The speedy re-opening of mothballed detention facilities and new construction projects along the border show the Biden administration knows exactly what is on the horizon. In a press conference on Monday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas clearly invites illegal border crossers to come to the United States, with one caveat — not now, but soon.
“We are not saying don’t come, we are saying don’t come now because we will be able to deliver a safe and orderly process to them as quickly as possible,” Secretary Mayorkas stated when answering a question related to how long it might take to rebuild the United States’ immigration system.
The re-opening of a facility in South Texas designed to accommodate an influx of unaccompanied migrant children and soft-sided detention facilities in the Texas Rio Grande Valley serve as telling signs of things to come. Primarily, that Secretary Mayorkas understands what the future holds as a result of the administration’s recent actions on border security and messaging. The recent revocations of the Trump administration’s tough measures to deter illegal migration is a clear invite.
It should come as no surprise that DHS’s efforts to “deliver a safe and orderly process” resulted in complete disorder along the U.S. border with Mexico. The situation at the border indicates they are preparing for the onslaught.
According to law enforcement sources, a soft-sided facility to accommodate 500 detainees will be constructed in Eagle Pass, Texas. The project is slated to begin next week. This facility will allow for the processing and temporary detention of asylum seekers that DHS is inviting to come to the United States. The facility is expected to open in April.
In previous years, detention facilities were designed to detain migrants in order to swiftly return them to Mexico or their home country. Existing immigration law affords few migrants to legally qualify for relief under asylum rules.
In light of that, Trump-era policy changes afforded for the speedy return of illegal migrants to await their asylum hearings. Through executive orders, President Joe Biden worked swiftly to undo those policies and agreements.
The detention facilities being re-opened and constructed under this administration are not for the purpose of swift removal. Instead, they are for the purpose of facilitating swift release into the United States. The facilities will only serve as welcoming centers to quickly process illegal migrants entering the United States.
On Monday, trucks delivered construction materials to the re-opened Health and Human Services detention center for minors in Carrizo Springs, Texas. This is a clear signal DHS is continuing to prepare for the inevitable — an onslaught of unaccompanied migrant children. Signage outside the facility clearly spells out the purpose of the facility, “Youth who have traveled to the US alone are being placed in this shelter while case managers find family or sponsors in the US.”
According to senior-level law enforcement sources, Biden-appointed DHS officials in the beltway seemed perturbed when discussing the deportation process. “Why are we deporting anybody?” was the question posed by a new, high-level DHS appointee during a recent meeting. The mood at the highest levels of Customs and Border Protection management and ICE law enforcement officials is sullen. Many are expressing concern for what their field officers will be soon dealing with as a new, self-induced crisis is building.
The migrant’s hope of being allowed to enter the United States and gain release rises with each message from the Biden administration. The messengers, including Secretary Mayorkas, fail to consider the atrocities suffered by the migrants along the entire journey to the United States. They seem numb to the plight of thousands that are abused at the hands of human traffickers and the hundreds that die each year.
The migrants will still have to brave the hazards of an illegal crossing to take advantage of Secretary Mayorkas’s invitation. The border communities will continue to bear the financial burdens of caring for the migrants once released. Community leaders expressed little hope of reimbursement from the federal government. In addition, COVID-19 concerns still abound.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas Sector.