A prominent Christian leader has raised concerns about the Biden administration’s immigration policies, asserting that lax enforcement procedures amount to a “wink and a nod” for cartels and human smugglers.
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, issued a statement in response to the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico Border that has followed the election of President Joe Biden.
He contended that through his “words and actions” encouraging economic migrants to come to the U.S., Biden has “given a haphazard and de facto green light to human traffickers around the world to apply their profane trade on the dreams of the most vulnerable.”
Shortly after taking office, Biden reversed former President Donald Trump’s actions designed to limit the flow of illegal immigration at the southern border, including the “Migrant Protection Protocols,” which required those seeking asylum to wait in Mexico, and Title 42, which enabled border officials to turn back those seeking entry into the country in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now that U.S. immigration enforcement has dramatically changed course, the number of people entering the country at the southern border has exploded.
In February, Customs and Border Control detained 100,441 people, including 71,598 single adults, nearly 9,500 unaccompanied minors, and 19,246 individuals in family units. This marked a 28% increase from January when over 78,000 individuals were detained.
Border detention facilities have far exceeded their capacity to the point where children are sleeping on the floor. According to Rodriguez, “Biden’s wink and nod has come with dire consequences. It is a dream come true for the coyotes, cartels, and human traffickers. The American people and desperate, innocent immigrants are losing — not only their security but often their lives.”
“It’s over time for the Biden administration to work with Congress to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform that will protect our border, and incorporate advanced technology to vet those seeking entrance to our country. In the meantime, the southern border must be secured, now.”
In a previous interview with The Christian Post that took place before Biden took office but after the 2020 presidential election, Pastor Hector Silva, who runs a shelter home in Mexico for refugees seeking to enter the U.S., acknowledged that Biden’s election created a surge in the number of people traveling north: “They are more confident that the government will not send them back. I don’t really know, but that’s what they think.”
“It’s what I’m thinking too. I’m also thinking that they’re going to get an improvement to the way they enter the U.S. There’s going to be lots of change,” he added.
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos brought up this perception held by many seeking to enter the country during an interview with Biden earlier this week. “A lot of the migrants coming in say they’re coming in because you promised to make things better,” he told the president before asking him “was it a mistake not to anticipate this surge?”
The president denied that his words had an impact on the number of people trying to enter the country, pushing back on the idea by asserting that “they’re coming because they know I’m a nice guy and I won’t do what Trump did.”
Biden pointed to previous surges under the Trump administration as proof that his words and policy proposals did not necessarily influence the number of border crossings.
On Tuesday, Vice President Kamala Harris refused to answer a question about the border crisis, maintaining that she “hadn’t been briefed” on the issue.
In the wake of criticism from congressional Republicans, members of the Biden administration have attempted to send a message to migrants seeking to enter the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stressed that “we are saying don’t come now,” although his plea was preceded by an assertion that “we are not saying don’t come” at all. Biden echoed those comments during his interview with Stephanopoulos, telling would-be migrants “don’t come.”
Meanwhile, the House has passed two pieces of legislation that critics describe as amnesties that will only encourage more illegal immigration and do little to stem the situation at the border.
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed the House by a vote of 247-174. The vote on the legislation, which would provide a path to legal status for illegal immigrant farm workers, came down along mostly party lines with all but one Democrat voting in favor and all but 30 Republicans voting against it.
The Dream Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of immigrants age and younger who were brought to the country as children, passed the House by a narrower margin, with all Democrats voting in favor of it and all but nine Republicans opposing the bill. The future of both bills remains uncertain in the Senate, where legislation requires 60 votes to pass.
If signed into law, it would " ... provide conditional permanent resident status for 10 years to a qualifying alien who entered the United States as a minor and (1) is deportable or inadmissible, (2) has deferred enforced departure status or temporary protected status, or (3) is the child of certain classes of nonimmigrants. The bill imposes various qualifying requirements, such as the alien being continuously physically present in the United States since January 1, 2021, passing a background check, and being enrolled in or having completed certain educational programs."
Democrats have a narrow 50-50 majority in the Senate, with the vice president casting the tie-breaking vote, meaning that 10 Senate Republicans would need to support the bills for them to become law.