‘We Are Likely To See Another Crisis at the Border in a Very Short Time’: Center for Immigration Studies

February 17, 2021 Updated: February 17, 2021

Under President Joe Biden’s new immigration policy there will be a border crisis very soon, according to Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that in accordance with Biden’s executive orders, starting Feb. 19 the agency will begin processing people who had been forced to “remain in Mexico” under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). There are approximately 25,000 individuals who continue to have active cases under the MPP.

The MPP was enacted under the Trump administration in 2019. Aliens who arrive in the United States through Mexico may be returned to Mexico and remain there throughout their immigration proceedings. Previously, illegal immigrants were released into the United States to await their cases, many of whom failed to appear in court.

“The biggest concern is that once the Migrant Protection Protocols policy is ended, that’s going to encourage people to come to try to get to the U.S.-Mexico border on the belief that they will be allowed in as long as they say that they fear a return to their home country, or if they bring a child with them,” Vaughan told NTD on Tuesday.

“This is going to send a message to everyone that you will be allowed to enter the United States and remain here for years until you have a court hearing,” she added. “And the other message that has been put out by the Biden administration is that interior enforcement of immigration laws has been all but suspended.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Feb. 8 that the DHS would release new guidelines directing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to shift its focus to those “posing a national security threat.”

ICE officers detain a man
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers detain a man during an operation in Escondido, Calif., on July 8, 2019. (Gregory Bull/AP Photo)

Vaughan recently pointed out that after conversations with ICE officials in the field, Biden’s order “will prevent the arrest and removal of nearly all of ICE’s caseload of criminals—including many aliens who have been convicted of the most serious crimes on the books.”

“So this is really putting up a welcome mat for people to get to the border,” Vaughan said. “And be allowed in and allowed to stay here pretty much indefinitely.”

Vaughan suggested that the initial 25,000 people will be allowed to settle wherever they want in the United States. Eventually, they will be able to receive support services.

“And this is probably the worst possible time to be allowing this kind of influx, not only the first 25,000, but the next 25,000, and who knows how many to follow,” Vaughan added. “Americans are still struggling, and legal immigrants are still struggling because of the pandemic.”

“If experience is any guide, and I think it is in this case, we are likely to see another crisis at the border in a very short time.”

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Deputy National Security Adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall said in a joint statement on Tuesday, “We caution people seeking to immigrate to the United States that our borders are not open, and that this is just the first phase in the administration’s work to reopen access to an orderly asylum process.”

“Once registered, eligible individuals will be provided additional information about where and when to present themselves. Individuals should not approach the border until instructed to do so,” they said.

The MPP program has been criticized by some as “inhumane” or “cruel,” but Vaughan disagreed with this characterization.

“I think that it is more inhumane and more immoral to have a policy that encourages people to turn over their life savings and take a dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico, exposing themselves to cartel controlled criminal smuggling organizations and corrupt public officials, to get to the United States, and put themselves at that risk on the belief that they’re going to be allowed into this country.”

Vaughan pointed out that the solution is to change policies.

“If we change our policies, people will not make this dangerous journey and will stay in their home countries,” she said.

The White House didn’t respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

Jack Phillips contributed to this report.