'Backdoor Deal' Allows 'Illegal' Immigrants to Enter US Legally, Border Patrol Union Leader Says

'Backdoor Deal' Allows 'Illegal' Immigrants to Enter US Legally, Border Patrol Union Leader Says
Illegal immigrants prepare to be transported by bus to Border Patrol processing facilities in Yuma, Ariz., on May 18, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Brad Jones

Illegal immigrants are being coached to voluntarily withdraw their asylum claims, return to Mexico, and then seek to enter the United States on humanitarian grounds, according to a U.S. Border Patrol union leader.

Manny Bayon, a National Border Patrol Council union spokesman in San Diego, told The Epoch Times on May 26 that migrants who enter the United States illegally in Yuma, Arizona, are being bused to the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry in San Diego County. From there, they're returned to Mexico but are allowed to reenter the United States by applying for “humanitarian parole” via the “CBP One” mobile phone app, he said.

“It’s a backdoor deal,” he said. “The minute they go into Mexico, they turn around at the port of entry, and they’re CBP One.”

Contrary to the Biden administration’s claim that it has implemented more stringent policies—with the expiration of Title 42 and return of Title 8—to deter illegal immigration, the new CBP One process is “circumventing everything,” according to Bayon.

Under CBP One, illegal immigrants are encouraged to abandon their asylum claims and instead apply for “humanitarian parole,” he said.

“So, it makes it look like they’re entering legally,” Bayon said. “Normally, they would go back to their country, but they just turn around and come in through the port of entry, and then [they] are processed that way.”

Migrants cross the Tijuana River toward the U.S. border in Tijuana, Mexico, on May 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Migrants cross the Tijuana River toward the U.S. border in Tijuana, Mexico, on May 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

While it appears that “illegal entrant migrants” are being deported to Mexico, they're actually withdrawing their asylum claims, going to Mexico, and then coming back into the United States legally through CBP One, he said.

“It’s pretty much a revolving door,” in which the illegal entrants are granted humanitarian parole and “allowed into the country legally,” according to Bayon.

“Now, they’re legally being processed through the port of entry instead of under Title 8, which would be illegally entering the United States,” he said.

Under Title 8, people who cross the border illegally can be “expeditiously removed” and banned from entering the United States for five years. Those who claim asylum by claiming “credible fear” can either be denied entry or released pending a court hearing. However, only 1 in 10 illegal immigrants show up for their final hearings to determine whether they can remain in the country, and immigration courts are backed up for years.

Entering the country on humanitarian grounds means the illegal immigrants are issued a permit, usually for up to two years before the pass comes up for renewal, according to Bayon.

A section of the U.S. border wall sits open in San Diego on May 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
A section of the U.S. border wall sits open in San Diego on May 11, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Despite an anticipated rush of tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to the border when Title 42 restrictions were lifted after three years on May 11, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported a sudden drop in the number of encounters along the southern border.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told news reporters that the numbers had dropped by 50 percent to 6,300 border encounters on May 12 and 4,200 on May 13, down from more than 10,000 earlier that week.

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, there were 526,901 total Border Patrol enforcement actions in the 2017 fiscal year (Oct. 1 to Sept. 30) compared to 2,766,582 last year, and 1,816,958 so far in 2023.

Numbers ‘Fudged’

The sudden drop isn’t because fewer migrants are entering the United States but because they're technically not crossing illegally under CBP One, according to Bayon.

“The numbers are being fudged,” he said. “And, if they’re doing this, that’s not being very truthful to the American public.”

For more than two years, under the Biden administration, people who entered the United States illegally in Arizona under asylum claims have been bused to interior Border Patrol stations such as Indio, Blythe, and Murrieta in California’s Riverside County. From there, they've been released daily by the busloads to nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs. But the flow of illegal immigrants to those inland facilities has “dried up” in the last week, according to Bayon.

He questioned why illegal immigrants who surrendered to Border Patrol in Arizona have suddenly been rerouted to U.S. ports of entry in San Diego County.

“That’s fishy,” Bayon said. “It’s like somebody flipped the switch.”

When pressed about who specifically advised illegal immigrants to abandon their asylum claims and apply for humanitarian parole under CBP One, he said, “That’s a good question,” but in general, “the government is doing this.”

Bayon said he asked CBP why the buses had stopped going to Murrieta from Yuma and was told that the order came from higher up.

“They said it’s higher than us. That’s headquarters, so anything above headquarters is probably the Biden administration,” he said.

Mayorkas Under Fire

On March 28, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) grilled Mayorkas, calling the CBP One app a “concierge service” and “Ticketmaster” for illegal immigration.

“So rather than building a wall, Mr. Secretary, you have built Ticketmaster for illegal immigrants,” Hawley said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing during which he called for Mayorkas to resign.

Mayorkas denied the allegations and said Hawley had “mischaracterized” the intent of the program.

Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), have since called for Mayorkas to step down.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection launched CBP One on Oct. 28, 2020—just days before the presidential election. But over the past two years, the agency has expanded the use of the mobile app, “making it the only way certain migrants seeking entry into the United States can submit information to CBP prior to their arrival,” according to the American Immigration Council.

About a month ago, the Biden administration granted preferred status to Cubans, Haitians, Venezuelans, and Nicaraguans trying to enter the United States. These people no longer have to claim asylum but are permitted entry on “humanitarian” grounds, Bayon said.

Expanded CBP One App

Todd Bensman, a senior fellow on national security at the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and author of “Overrun: How Joe Biden unleashed the Greatest Border Crisis in U.S. History,” told The Epoch Times that people familiar with the situation have told him that immigration officials are persuading illegal immigrants to “voluntarily withdraw” their asylum claims without getting a black mark on their records, return to Mexico, and then come back to the United States with humanitarian parole permits under the expanded CBP One app.

Bensman, who worked as a journalist for 23 years and covered border and illegal immigration issues extensively before joining the CIS think tank, said the Biden administration has turned the Border Patrol into a “welcoming committee” for illegal immigrants.

He dismissed the notion that migrants are risking their lives to come to the United States based on “disinformation” from cartels, as Mayorkas claims.

The migrants don’t base their decisions on what the cartels say, but only on information they get from other migrants they trust who have successfully made it into the United States, according to Bensman.

“That’s it,” he said. “When the administration says the border is closed and everybody is getting turned back, they check to see if the people are actually getting turned back or if they’re being released onto the buses, and then they’re like, ‘They’re lying. Let’s go!’”

In one video taken a few days after Title 42's expiration at the Matamoros, Mexico, to Brownsville, Texas, border crossing, Bensman asked several people from different countries going through the port of entry how they were getting in legally, and most nodded yes when he asked if they used the CBP One app.

Bad Optics

Just before Title 42 expired, as migrants amassed to rush the border and news reporters arrived at the border near the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the Biden administration dodged the national media spotlight by rapidly releasing thousands of illegal immigrants in the San Diego area alone.

“Somebody in the administration—the White House administration—sent the message over to headquarters, DHS, and CBP in Washington, D.C., and they said we need to get those bodies out of there. They’re giving us bad publicity,” Bayon said.

CBP officials called out to San Diego and ordered Border Patrol agents to move the “illegal entrant aliens” out of sight and out of mind, he said.

“They sent buses, vans, and in a few hours they had all those people taken out of that area,” Bayon said.

Most of the people were taken to detention centers in San Ysidro and Otay Mesa.

“But, once they were in custody, we were so overwhelmed that they decided to send illegal entrant aliens to El Paso, Texas,” Bayon said. “They sent 2,500 to El Paso.”

In an aerial view, illegal immigrants line up to be processed to make asylum claims at a makeshift camp in El Paso, Texas, on May 11, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)
In an aerial view, illegal immigrants line up to be processed to make asylum claims at a makeshift camp in El Paso, Texas, on May 11, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)

When the media caught wind that the illegal immigrants were being flown to Texas, they moved news crews to the San Diego airport, but when a bus driver saw the cameras, he turned around and the rest of the buses were sent to the “back executive lot” of the airport normally reserved for overnight mail services such as FedEx, DHL, UPS, and the military, according to Bayon.

On May 11, hundreds more illegal immigrants were released to NGOs in San Diego, he said.

Last week, another 300 migrants crossed illegally into the United States at Imperial Beach, about a quarter-mile west of the San Ysidro port of entry. They were detected on infrared cameras entering through a hole in the fencing Mexican drug cartels had carved out, according to Bayon.

“Within an hour-and-a-half, there were buses down there and vans to get the illegal entrant aliens out,” he said.