New Mayorkas memo effectively opens the border

How does one deal with a border surge now that last week's Haitian migrant surge in Del Rio, Texas has triggered a chain reaction of 60,000 new illegal migrants beginning the trek from South America to the U.S. border?

For Homeland Security secretary Alex Mayorkas, it's open the border.  Here's his memo, released yesterday:

WASHINGTON — Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced new Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law to better focus the Department's resources on the apprehension and removal of noncitizens who are a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security and advance the interests of justice by ensuring a case-by-case assessment of whether an individual poses a threat.  In the last six months, Secretary Mayorkas held multiple engagements with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) workforce and leadership across the country, as well as with a range of stakeholders including law enforcement, civic, and community leaders to inform the new guidance.   

"For the first time, our guidelines will, in the pursuit of public safety, require an assessment of the individual and take into account the totality of the facts and circumstances," said Secretary Mayorkas.  "In exercising this discretion, we are guided by the  knowledge that there are individuals in our country who have been here for generations and contributed to our country's well-being, including those who have been on the frontline in the battle against COVID, lead congregations of faith, and teach our children. As we strive to provide them with a path to status, we will not work in conflict by spending resources seeking to remove those who do not pose a threat and, in fact, make our Nation stronger."  

Enforcement priorities for apprehension and removal remain focused on noncitizens who are a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security.  But the guidelines are a break from a categorical approach to enforcement.  They require an assessment of the individual and the totality of the facts and circumstances to ensure resources are focused most effectively on those who pose a threat.  

This sounds like some kind of reaction to events.  Mayorkas says he's now expecting 400,000 illegal border-crossers in October, a doubling of what was seen last month:

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas reportedly asked his officials whether the department was ready to handle the possibility of up to 400,000 migrants, nearly double the 21-year high seen in July, crossing the border in October.

The Mayorkas memo supersedes the previous enforcement priorities, created by acting ICE director Tae Johnson, in February, which were strikingly weak in themselves (footnotes edited out for clarity):

Effective immediately, the Johnson memo instructs ICE to prioritize people in the following three categories for ICE enforcement-related activities6 and removal :

● Those whom ICE claims are involved in spying or terrorism, or otherwise considers threats to "national security."

● Anyone who entered the United States unlawfully, or attempted to enter unlawfully at a port of entry, on or after November 1, 2020, or was not physically present before November 1, 2020.

● Anyone whom ICE claims poses a threat to public safety AND meets at least one of the below criteria: ○ Has an "aggravated felony" conviction, or Has a conviction where "active participation in a criminal street gang" is an element of the offense, or ○ Is at least 16 years old and "intentionally participated in an organized criminal gang or transnational criminal organization" to further its illegal activities.

So what's eliminated with the new Mayorkas memo, which he was supposed to get out 90 days after the February Johnson memo, but didn't, are recent illegal border crossings — those of the economic migrants who have been incentivized to enter the U.S. at Joe Biden's invitation, as well as obvious gang members who haven't gotten full vetting and evaluation by officials.  Those crossers are now off the enforcement priority list, and if they cross here illegally, they will be permitted to stay.

Anyone who's an economic migrant looking for a job can come in now.  There won't be any more instant deportations on COVID or even recent-crosser grounds.  No need for the family thing anymore, no need to travel in families or send a child in alone; you can be a single, military-aged young man traveling alone, and you can break into the U.S. and still find yourself at the bottom of the enforcement priority list.  A deportation won't happen.

What's more, Mayorkas says every migrant they apprehend, assuming they will do that at all, needs to be fully vetted and background-checked for terrorist, espionage, and criminal proclivities before becoming a priority for deportation.  Good luck with that.

With 60,000 illegal migrants set to roll in at once and 400,000 from all over in October alone, does anyone think Mayorkas's Department of Homeland Security is going to have the manpower or resources to check each and every one of the 60,000 incoming migrants to assess the "totality" of their "circumstances"?  Many of these economic migrants do not even have identification, the Haitians among them having discarded their Brazil-issued and Chile-issued ID cards indicating that they had been previously resettled refugees and therefore were ineligible for asylum.  Good luck vetting those.  Where are they going to get the manpower, let alone the will to do it?

And the bureaucratic device of demanding a paperwork-filled, time-consuming full vetting for each individual is just so...precious.  Apparently, a small vetting check won't do to get an illegal border-crosser deported; a full check is now the only way to get anyone into the pipeline for deportation at all.  And with each deportation listed as to be done on a "case by case" basis, you can bet that the subjectivity of these deportations will loom large and be highly dependent on how the television camera coverage goes.

There's also the matter of gangs and gang members who don't have gang tats as identifiers — does anyone think criminal intelligence databases on that are going to be thoroughly used on those people?  Mayorkas's order suggests that vetters very likely will ignore illegal border-crossers even with gang tats and guns, given that they would need to do full background checks, which will take time, and assess each case on a "case by case" basis.  Think they'll make them wait in Mexico for their background checks?  Biden is still working on getting rid of that Trump policy and has been known to defy court orders to get what he wants.  Unless someone is very obviously a criminal and well known enough to law enforcement, the likelihood is that petty and gang criminals will easily slip in as economic migrants.  Ordinary street thugs of Latin America without a paper trail can rejoice.

Let's not even get into the matter of COVID, or other diseases these illegal border-crossers are bringing in.  According to Mayorkas, 20 percent of illegal border-crossers are bringing in some kind of disease now.  Two days ago, he said this:

'When one is speaking of 7,000 or 7,500 people encountered at the border every day, if one takes a look at that the system, it is not built for that in a Covid environment where isolation is required,' Mayorkas said. 

Reports have shown that it's not just COVID they are bringing in, but measles, leprosy, leishmaniasis, mumps, tuberculosis, and other infectious, communicable diseases long thought of as eliminated from the U.S. population.  We don't know how Mayorkas got the 20% figure, given that he's not testing migrants for COVID, but up until now, we do know that Border Patrol agents are supposedly detaining people with vivid outward symptoms of COVID, while others with low or no symptoms are going into the country unencumbered, with no illegal migrant required to get a vaccination. 

It rather suggests that instead of sending migrants carrying obvious symptoms of COVID back across the Mexican border under Title 42, he's now planning to send them into the interior of the country, in order to skip those temporary migrant detention centers, which spread disease and create public relations problems for the Biden administration.

This, despite a court ruling yesterday that permits the expulsion of illegal border-crossers under Title 42 (on COVID grounds), which the Biden administration now has the green light for but has not been enforcing.

What we are seeing here are the outlines of a Biden administration that is intensely focused on how to prevent another mass migrant bridge incident, where more than 10,000 illegal aliens camped out in a single spot while awaiting processing, with most just issued "notice to report" papers asking them to report to a local ICE station at their destinations of choice.  This, assuming they show up, which many won't.

Mayorkas explains what he means by all this lunacy by describing illegal border-crossers not as an enforcement problem, or a threat to rule of law, or a welfare sponge with tremendous costs to the taxpayers, but as a great benefit to society:

There is also recognition that the majority of the more than 11 million undocumented or otherwise removable noncitizens in the United States have been contributing members of our communities across the country for years.  The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen will not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them.   The Department's personnel are to use their discretion and focus the Department's enforcement resources in a more targeted way. 

"I am grateful to the ICE personnel for their candor and openness in our discussions about their critical law enforcement mission," continued Mayorkas.  "The new guidelines will enable our Department to most effectively accomplish our law enforcement mission and, at the same time, advance our country's well-being by recognizing the invaluable contributions of millions of individuals who are part of the fabric of our communities.  The guidelines will help us exercise our prosecutorial discretion to achieve justice." 

See, letting them all in is advancing our country's well-being, and all we need to do is recognize their "invaluable" contributions.  No wonder he wants to let them all in without papers.

Translation: The border's open.  This is obviously a naked bid to erase the boundaries of our country and take down with it the U.S.'s rule of law.  Would-be migrants well beyond the 60,000 coming up from South America across the world are going to take note of this memo and act as might be expected.  There is no border enforcement with this new memo; the border is free for the entering.

 Image: Screen shot from Fox News video via shareable YouTube.

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