Despite what President Trump’s enemies and detractors would you have believe, the numbers say that the crisis at the border is not only real, but worse than most have imagined.
In an Op Ed Piece in Fox News, responding to the president’s critics who claim “there is no emergency at the border,” former head of the border patrol, Mark Morgan, said, “I agree the current crisis is not the same as it was in the late 1990s: It’s worse!”
Morgan went on to back up his claim with the numbers. “In 2016, as chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, I had a front-row seat for the impact of the ‘catch and release’ policy, which effectively mandated border enforcement agencies release unaccompanied minors and family units into the interior of the United States, notwithstanding they had illegally entered our country.”
Morgan went on to write, “what began in 2014 as phenomenon of an influx of families and children from the northern triangle countries has exponentially grown, resulting in a drastic shift in the demographics of those illegally entering the U.S. The number of Central American migrants exceeded the number of Mexican migrants in four of the past five years, reaching 75 percent of the crossings this fiscal year.”
A Crisis Born of Policies
Morgan continued that it was the policies of previous administrations that got us to the untenable situation we find ourselves in at the border today. “The increases and demographic changes in illegal crossings are direct responses to our broken legal framework being exploited by the cartels and migrants,” Morgan wrote. “The loopholes in our asylum laws, nonsensical judicial precedent, overwhelmed immigration processes and lack of detention space have helped drive what has devolved essentially into an open-border policy. Central American families are incentivized and rewarded to come and illegally enter our border because they know the Department of Homeland Security must release them within 20 days by law and they will be allowed to remain in the U.S. indefinitely while awaiting immigration court proceedings.”
Morgan Picked to Head ICE
Whether President Trump read Morgan’s piece, which was published in March, I cannot say. However, obviously, the president understands that Morgan shares his view of the crisis at the border. On May 5, Trump announced that he had tapped Morgan to be the new director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as part of his broader effort to force federal agencies into a more aggressive crackdown on migrants.
Morgan served as the Border Patrol chief the last three months of the Obama administration, and was previously the head of internal affairs at United States Customs and Border Protection. He will lead the agency that arrests, detains and deports people who are in the United States illegally, after Mr. Trump last month withdrew his previous nominee, Ronald D. Vitiello, saying he wanted the agency to go in a “tougher direction.”
“I am pleased to inform all of those that believe in a strong, fair and sound Immigration Policy that Mark Morgan will be joining the Trump Administration as the head of our hard working men and women of ICE,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet. “Mark is a true believer and American Patriot. He will do a great job!”