More than 70 million Americans hope that President Trump can pull off the seemingly impossible, and reverse the November election results. But at the same time, those disappointed voters are preparing for President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. While speculation among 74 million voters is rampant about the pitfalls a Biden presidency will bring, at this hour it’s conjecture. The Georgia January 5 Senate runoff will signal the direction for the next four years.
But with a month remaining before either President Trump or Vice President Biden is inaugurated, one thing is clear: a dramatic Southwest border surge is inevitable. Large migrant groups are forming, and coyotes are prepared to smuggle them into the U.S. Three factors are propelling the latest surge, mostly from Mexico and the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador: COVID-19 and the economic suffering it has wrought, the prospect of a vaccine – likely free to the migrants – that will soon be widely available stateside, and Biden’s oft-promised amnesty that Sen. Kamala Harris and prospective Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have frequently endorsed.
During the summer, border patrol agents reported that they transported illegal aliens with COVID-like symptoms to area hospitals for treatment. In California’s most dire cases, maxed-out hospitals have deployed helicopters to airlift COVID patients in need of treatment to neighboring counties often hundreds of miles away. Imperial County, California, is coping with the most COVID hospitalizations per capita in the state – well over twice the rate of the next highest county. Because its intensive care unit was full, in May the county’s largest hospital, El Centro Regional Medical Center, flew patients to other clinics including some more than 100 miles away in San Diego and Palm Springs, at huge taxpayer expense.
Americans, knowing that once the illegal immigrants penetrate the nation’s porous borders they rarely go home, endorse strict border enforcement and have grown accustomed to, but weary of, surges. During President Obama’s two terms, in all but the most extraordinary cases, interior enforcement was nonexistent. With Mayorkas the likely DHS secretary, a return to those Obama-era days is probable. In 2014, Mayorkas told the National Border Patrol Council, “We should not place someone in deportation proceedings, when the courts already have a 3-6-year backlog.”
One of the world’s foremost population experts, Joseph Chamie, the former United Nations Population Director, predicted that COVID will intensify the urge to migrate to wealthy countries, fewer U.S. remittances will be sent home during a locked-down U.S. economy, and also because of global food insecurity, a huge migration spike is inevitable, mostly to Western nations. Chamie wrote that remittances, which provide an essential lifeline for about 800 million people, or one in nine worldwide, are expected to drop by as much as 20 percent by year-end 2020.
The migratory trend is already well-underway. Asylum claims have increased four-fold over levels reached ten years ago. Between 2008 and 2018, the numbers of new asylum requests jumped six-fold in the U.S., seven-fold in Germany and 12-fold in Spain. The U.S. has been dismally ineffective at curbing fraudulent asylum petitions.
Even advocates aligned with Biden’s expansionist immigration agenda caution him against going all-in too soon. The transition team urged Biden to balance his campaign promises with the reality of coping with an unchecked border surge.
Migration Policy Institute President Andrew Selee, whose organization supports higher immigration levels, told CNN, “You don’t want a surge to happen before you’re ready to handle it.” Selee added that the Biden administration would have to rely on one of the asylum policies it most hates and strongly disagrees with – the so-called remain in Mexico program – to eventually “get a long-term fix.” A former DHS official agreed with Selee’s concern: “You have to have a pressure valve in place before you start unwinding down these policies or you’ll allow a crisis to generate.”
Biden’s immigration proposals that include amnesty, along with significant annual intake increases in asylees and refugees, will have a dramatic, adverse effect on total U.S. population already estimated to reach more than 400 million from today’s 330 million by mid-century, a 20 percent increase. The immigration-driven population surge that’s already in progress and that Biden plans to accelerate will crush many millions of Americans who are barely scratching along. If installed in the White House, Biden’s responsibility is to slow, not hasten, the surge.