prior administration, they essentially dismantled the system and broke it, and we have been, since we came in office, attempting to fix it in a number of ways, which includes more [immigration] judges, more personnel, making sure that we secure the border, but that we have also an immigration system that is fair and humane.
The Biden administration will “continue” to promote these immigration priorities, Harris added.
Kamala Harris, as more illegal immigrants cross our border than ever before: "Under the prior administration, they essentially dismantled the system and broke it, and we have been, since we came in office, attempting to fix it" pic.twitter.com/CHy3ftJ16H— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 23, 2023
“It’s the Biden administration that has effectively broken our immigration system,” the Center for Immigration Studies fellow said.
Over 5 million illegal aliens have been encountered at the southern border since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol.
Since fiscal year 2023 began Oct. 1, the division of the Department of Homeland Security has encountered more than 1.2 million illegal aliens at the southern border, a record high. CBP also has seized 13,800 pounds of the drug fentanyl at the U.S.-Mexico border since the start of the fiscal year.
The higher number of encounters with illegal immigrants has led to an increase in asylum claims as well. According to Arthur, over 1.2 million asylum claim cases were pending before the immigration courts at the end of September 2020. Little more than two years later, at the end of December 2022, the number of pending cases was over 1.8 million.
“That problem is actually bigger than it appears on paper,” Arthur said, “because what we know is that under the Biden administration, CBP, primarily Border Patrol agents, have released aliens into the United States without even giving them notices to appear [in immigration court], which are the charging documents that get them into … those removal proceedings.”
Something else is at work here, Simon Hankinson, a senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center, told The Daily Signal, which is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.
“Harris, and the activists in charge of national immigration policy at the White House and DHS, believe that ‘fixing’ the system should result in the almost unlimited acceptance of foreign migrants with no visa and no valid claim to asylum,” Hankinson said.
“Harris is well aware that the ‘more judges, more personnel’ they are adding to the Department of Homeland Security are only there to process illegal aliens into the country while they wait in an asylum process that was backed up five years even before Biden wrecked enforcement,” he said.
Hankinson added that the Biden administration is “putting zero effort into deterring, detaining, and deporting illegal entrants, therefore attracting more and more in a vicious circle.”
During a House Homeland Security Committee hearing held last month in the border town of McAllen, Texas, Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz told lawmakers that DHS doesn’t have operational control of the southern border—despite the fact that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told lawmakers the opposite in April 2022.
Mark Meckler, president of the Convention of States, said Harris is “blatantly lying to the American people about the humanitarian crisis at the border.”
“We are long past the blame game,” Meckler said, adding that “this is a crisis of unspeakable proportions, and states like Texas need to pass laws empowering them to step up and get this done themselves.”
Meckler is helping to organize a border security rally called “How Many More?” and set for Saturday in Austin, Texas.
The rally will feature prominent proponents of border security, including U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas; Mark Morgan, former acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection; and veteran broadcast journalist Lara Logan. Rock guitarist Ted Nugent also is scheduled to perform.
Meckler said that he and other advocates of border security are calling on Texas state lawmakers to act because “this administration has shown itself relatively unwilling to do anything serious on our southern border.”