Border Crossings

How Immigration Clampdowns Create 'Border Crises'

Today's mediagenic crowds at the border in Del Rio, Texas, are a predictable and unnecessary result of restrictive migrant policies.

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The Biden administration is on target to approach a historical fiscal-year record for apprehending migrants on the U.S./Mexico border. We are likely to have seen 1.64 million such apprehensions by this month's end of fiscal 2021, even as opponents absurdly accuse the president of pursuing "open borders" policies.

Keep that in mind as you see scenes of a border crossing point being overwhelmed today by would-be migrants. Such moment are not happening despite the clampdown, but because of it.

As the New York Post reports, the "number of migrants waiting under a bridge in Texas has doubled overnight and now tops 8,000 people….Drone footage shot by Fox News shows the sea of migrants, the majority from Haiti, under the International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, and sources tell the network the situation is 'out of control' and that Border Patrol agents are overwhelmed." Big crowds at the border set off media storms frequently these days, generally for a national Fox audience that will never have their life impacted by migrants being allowed to live and work unimpeded on the same continental landmass.

The Biden administration has been enforcing Title 42 returns of migrants to Mexico, whether they are Mexican or not. (This is done in the name of public health, which is seen as allowing for immediate expulsion no matter what U.S. asylum law dictates.) Though sometimes it's luck of which border agent you end up dealing with that defines whether you are permitted to go to friends in Florida or forced back to Mexico.

There is a simpler, better way that would avoid these disconcertingly large crowds awaiting the rough justice of U.S. border policies. Those huge crowds in those drone videos are only there because it isn't conveniently legal for would-be migrants to buy a bus or plane ticket and go anywhere in the U.S. that they want to.

They could do this either with their own funds or with money from charitable groups that currently spend their resources dealing with the awful aftermath of crossings at illegal entrance points, or with the legal troubles that arise from trying to do so at legal entrance points. The migrants could thus rendezvous with friends or family, or with other groups that want to help them assimilate. Or they could just start looking for the work that they came here to do in the first place. All without gathering in one place and looking scary to people who will likely never meet them or be harmed by them in any way.

For those who can't make the laissez-faire step toward just letting human beings roam unmonitored through these United States, there's the option of instant work visas with a requirement to show up for a later asylum hearing.

Or we could—as Joe Biden is mostly doing, like Donald Trump before him—double down on a system of feckless jawboning to keep people from trying to better their lives, of family breakup and child detention, of policies that force people to stay in America when they might rather return to their families elsewhere, and of pointless deaths and misery at the border.

Most would-be migrants simply cannot navigate the near-impossible maze of U.S. immigration law via the legal "front door." But entering America could be as simple as buying a bus ticket or driving a car, with no massed crowds necessary. Pointlessly punitive policies that harm innocents and likely cost trillions in lost national wealth create the very situations that make people think we need more of those policies.

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  1. Today’s mediagenic crowds at the border in Del Rio, Texas, are a predictable and unnecessary result of restrictive migrant policies.

    So the entire Democratic field of candidates, on National Television, raising their hands when asked if illegal immigrants would get “free healthcare” has no effect on the continental disposition about coming to America?

    1. Not in Reason’s mind

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  2. Most would-be migrants simply cannot navigate the near-impossible maze of U.S. immigration law via the legal “front door.” But entering America could be as simple as buying a bus ticket or driving a car, with no massed crowds necessary.

    Eliminate the welfare system, employment regulations and the minimum wage, and I’m right there with you Mr. Doherty.

    1. I assume Doherty isn’t on welfare and makes well above minimum wage, so it’s not like there’s some personal profit or pragmatic reason to oppose ending the welfare state first and foremost. From a higher view, fewer government regulations in exchange for freer immigration should be a win-win. The only reason to oppose one and not the other is because you only want some people to win.

      1. Ending the welfare state ends one of the primary reason families migrate to the US. immigrant headed households still use up more welfare programs than citizens.

        https://cis.org/Report/Welfare-Use-Legal-and-Illegal-Immigrant-Households

        1. https://www.cato.org/blog/cis-exaggerates-cost-immigrant-welfare-use

          Immigrants are poorer than the general populace, so they will qualify for more welfare than the general populace. But when you compare immigrants to similar people (education, race, income) in the country, they are less likely to consume welfare than their peers.

          The problem is not the immigrants. The problem is the welfare. And it is a worse problem for americans than it is for immigrants.

          1. I and illegals are far poorer than immigrants.

          2. Sorry, but CATO is very politically an open borders group who does their own exaggeration in the open borders direction. They inflate economic growth of low wage, Low education workers without secondary analysis on replacement and welfare costs born by employment shifts to welfare for citizens.

            Immigration is the most dishonest avenue of CATO as they are ideologues.

          3. Immigrants are poorer than the general populace,

            And that’s all that matters, because any group that is poorer than Americans on average makes America poorer when admitted to the US.

            Whether they consume less welfare than demographically matched Americans is irrelevant; the US already has too many people in poverty, adding more makes the problem worse.

            The US should only admit immigrants who earn more and are more productive than the average American.

            The problem is not the immigrants. The problem is the welfare. And it is a worse problem for americans than it is for immigrants.

            You are wrong. Even without any welfare, admitting large numbers of less productive, less skilled, less educated people would make America less well off.

      2. I assume Doherty isn’t on welfare and makes well above minimum wage, so it’s not like there’s some personal profit or pragmatic reason to oppose ending the welfare state first and foremost.

        Doherty also doesn’t earn enough that it affects him directly, so he doesn’t care. But his paymasters like open borders, consistent with what he advocates.

  3. There is a simpler, better way that would avoid these disconcertingly large crowds awaiting the rough justice of U.S. border policies. Those huge crowds in those drone videos are only there because it isn’t conveniently legal for would-be migrants to buy a bus or plane ticket and go anywhere in the U.S. that they want to.

    So they braved the wilds of several foreign nations, coyotes, bandits, thieves and the immigration enforcement of pass-through countries to get here (while the other countries did literally nothing to help them except hustle them to the US border) so they could navigate our byzantine immigration system.

    Checks out.

    1. We should do like other countries and move them to Canada

    2. So they braved the wilds of several foreign nations, coyotes, bandits, thieves and the immigration enforcement of pass-through countries to get here (while the other countries did literally nothing to help them except hustle them to the US border) so they could navigate our byzantine immigration system.

      No, they did all that to receive the massive, unearned windfall of financial and social benefits from living in the US, enriching themselves in the process and making Americans poorer.

      1. …making America poorer…and altering her culture irreversibly.
        Why do the open-borders people hate the American culture?

    3. There is a simpler, better way that would avoid these disconcertingly large crowds awaiting the rough justice of U.S. border policies.

      Yes, the President should talk tough, even threaten them, so they stay home. If only we could find a President who could talk tough…..

  4. Simply opening the border (when NO other country does this) is a recipe for disaster. Nobody is seriously proposing this. Sorry but this will never fly.

    1. There is at least one country that practiced a highly successful policy of open borders, the United States of America. The border was open for everyone until the 1850s, and open for all whites until the 1920s. Nothing bad happened, because why would it?

      There’s this idea that immigrants coming into a country will change its fundamental nature, and I think that is where the “disaster” idea comes from. That that idea is bunk. Immigrants to America are changed by America, they don’t change it in any significant way. They grow to act like Americans, and their children act even more like Americans.

      1. Looks at late 19th early 20th century history, sees growth in crime, especially gang violence, anti-immigration violence, growth of progressivism, growth in federal government, the Gilded age immigrant vote buying scandals, industrial violence (often amongst migrant union members), growth of communism and anarchy, leading to violence, mostly among immigrant populations. Yeah, nothing bad happened.

      2. You could come here, starve to death, freeze, or get killed in a hundred other ways and had no expectation of any support from any government. One-third of all Italian immigrants to the US before 1900 returned to Italy. One source claims that 142 million people have expressed the desire to come to the US if they can. We can’r begin to handle the 2 million illegals we are getting this year.
        Of course, once the horrible state of the cities, lack of jobs, and crime become widely known, the rush will slow. Too bad for those already born here.

      3. You mean back when the population of the country was only a fraction of what is is now, we still had lands that hadn’t been settled or explored, and before we had a fresh water crisis?

        Now the population of the US is 320 million and still growing.

      4. Before about 1960 it was very difficult for people to make the trip to the US, THAT’s why open borders were not problematic. In the last 50 years it has become so easy to get to the border, even kids can make their way.

        We should have more legal immigration, but very severely crack down on illegal immigration. Maybe brand ’em and then send ’em home.

      5. If you don’t think America hasn’t been changed in any significant way, since the dawn of the welfare era, and the amnesty of the 80’s, you’re as blind as a bat.
        Prior to that, immigrants wanted to become Americans.
        Now, all they want is our money and becoming American is not on their radar.

  5. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have borders.

    In a world where our government uses violence against peaceful people, I don’t see how you claim border enforcement is off-limits.

    1. Trust me, if there were no borders, the world wouldn’t be any more perfect. Arguably less so.

    2. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have borders.

      Yeah, that’s the communist/socialist view. I don’t see what’s “perfect” about that.

      In a libertarian world, there would, of course, be “borders”, they would simply be borders between private associations.

    3. As others have said, call a place paradise, it will cease to be paradise. (Paraphrasing)

      So in any real world, the premise can be tossed. Even inherently, a “perfect world” is a contradiction. Not gonna write an essay as to why.

  6. Brian, when average Americans are paying for the schools and healthcare that migrants use here but do not fund they are having their lives impacted by this because that money could go to their schools, used to pay down the debt or not be taken in the first place.
    But hey, something something Fox News something something is easier to write. And lazier.

    1. Welfare programs create border crises.

      1. Yup. Point of order, the “Brian” addressed in the post above is to the author.

      2. Exporting fanatical drug prohibition wrecks Latin American economies the same way banning beer and drugs wrecked the US economy in the 1920s and 30s. They could export coca products to Europe and have a Kuwait-style economy were it not for coercive US meddling. Biden’s 1986 efforts completely wrecked all of Latin America by 1992. People get shot for plant leaves legal in countries with Libertarian parties. The other fascist export, girl-bullying, puts pressure on women to flee to America, but Mexico repealed its Republican girl-bullying laws a few days ago. That may help.

      3. The US spends a sh*tload of tax dollars on infrastructure, public education, pensions, administration, healthcare, etc. Every low skilled, low income immigrant who comes to the US benefits from that massively even if they never go on welfare.

        It is progressive tax systems and massive government spending that creates border crises; welfare is only a small part of the problem.

    2. So you don’t think most of those immigrants will go on to have a job and be productive? They’ll just spend their lives using healthcare and schools? That’s what most people do?

      In reality, the people most relying on the government are US citizens. That’s because a disproportionate portion of Americans are geezers and children, whereas the bulk of migrants are in that productive period of life between childhood and old age.

      1. They aren’t paying for many of the common goods and services. The solution is to sunset the welfare industrial complex.
        I have no issue with folks coming here to produce.

      2. So you don’t think most of those immigrants will go on to have a job and be productive?

        They will. Unfortunately, they won’t be productive enough to pay for the cost they impose on the US government.

        That’s because a disproportionate portion of Americans are geezers and children, whereas the bulk of migrants are in that productive period of life between childhood and old age.

        If they don’t make more than $50000-100000/year each, they are a net drain on the US government because they simply don’t pay enough in taxes to make up for the services they consume even if they don’t go on welfare.

        The US is a country living far beyond its means, paying for it with a credit card. And you want to invite more people to the party and spend even faster.

  7. The idea that you can prevent the problem of illegal immigration by simply expanding legal immigration sounds a lot like the idea that if you see a mugger approaching you, the best way to avoid getting robbed is to preemptively offer to give the mugger your wallet and your watch.

    1. You don’t think if these folks could simply apply online to come to the US, they’d do it, instead of going through all this illegal hassle?

      1. 1 million immigrants a year come to the US. This does not include refugees and other programs. Those who come do use government and local resources at a high clip. The government hasn’t enforced the public charge requirements in decades.

    2. That was precisely what anarcho-communists and the surrender lobby argued after Nixon signed the ABM treaty inviting the Soviet Union to attack These States. Surrender was the only option the whining snowflakes of the 70s and 80s did not oppose. The ones infiltrating the LP and the scientific community expressly advocated preemptive unilateral surrender. That prompted formation of the Libertarian Defense Caucus to remove Freeze and Surrender planks from the LP platform.

  8. Because they are exempt from vaccine mandates?

  9. Pretty sure interviews of illegal immigrants point to Biden’s campaign rhetoric trending towards open borders and non enforcement as causing the current crisis.

    But you believe the myths and narratives you want I guess.

    1. Obviously the illegal immigrants don’t know what they’re talking about but enlightened leftists like Brian do.

      Seriously, how can he ignore the campaign promises and the attempts at reducing enforcement causing backlash which drove the current policy? His thoughts must be some bizzaro world where causality doesn’t exist.

    2. Biden is a Democrat. Democrats are the party of 97% closed borders. They are locked in a brutal battle with the Republicans, the party of 99% closed borders. There is (sadly) no politician that supports open borders.

      1. Quite the non-sequitur and false dichotomy you have going there.

      2. It’s a strawman bonfire!!

  10. The influx of asylum seekers from Northern Triangle countries since the introduction of DACA has been dominated by children and families traveling with children. There were less than 1,000 asylum seekers per year from all three countries combined before DACA. I understand we have some 200,000 per month now–a huge portion of them children. When you announce to the world that you won’t deport their children, it creates an incentive for extremely poor people to send their children here. We won’t sell people on the solution until we’re honest with them about the cause of the problem.

    Incidentally, the Senate parliamentarian, as I type, is considering arguments from the Democrats that are trying to include amnesty for dreamers in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill. If they don’t include a cut off date, the crisis at the border will become the new normal, and the eventual backlash will be dramatic. If the only way for the American people to assert their prerogative on immigration law is to vote for populists, they won’t give up their desires. They’ll give up on liberal institutions. It’s really important to understand this. This is how the UK was driven out of the EU. This is what made the National Front the second biggest party in France.

    We are not immune.

    1. I understand we have some 200,000 per month now–a huge portion of them children.

      Obviously, unaccompanied minor, politically dissident artists, poets, writers, and journalists who criticized the regime! /sarc

  11. To me, the biggest problem is the slap dash nature of our immigration policy. Congress really needs to take up the issue in earnest and provide the border security the country needs, while allowing a path for those who want to come and work here without a 10 year wait.

    1. There is little “slapdash” about the immigration policy as defined by law: it’s cumbersome but has most of the features of an immigration system you want.

      What makes it “slapdash” is that successive administrations and the bureaucracy selectively ignore the law for political reasons.

      1. The road to serfdom is paved with open borders.

        1. Meant as reply to Dude24 below.

  12. Oh, great, Haitians. Yes, we need more Haitians, who, like our American Blacks, vote like 90% Democrats. We certainly need more of those!

  13. Correction —
    How Criminal Clampdowns Create ‘Crisis for Criminals’….

    It is a fallacy argument to pretend those who just stomp where-ever they *want* to without any regard to national borders/security measures are doing anything but committing a crime.

  14. So, basically what the article is saying is that the migrants would still be flooding across the border but will just be legal. I support freer immigration but don’t find that a very persuasive argument.

    1. In what ways would you change immigration law to make immigration freer? Just curious, because you are not a lefty.

      1. Streamline the bureaucracy. Like any government program there is way to much red tape. It shouldn’t take ten years for a person to get approved through normal channels.

      2. There should be a quota of legal immigrants (maybe 1.5 million?), and beyond that illegals should be very harshly treated. Children should be sent back.

  15. If theft was legal, we wouldn’t have to waste our resources prosecuting thieves. If rape was legal, we wouldn’t have to waste our resources prosecuting rapists. If there were no private property, we wouldn’t have to deal with trespassers.

    Any law has the predictable result of creating “crises” for the people who break the law. This is most hilariously sophomoric sophistry I’ve ever seen.

    1. Indeed, you could end the bank robbery crisis tomorrow, by just instructing bank tellers to give money to whoever asked for it, regardless of whether they had an account.

      The unstated premise here is that everybody in the world has a pre-existing right to enter the US.

  16. I though Kamala was going to straighten all this out?

    1. The way she straightened out Willie Brown? Or was it Brown Willie?

  17. Are you out of your fing mind? Who is going to pay for this? This isn’t the US 1890 which was growing faster than at any time in history and we needed millions of workers for our industry (yes we had industry back then not China). The Fed Govt is running over a trillion in the red and the only freaking thing we seem to be able to export is our dollars. 100M new people since 1990..JC how gd stupid are woke Cosmo wealthy Reason folks. And yes I don’t want America to look like El Salvador..

    Abortion and Open Borders are not libertarian topics of any priority. The Fed, wars, the national security state are the only issues we should be focused on…end the Fed, cut the Federal Govt by 80%, end foreign interventions and enforce the Bill of Rights…

    1. The fascist sockpuppet package-deals disparate issues. The Libertarian Party’s abortion plank antedated Roe v Wade which copied it almost verbatim, stopping superstitious rednecks from bullying women and doctors. Anarco-communist infiltrators twist the NAP to pressure the LP into borderless anarchy positions that make war on the Constitution. Those parasites know that or they would form their own competing party. Indeed, it is the communist party that brainwashes them and sends them hither as vote-repellent human skunks.

      1. “The Libertarian Party’s abortion plank antedated Roe v Wade which copied it almost verbatim,”

        This is at least the second time you’ve written that. Roe v Wade was decided in 1973. The LP was founded in ’71, and the 1972 platform didn’t HAVE an abortion plank. Neither did the 1974 platform. Or the 1976 platform.

        It wasn’t until 1982 that that a plank specifically addressing abortion was added.

        Now, the ’72 platform DID have an Overpopulation plank, which read in part, ” We further support the repeal of all laws restricting voluntary birth control or voluntary termination of pregnancies during their first hundred days”, but good luck finding that language in Roe v Wade.

        1. 100 days is the first trimester, so he ain’t completely wrong.

  18. And now the FAA is not allowing anyone to fly a drone over the border…no pictures and no problem right commies in DC? Libertarians should be very strong proponents of nation states/borders…who the hell will protect your natural rights? 50M new citizens who only know “sugar daddy” crony “democracy”? Fing stupid Reason writers…

  19. Was it Steven Greenhut who wrote “Republicans won’t believe their own eyes on the capitol hill riots”? Well, right back at you guys on the border.

    Why do libertarians abandon their own principles when it comes to immigration? Doherty is relying on the same utopic, wishful thinking used in liberal agendas that goes something like “If housing was free, there would be no housing crisis!”

    If migrants were free to just ride the bus, bypass the border, and go where ever they want to, there would five or six times the number of migrants that are currently in the country. And most of them will flood the 3,4 states that have the most immigrants / Latinos. We’d be simply moving the crisis away from the border and into the cities. And we have to somehow hope that these people voluntarily appear to have themselves vaccinated, have their background checks, or appear in court for any reason. Where are these people going to live again?

    Doherty also snidely remarks migrants won’t affect “FOX news audience”. The poor man apparently never visited CA, where a flood of incoming humanity helped transform a golden state into the most freakishly expensive place to live on the nation. The state is a capitol of homelessness and became a covid buffet zone.

    Asylum is meant for those who face systemic prosecution. It’s not a backdoor way to citizenship for those who want to exploit the system. We SHOULD grant refugee status to the Afghans. All those money spent on the migrants should be spent on them. We DO care about spending here, right?

  20. The Nixon anti-Libertarian law subsidizing looter parties generates despair throughout Latin America of ever repealing other bad laws. These others are laws against Andean plant leaf products that could bring much wealth. Instead, ignorant prohibitionist fanatics tas us to send thugs and hidden persuaders to meddle in their politics and back fascist repression complete with Ceausescu-style girl-bullying. Immediately young men and women seek to flee the way we did when Richard Nignew’s gang was in power. Most migration problems are made in USA.

  21. Apparently the FAA is no longer allowing drone flights by Fox News over this border

  22. The “crisis” started with tightening up border security near population centers back in the 80’s. Which forced seasonal “migrant” workers to cross at more remote dangerous locations.
    Rather than risk dying crossing the border back and forth to Mexico many have stayed.

  23. I’ve said it before. For decades, The Enlightened™ have been serving us one shit sandwich after another on the platter of “FreedomN’Equality!”, and now their surprised when the public winces whenever they hear those words.

    Doherty has just served us up another helping. Enjoy!

  24. “Those huge crowds in those drone videos are only there because it isn’t conveniently legal for would-be migrants to buy a bus or plane ticket and go anywhere in the U.S. that they want to.”
    You want US citizens to pay for illegal immigrants, the dregs of their countries to go anywhere in they want to in the US and then probably disappear of the radar.
    Brilliant idea.
    You lost your slobbering brain?
    Or maybe you just born stupid?

    1. Stupid is as Stupid writes.

  25. So full of lies that it’s hard to know where to start. The entire Democratic establishment is in favor of open borders – they NEVER say no to anyone crossing the border illegally – but Biden is against open borders? There’s a difference between in favor of and able to get away with. This from a person who is arguing in favor of open borders explicitly.

    Democrats want open borders to enlage the ‘minority’ voting rolls. Wall Street Republicans want open borders because slave labor increases profits. As far as policy goes, Trump won the election because of two issues – his promise to name Supreme Court justices who were pre-approved by the pro-life right, and his strong stand against illegal immigration.

    1. You forgot the Wicked Witch’s role.

  26. You won be seeing anymore “huge crowds in those drone videos”
    anymore. The FAA has banned drones from the area.
    Gotta love the return of norms.

    1. “Won’t”

  27. Everything in this article is either demonstrably false or breathtakingly naive. Seemingly written by a ill informed high schooler.

    1. Welcome to reason.

  28. Legalizing robbery and other currently illegal activities would also address the prison overcrowding crisis.

  29. The problem is not the immigrants. The problem is the welfare. And it is a worse problem for americans than it is for immigrants.

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  30. “Most would-be migrants simply cannot navigate the near-impossible maze of U.S. immigration law via the legal “front door.””

    Well, then they can keep out. We don’t need more illiterates.

  31. Though it’s nice to read the vanquished whining of mollycoddled inhabitants of Fairyland, who, for some reason, are very very cranky about the fact that the US doesn’t want to be the only country on earth that has no borders.

  32. Technically, sure, if America always had open borders then there wouldn’t be a particular buildup of migrants coming at the same time. We would have long ago topped off at 1b+ people from the third world with their hands out.

    Then immigration would have tapered off naturally because America wouldn’t be a place worth coming to anymore. Or, the hundreds of millions of new voters would have voted in their own brand of caudillo to close the borders and bash the heads of retarded ideologues, which is the most generous way I can describe the people who wanted and wrote this article.

    On topic, I’m pretty sure the existence of a non-enforcing Democratic administration is a much better correlation for masses rushing the border than previous periods of comparable immigration law enforcement.

    1. Sorry, flagged a comment by mistake. Please remove flag.

  33. Predictably the subject of Reason’s worst and most inexplicable takes–until you consider who pays the bills at this whorehouse.

    1. Reason is run by an anarchist – KMW – so what do you expect? Anarchy means no standards, no rules, anything goes.

      I’d love to see KMW live in a real anarchy. She’d be crying from the rape gangs and seeing her kids starve.

      1. Not really what I was referring to.

  34. Mr.Doherty is entitled to his opinion regardless of the lack of logic applied. Border crackdown? What parallel universe does he live in? He needs to visit the border in Del Rio. Biden may have apprehended over a million illegal aliens but Doherty ignores the over two million he let waltz in with zero vetting, zero vaccinations, and zero COVID testing. Allowing in millions of poor, uneducated illegal aliens which include untold thousands of violent criminals is simply insanity. I am pro-immigration, or should I say LEGAL immigration. We have a duty to our citizens to vet the people coming in and turn back those who are criminals or are unlikely to contribute to our society. We have enough native born deadbeats sponging off our tax dollars; we don’t need to import more.

  35. “The Biden administration is on target to approach a historical fiscal-year record for apprehending migrants on the U.S./Mexico border.”

    How did Reason determine they were all migrants ?
    They didn’t.
    They simply claim it as an inherent truth for all illegal border crosses.

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