IN-DEPTH: Government Policies Can Stimulate or Stop Illegal Immigration, Experts Say

Potential illegal immigrants watch U.S. policy changes and will not risk embarking on a dangerous and expensive trip if they will not be able to stay in the United States or be detained and deported, experts say.

Policies that allow migrants to cross the border and stay long term inside the United States will encourage them to undertake a hazardous journey, even if it makes them indebted to smugglers, said Todd Bensman, senior national security fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.

During the week leading up to the end of Title 42, Bensman was filming migrants illegally crossing the border in Matamoros, Mexico, over the Rio Grande River into Brownsville, Texas.

It was probably the hottest of the red hot zones along the border, with thousands and thousands of Venezuelans crossing with no resistance or opposition on the U.S. side, Bensman said in an interview for EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program.

He recorded footage of huge groups of migrants swimming across the Rio Grande and going right over the razor wire fence into the United States unimpeded, where they were processed.

End of Title 42

Title 42 was a Trump-era public health policy that allowed the United States to deny entry to migrants trying to enter the country illegally on the grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19. The policy expired just before midnight on May 11.

Before Title 42 ended, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott deployed the Texas Department of Public Safety and a special Tactical Border Force of the National Guard in the area to stay there day and night, Bensman said.

Armed with pepper balls and pepper ball guns, the soldiers were positioned along the razor wire fence and effectively prevented migrants from entering the country, Bensman said.

Migrants tried several times to cross using different tactics, but the outcome was always the same–they were unable to get in, so they had no choice but to “turn around and swim back to Mexico,” he added.

According to Bensman, since the deployment of the Texas special forces and even during the day after the end of Title 42, the border area around Brownsville was “dead quiet,” but he heard that the migrants were going to move to another area on the border and try to cross there.

“In the two and a half years that I have been watching this, recording and documenting this mass migration crisis … I have never seen immigrants turned away,” Bensman said. “They are always red carpeted.”

“But in this case, it took the Texas state government to shut this thing down,” he said.

The special border forces were also deployed to “hotspots all along the border to help intercept and repel large groups of migrants trying to enter Texas illegally,” the governor’s office said.

How to Stop Illegal Immigration

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

While admitting that the action taken by the Texas governor against illegal immigrants was effective, Bensman called this response “crude and brutish.”

“Even though it works, it’s unnecessary,” Bensman said.

Instead, policies that would remove the “entry and stay benefit” for illegal immigrants should be implemented to stop illegal border crossing, Bensman explained.

Any policy that makes entry into the country unlikely—and long-term stay in the country even more unlikely—is going to keep the potential immigrants home, he said.

“They won’t come on the journey if they know that the $10,000 in smuggling fee that they have to beg, borrow, or indenture themselves for, is going to come to naught,” Bensman explained.

The immigrants come when they know they will be able to stay in the United States, and they will not come when they know their money will be wasted, he added.

He complimented former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy as being incredibly effective. The policy directed illegal immigrants and some asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico while awaiting their U.S. court dates.

If potential immigrants know that they are going to have to wait in Mexico, or that Mexico or Costa Rica will deport them at their own southern borders, they are not going to come, Bensman said.

“They want to wait inside the United States so they can disappear,” he said. “Nobody is coming for the great Mexican dream.”

In an interview for EpochTV’s “Crossroads” program, border expert and war correspondent Michael Yon said that it’s “absolute nonsense” to say that illegal immigration can’t be stopped.

“It can definitely be stopped, or at least it can be cranked down to like, 1 percent,” he said.

The “Remain in Mexico” policy was suspended by President Joe Biden the day after taking office and officially terminated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in June 2021.

US Immigration Centers in Latin America

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington on May 11, 2023. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

On April 11, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas visited the Darien Gap in Panama, an immigration route taken by migrants from Latin America heading north to the United States, where he announced a deal with Panama and Colombia.

The Darien Gap is a region that spans the Colombia–Panama border where many migrants start their journey to North America through the roadless jungle, exposing themselves to danger from natural hazards and hostile groups controlling the region.

The trilateral deal aims to stop the transfer of immigrants through the Darien Gap to prevent their exploitation by smugglers, open new lawful pathways for tens of thousands of migrants and refugees, and launch a plan to reduce poverty and create jobs in communities on the Panama–Colombia border partnering with international organizations and private sector, Mayorkas said.

During another visit to Panama at the end of April, Mayorkas announced the creation of regional immigration centers in Colombia and Guatemala to process immigrants, the State Department said.

Potential immigrants will be interviewed at these centers before traveling to the United States and, if approved, will “be processed rapidly for lawful pathways to the United States, Canada, and Spain,” the statement said.

Mayorkas said at a press conference in Panama during his visit that in order to screen immigrants “very quickly,” the staff of the regional immigration centers would be surged to work with two international organizations, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The IOM is part of the U.N. system as the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration. The UNHCR is the United Nations agency for refugees.

Both organizations operate aid stations all along the immigration trails in South America and Central America that provide various services and supplies, including some financial support to refugees and immigrants on their journey to North America, Bensman told The Epoch Times in an earlier interview.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the same press conference that the United States accepted six times more refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean in 2022 than during the previous year and planned to “more than double” the number in 2023.

Yon, who reports on the ground about illegal immigration at the U.S. southern border and the Darien Gap, said he believes these new measures are preparations for flying illegal immigrants “directly from places like Colombia, and Guatemala, straight to the United States.”

Also, Yon said that he monitors the situation in the Darien Gap very closely and observes that the flow of immigrants in the region had been increasing despite Mayorkas’ announcement that it would be stopped.

The Epoch Times reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment.

Weaponization of Illegal Immigration

‘The bottom line is the border is still open,” Yon said.

In the Darien Gap, the flow of immigrants has not decreased after Title 42 expired, Yon said in an interview from El Paso, Texas.

Texas has been sending buses of illegal aliens to Chicago, Washington, and other cities, but Yon said that it is just “clearing the decks so that more can come through.” This does not stop the illegal immigration, he said.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo Recently arrived asylum seekers get information on free health care in front of P.S. 188 in Coney Island, N.Y., which has recently begun housing migrants in the school gym, on May 16, 2023. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Yon warned that illegal immigration would be weaponized, but not with guns.

“It’s just showing up and taking over the schools, taking over the elections,” Yon said. “But many of the migrants that are coming here, the aliens that are coming here, clearly will be weaponized later, I mean, with real weapons.”

Yon said that he saw weaponized migration when he was reporting in Tibet and when he was covering protests in Hong Kong against the rule of the Chinese Communist Party in 2019.

Amid his ongoing coverage of the protests, Yon was barred from entering Hong Kong and deported in February 2020.

Immigrants React to US Policy Changes

Bensman said that prospective illegal immigrants are constantly monitoring U.S. policy changes and immigration cases in the courts.

“If there’s a change, they’re looking for the way around it,” he said.

The switch in immigration policies from Title 42 to Title 8 was closely watched by immigrants in two camps located on the Mexican side of the border, said Bensman, who visited these camps and talked to immigrants there.

Title 8 allows for the expulsion of illegal immigrants who do not qualify for asylum and bars expelled immigrants from reentry for at least five years.

“They’re looking to see if the Americans are going to let the first brave ones who test it in,” Bensman said.

If the first migrants successfully gain entry and find a loophole allowing them to stay—and Bensman says there are plenty of loopholes—those illegal immigrants will immediately contact others who are waiting in the camps to tell them how it’s done, he said.

It may take it takes a few days or weeks to propagate the message to the camps and immigrant home countries, but eventually, immigrants will surge through the border and swamp processing facilities that have already been operating over capacity, Bensman said.

Jack Phillips and Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link

Running For Office? Conservative Campaign Consulting – Monthly Rates!