The Appalling Silence of Congress On Our Border Crisis

Written by Daniel Horowitz

With the recent surge at the border, our national security is in grave danger. Because of judicial amnesty and catch-and-release, there is nothing to deter gang members, Middle Eastern terrorists, and drug runners from crossing the border, asserting a credible fear of persecution, and then disappearing indefinitely into our population as they “await” an asylum hearing. This was an egregious act of stolen sovereignty by the Obama administration, and despite the rhetoric to the contrary, Trump’s DHS has not fundamentally changed course.

In a sane country where the citizens are a self-governing people, anyone who crosses our border would be thrown out immediately. Yet even those who commit crimes after coming here disappear into our population thanks to catch-and-release, sanctuary cities, and judicial amnesty. The few criminal aliens we wind up deporting take years to go through the process and clog up the administrative courts with bogus asylum cases.

We now face an unimaginable crisis from terrorists, gangs, and fentanyl smugglers who have created a cartel distribution network in this country responsible for killing tens of thousands of people in this country. That will not abate until the administration announces a detention-to-deter policy.

Catch-and-release fuels the border surge and is still continuing   

Thanks to the amnesty and sanctuary magnets, the border surge has increased the backlog for pending cases in immigration court from 212,000 cases at the beginning of fiscal year 2006 to 437,000 by fiscal year 2015. Much of that is driven by phony asylum claims, thanks to an Obama administration policy to parole detained asylum seekers before their removal hearings instead of keeping them detained as the law mandates. There are now 230,000 pending asylum claims, more than six times the number of just four years ago and ten times the number of 2009. Simply put, people who know they will not only be able to stay for a while but will be released from detention will be incentivized to make the trip (and give money to drug cartels in order to cross).

Then, district judges and the Ninth Circuit began mandating bond hearings for many illegals in detention, including for asylum seekers. It took four years for the Supreme Court to finally grant relief from this insanity just two months ago. Alito, writing for the majority, ruled that DHS must follow immigration law. Federal immigration law is unambiguous on those who cross our border illegally, even if they are attempting to litigate themselves into a category of permissible aliens: “[I]n the case of an alien who is an applicant for admission, if the examining immigration officer determines that an alien seeking admission is not clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted, the alien shall be detained for a [removal] proceeding.” [8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(2)(A)]

One would expect that with the federal judges, including Justice Gorsuch and a slew of GOP appointees on the appeals courts, granting all sorts of rights to criminal aliens and sanctuary cities, the administration would pocket this rare victory and immediately detain all those coming over the border. If word got out that this policy was over, it would severely deter border crossings. Yet even after the court victory, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen admitted that release serves as a “pull factor” for increased future illegal immigration, a clear indication that DHS doesn’t appear to be changing the policy despite Trump’s directive. Current law mandates the end of catch and release.

It’s not just hard-working, peaceful migrants crossing the border

The Washington Times reported this week that the number of Bangladeshis and other migrants from terrorist-prone countries crossing our border has surged in recent months. They pay enormous sums of money to the drug cartels, who in turn use those profits to poison our people with fentanyl. As Brandon Judd, president of the Border Patrol Council, told me last week on my podcast, the catch-and-release magnet allows the drug cartels to tie down the border agents with large groups of bogus asylum seekers from Central America, which allows them to sneak in high-value Middle Easterners through the gaps created by the diversion. Sometimes they use these gaps to bring in horses carrying large quantities of drugs.

Aside from the Middle Easterners, the magnets of catch-and-release and sanctuary cities attract gang members who are also drug runners. It’s not lost on the drug cartels that sanctuary cities refused to turn over 142 gang members last year. Drug trafficking is so rampant among MS-13 membership, which grew exponentially after DACA, the border surge, and the rise of sanctuary cities, that some are even conducting drug trades from prison.

A new international survey shows that only 11 percent of those coming from Honduras are fleeing violence. The rest are coming for jobs and to reunite with relatives who themselves came here illegally. They would never make the trip if they knew they’d be immediately deported or at least detained, yet now the drug cartels are using this “market” as the perfect disguise for their drug importation. The original surge in 2013-2014 is what brought in all the deadly drugs and gang members who distribute them.

Now that Gorsuch and others are creating a super-sized due process right for foreign nationals even in the context of an immigration case to fight deportation, it will apply to illegal aliens as well, including gang members and drug smugglers. It will take years to land a conviction rather than simply throwing them out, which is what we used to do. These policies will endanger our country beyond anything threatening us even in the Middle East.

Congress’ appalling silence

The magnets of DACA for “young” illegals, catch-and-release, sanctuary cities, and judicial amnesty are creating mayhem on both sides of the border. More innocent Mexicans are being butchered by the day by the empowered drug cartels. This is the single most important issue for both domestic policy and national security, yet Congress left town on Wednesday this week as if it has no more work to do. To the extent that legislators ever discuss the border and sanctuary issue, it’s only within the context of pouring gasoline on the drug and gang fires by granting more amnesty.

The GOP is going to spend the entire month of May “fighting the opioid crisis” by restricting medicine, getting between patients and doctors, and throwing billions of dollars at unproven programs of special interests, when in fact, the drug crisis is all a border/sanctuary crisis of criminal alien gang and drug cartel members who are only here because of our immigration policies. Yet Congress will completely ignore what it must do on immigration and security and focus solely on prescriptions, when that is not even the problem any more.

We have a detailed list of action items for Congress, but there is no effort to pursue a single one of these items. Republicans will be thrown out of power in November because they act as if they have no power even when they hold it. Ironically, they will learn all the wrong lessons and conclude that they were too tough on the border.

This article originally posted at