The U.S. government is holding 80,000 migrants in custody, says Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.
“The situation is both a humanitarian and border security crisis that has become a national emergency,” McAleenan said in a telephone press conference on Thursday night. He described the inflow of migrants:
U.S. immigration authorities now have over 80,000 people in custody, a record level that is beyond sustainable capacity with current resources. Over 7,500 single adults are in custody at the border and Immigration and Customs Enforcement is holding over 50,000.
… Over 2,350 unaccompanied children — the highest level ever — are currently in custody waiting for days for placements in border stations that cannot provide appropriate conditions for them because Health and Human Services is out of bed space and Congress has failed to act on the administration’s emergency supplemental request for more than four weeks.
The detained population of 80,000 migrants is roughly twice the number which Democrats wanted to fund during the lengthy negotiations over 2019 funding.
But the 80,000 population is a small share of the overall inflow, which experts say could reach 800,000 in the 12 months up to October. Most migrants are quickly released to take jobs in U.S. blue-collar worksites, or places in schools for the children of non-elite parents.
The rush for America has been triggered by the migrants’ recognition that Congress is not trying to stop them from overwhelming U.S. border defenses. For example, Congress has rejected President Donald Trump’s repeated request to fix that Flores loophole, which allows migrants with children to be released even without starting the expected asylum request-and-denial, catch-and-release process.
“At any given moment, up to 100,000 migrants are transiting Mexico on their way to the U.S. border,” McAleenan said. “Over 75,000 families have already transited Mexico to the U.S. border this month alone [because they are] incentivized to come now by the smuggling organizations’ advertisements and the fact that families cannot be detained in custody during their immigration proceedings.”
The migration is good business for Mexico. For example, a report by Rand Corp. says the cartels earned up to $2.3 billion from the labor-trafficking business in 2017, alongside earnings from the complementary narcotics smuggling business.
The smuggling is also good for U.S. employers and investors.
The migration means that employers get an extra supply of tough, compliant, low-wage workers just as labor shortages are forcing companies to boost pay for Americans. The extra labor supply also reduces employers’ incentive to hire from the population of 12 million unemployed or underemployed Americans, some of whom are sidelined by disability, underinvestment in rural areas, or by drugs.
U.S. border agencies say they provided work permits to 462,00 migrants in 2017 and 363,000 migrants in 2018. The agencies declined to give details or to say how long the work permits last.
McAleenan declined to mention the workplace impact of the migrants but instead expressed much concern about the health of the migrants:
Most urgently, children are being put in danger daily as transnational criminal organizations smuggle unprecedented numbers of families and children across our borders …
Four hundred children arrived in the last 24 hours alone. Four of those children this month have died transiting through Mexico into the United States — two drowning in a river, both a five-year-old and ten-month-old; and two teenage boys died of infections after receiving medical treatment in federal custody.
We are seeing increasing cases of adults fraudulently presenting with children that are not their own — over 4,000 this year. As one man whose own children had migrated to the U.S. this year told me yesterday while was I was in Guatemala, “A child is like a passport for migration.”
Let me clear, the current situation is risking the lives of children every day.
The establishment media share McAleenan’s focus. For example, the front page of the Washington Post‘s May 31 paper edition is dominated by a story reporting that officials are failing to met legal deadlines for transferring migrant youths and children to shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services:
MCALLEN, Tex. — Many of the nearly 2,000 unaccompanied migrant children being held in overcrowded U.S. Border Patrol facilities have been there beyond legally allowed time limits, including some who are 12 or younger, according to new government data obtained by The Washington Post.
Many of the migrant children are being delivered by coyotes to the border agencies, who are expected to complete the contract by relaying the children to their illegal-immigrant parents living in the United States. Many families migrate to the United States in stages, so allowing the father and young men to earn the funds needed to smuggle and transport the women and children. The Washington Post ignored the orchestration and the coyotes’ handover of children to the border agencies as it described some youths caught are the border were traveling “alone”:
Among the group were five children who had traveled alone, including a 10-year-old boy from Honduras who was wearing an adult’s oversize sweatshirt. He was trying to get to his mother in Lafayette, La., he said, producing from his pocket a folded piece of paper with her phone number on it.
A thin, bleary-eyed 10-year-old from Honduras said she was en route to reunite with her father in Ohio, but she was not sure where. A 16-year-old Guatemalan in rectangular glasses said he was heading to Florida. And a 17-year-old Honduran said he hoped to reach his brother in Houston.
Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university.
But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants and refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers — including roughly one million H-1B workers — and approximately 500,000 blue-collar visa workers.
The government also prints out more than one million work permits for foreigners, tolerates about eight million illegal workers, and does not punish companies for employing the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants who sneak across the border or overstay their legal visas each year.
This policy of inflating the labor supply boosts economic growth for investors because it ensures that employers do not have to compete for American workers by offering higher wages and better working conditions.
This policy of flooding the market with cheap, foreign, white-collar graduates and blue-collar labor also shifts enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors, even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, and hurts children’s schools and college educations. It also pushes Americans away from high-tech careers and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions. The labor policy also moves business investment and wealth from the heartland to the coastal cities, explodes rents and housing costs, shrivels real estate values in the Midwest, and rewards investors for creating low-tech, labor-intensive workplaces.