During a recent hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Dan Bishop (R–NC) asked Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas, “Do you continue to maintain that the border is secure?” Mayorkas replied, “Yes, and we are working day in and day out to enhance its security.”
Contradicting that claim, objective measures show that the border is less secure than ever, and the situation is putting many thousands of lives at risk.
Federal law requires the Department of Homeland Security to report specific “metrics” to “measure the effectiveness” of border security. One of the most telling of these is “got aways,” or illegal border crossers who the U.S. Border Patrol detects but does not catch. In other words, these are people who evade border security by luck or shrewdness.
In addition to gotaways, there are countless numbers of undetected entries, or people who cross the border without Border Patrol’s knowledge.
The federal government typically reports border security data for each federal fiscal year, which begins and ends three months before the calendar year. The Biden administration has been hiding such data, but federal employees have leaked it to the press.
Contrary to Mayorkas—who was appointed by and serves at the behest of President Biden—gotaways have soared during Biden’s tenure, reaching a record high of 599,000 in 2022. This is 4.7 times the average of 127,000 gotaways per year from before the Biden administration to as far back as data extends:
The danger of gotaways is that they avoid all criminal background checks and safety screenings that visitors and migrants to the U.S. typically undergo. The full implications of this are impossible to determine because most serious violent crimes don’t result in arrests. However, the available facts show the consequences are substantial and lethal.
Providing an inkling for the scale of the carnage, the U.S. Government Accountability Office published a study in 2018 of non-citizens in U.S. prisons and jails during 2010–2016. This study:
- revealed that these non-citizens had been arrested/transferred for the following crimes committed in the U.S. during 1964–2017:
- 505,400 assaults.133,800 sex offenses.33,300 homicides.24,200 kidnappings.
- 1,500 acts of terrorism.
- double-counted some crimes because the “data did not allow” the study to “distinguish between a new arrest and a transfer from one agency to another.”
- did not count some crimes because there “are no reliable population data on all criminal aliens in every U.S. state prison and local jail.”
Again, those figures only include crimes committed by non-citizens who were arrested and were actively serving time in 2010–2016. This is only the tip of the iceberg because:
- the federal government deports an average of more than 100,000 non-citizens per year who were convicted of committing crimes in the United States.
- the Department of Homeland Security estimated in 2010 that about “550,000 criminal aliens convicted of crimes exit law enforcement custody every year.”
- only one person is arrested for every 2.6 aggravated assaults committed in the United States.
- the portion of murders in which a suspect is identified and acted upon by the criminal justice system is only 54%.
- murders committed by racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to be solved than other murders.
Like most government data on crimes committed by immigrants, the study grouped all non-citizens into a single category, including those who entered the U.S. illegally and legally. This means that not all of them jumped the border, but the vast bulk of them did because people who enter the U.S. legally are screened for criminality. Thus, they commit imprisonable crimes at far lower rates than the general public.
On top of the violence directly perpetrated by gotaways, they kill thousands of other people every year by smuggling deadly drugs into the United States. Mexican cartels are the primary source of illicit drugs in the U.S., including fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Such drugs caused about 83,034 accidental overdose deaths in the U.S. during 2021 alone.
A porous border also rewards cartels with profits from drug smuggling and human trafficking. They then use this money to buy weapons and corrupt public officials, causing widespread death and suffering in Mexico.
Although estimates of gotaways only extend back to 2014, the government publishes data on border apprehensions dating to 1960. This provides a rough approximation for the relative scale of illegal entries over time. Per the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Immigration Statistics, the “count of migrant apprehensions serves as a long-standing proxy measure of illegal flows.”
Like gotaways, border apprehensions have reached unprecedented levels under Biden:
Furthermore, the Biden administration has let more than a million of these border crossers into the United States after they were apprehended. Such individuals are commonly admitted because they make meritless claims of asylum, but they never leave the U.S. because deportation laws are rarely enforced. This was the explicit policy of Obama and is also true under Biden.
Furthermore, all border crossers immediately become eligible for a host of government benefits funded by U.S. taxpayers, such as:
- free emergency room visits and childbirths in hospitals.
- annual cash payments for each child they have.
- free childcare and preschool programs.
- free job training, clinic-based healthcare, emergency rent assistance, and emergency food assistance.
- free public education and school meals.
- full citizenship to any children they give birth to in the U.S., entitling them to all federal welfare benefits, such as food stamps, housing, home energy, and health insurance.
Border Crossing Deaths
Another lethal fallout of an insecure border is the hundreds of people who die each year while trying to illegally cross it. These deaths have skyrocketed under Biden, growing from 247 in the last fiscal year of Trump’s presidency to 856 deaths in 2022:
This is another case where the Biden administration is hiding the data but federal employees have leaked it to media outlets.
During a recent trip to Arizona, reporter Peter Doocy of Fox News asked President Biden, “Why go to a border state and not visit the border?” Biden replied, “Because there’s more important things going on. They’re going to invest billions of dollars in a new enterprise.”
Given the far-reaching lethal consequences of the border situation, Biden’s answer reveals a staggering level of ignorance, apathy, and/or malice.
By Jim Agresti