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Blaze News original: Biden's 'smoke and mirrors' executive order won't curb illegal crossings, experts warn: 'A purely political play'
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Blaze News original: Biden's 'smoke and mirrors' executive order won't curb illegal crossings, experts warn: 'A purely political play'

The order 'legitimizes crisis levels of illegal immigration.'

On June 4, President Joe Biden released a new executive order that the administration claimed would crack down on the influx of illegal aliens crossing the border, despite previously insisting that his hands were tied regarding the immigration crisis.

Border security and immigration experts told Blaze News that the administration's executive action will do very little, if anything, to actually reduce the number of illegal crossings into the United States.

About the order

The White House's executive order would only temporarily take effect if the number of illegal immigrants averages 2,500 over a seven-day period. The order also contains many exceptions, including for unaccompanied minors, those experiencing medical emergencies, and victims of a "severe form" of trafficking.

Simon Hankinson, senior research fellow at the Border Security and Immigration Center at the Heritage Foundation, told Blaze News, "Coming three and a half years, and nearly 10 million illegal arrivals into Biden's term, this order is a purely political play. This isn't shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted. It's closing the barn door half an inch, while inviting more horses into the barn so they can bolt too."

"Biden's belated and feckless executive action won't discourage anyone from coming illegally," he continued. "As long as they know from social media, smugglers, and friends that they'll almost certainly be released on arrival, people from 180 countries will keep on coming. As the daily crossing numbers and reporters at the border show, this 63-page executive action, riddled with exceptions, and without the will to enforce even its mild provisions, is having no demonstrable effect."

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas outlined the details of the order during a recent interview with ABC News' "Start Here" podcast.

'Asylum is very much still alive.'

"Individuals encountered in between the ports of entry at our southern border will be barred from seeking asylum," Mayorkas explained. However, he went on to note, "The way in which they can seek asylum now, with this order in effect, is by using the CBP One app and making an appointment to arrive at a port of entry in a safe and orderly way, or accessing one of our many other lawful pathways that we have established for people to receive humanitarian relief without placing their lives in the hands of smugglers."

Customs and Border Protection's CBP One application allows foreign nationals to schedule appointments at ports of entry along the border to file an asylum claim.

Mayorkas reiterated that only illegal immigrants who attempt to cross the southern border outside of a port of entry could be barred from requesting asylum.

"If the number of people we encounter averages for seven consecutive calendar days less than 1,500, then we will lift this bar," Mayorkas continued, adding that the administration "can" and has "the right" to reinstitute the ban if the average number of encounters reaches 2,500 per day for seven consecutive days.

During the interview, Mayorkas commended the Biden administration for building additional "lawful pathways" for those seeking to claim asylum in the U.S.

"More than a million people have accessed those lawful pathways in the past year," he added. "Asylum is very much still alive, but we are deterring irregular migration in between the ports of entry and trying to cut out the smugglers."

Mayorkas acknowledged that the administration knew the American Civil Liberties Union planned to challenge the executive order's legality.

Conservative lawmakers have argued that the executive action lacks teeth, citing the narrow requirements that trigger its enforcement and the lengthy list of exceptions even once it is enforced.

John Fabbricatore, a retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement Denver Field Office director and current Republican congressional candidate for Colorado's 6th District, told Blaze News that the order is "largely smoke and mirrors" that amounts "to a shell game."

"It doesn't genuinely address the problem of securing the border. There isn't a clear plan for detention, leading me to believe that the order won't stop the release of many illegal aliens into the interior. To me, this amounts to an indirect form of amnesty through intentional inaction," Fabbricatore remarked.

Biden blames Republicans

During the White House's announcement of the new executive action, the administration blamed Republican lawmakers for the open border crisis.

"Earlier this year, the President and his team reached a historic bipartisan agreement with Senate Democrats and Republicans to deliver the most consequential reforms of America's immigration laws in decades," the administration claimed. "But Republicans in Congress chose to put partisan politics ahead of our national security, twice voting against the toughest and fairest set of reforms in decades."

Hankinson told Blaze News that the Secure the Border Act, H.R. 2, was "real legislation that would have restored sanity at the border."

"The Democrat-controlled Senate has refused to vote on the bill. The Senate 'bipartisan' bill that came out in February was mere water to HR2's wine. It locked crisis levels of illegal migration into law, failed to stop Biden's mass abuse of parole, failed to curb asylum fraud or the use of children to avoid immigration detention, and granted extraordinary discretion to an administration that has shown itself unworthy of it," Hankinson explained.

"The Senate bill also fed the United Nations-NGO beast that is encouraging and paying for millions of people to migrate illegally towards the United States," he continued. "Biden has tried to convince voters that the Senate bill was tough, but any objective analysis shows the opposite. Again, pure politics. Meanwhile, Biden refuses to uphold the rule of law by ignoring statutes already on the books that require detention of all foreigners entering the U.S. illegally, and granting mass parole in violation of the law's clear intent."

Jon Feere, director of investigations at the Center for Immigration Studies, echoed a similar sentiment regarding the stalled Secure the Border Act, calling it the only "border-related bill that would begin to reverse the Biden administration's lawlessness."

Feere told Blaze News, "The Biden administration does not want it to become law, an obvious sign that they have no interest in actually securing the border."

"Everything the Biden administration has done on immigration has been explicitly designed to undermine enforcement of the nation's immigration laws and the result has been an unprecedented explosion in illegal immigration," Feere continued. "In order to put an end to the lawlessness, the Executive Branch would have to dramatically ramp up arrests and deportations of illegal aliens and invoke serious consequences for border-crossers and companies that hire them. This proclamation does nothing to discourage illegal immigration, and the chaos will continue."

What will the executive order actually accomplish?

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) recently argued that the Biden administration's executive action will "attract and invite" more illegal immigrants to cross the southern border.

He told Fox News, "This is gaslighting our fellow Americans. When Biden gets up and says, 'This is going to stop people from coming across the border,' when he says, 'It's going to secure the border,' in fact, it is making illegal border crossings worse."

Fabbricatore told Blaze News that he agrees with Abbott, stating that the order "will encourage more illegal crossings."

'A significant vetting and national security failure.'

"Evidence of this can already be seen along the border. I predict we will see even more mass crossings before the November election," he remarked. "I don't see any positive effects from this executive order on the current border crisis. It seems more like a political move that President Biden needed to make before the election rather than a solution to the problem. Fraudulent asylum claims, of which less than 15% are eventually approved, continue to rise, reaching nearly 500,000 claims in 2023. The order doesn't address the limited detention space, and recent announcements about closing the Dilley Immigration Detention Center only worsen the issue by eliminating over 1,000 beds."

Fabbricatore explained that even if the number of encounters drops to the executive order's 1,500 daily threshold, Border Patrol agents will still be unable to keep up.

"In a 2019 interview, former Obama administration DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson stated that 1,000 apprehensions a day constituted a crisis. This remains true today. Under the Biden administration, Border Patrol agents have been processing between 1,000 and 6,000 daily, which is unsustainable and represents a significant vetting and national security failure. The morale of the Border Patrol and ICE is extremely low, a condition deliberately caused by the Biden administration from day one," Fabbricatore told Blaze News.

What happens now?

As anticipated, on June 12, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its so-called "cruel" and restrictive executive order. The nonprofit, which filed the suit on behalf of two pro-immigration groups, claimed that the action "severely restricts asylum" and puts "thousands of lives at risk."

After announcing the executive action, the Biden administration's CBP released an internal memo to San Diego sector Border Patrol agents instructing them to release most illegal immigrants from Eastern Hemisphere countries into the U.S. The communication directed agents to provide the individuals with Notice to Appear documents and release them from custody on their own recognizance, an instruction that contradicted the administration's claim that it planned to crack down on unlawful entries.

In recent months, the San Diego area has been hit with a massive uptick in illegal immigration, with foreign nationals from all over the world attempting to unlawfully enter the country near the remote town of Jacumba Hot Springs.

San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond told Blaze News, "This executive order is a facade, offering the illusion of security while doing nothing to address the real issues at our borders. This past weekend alone, thousands of individuals entered San Diego County, exacerbating the alarming number of over 151,000 street releases this fiscal year. This policy effectively allows anyone into the country, regardless of their background or intentions."

Fabbricatore warned that the Biden administration will likely increase the number of foreign nationals it processes through its CBP One app.

"In my opinion this seems like a deliberate action to bypass Congress and allow thousands more to enter the country. Over 80% of these asylum claims will likely be deemed not credible and dismissed. However, given that millions of final removal orders are already pending in the ICE system, the administration knows these individuals are unlikely to be deported," he told Blaze News.

With the country's immigration crisis a top concern for voters, it remains to be seen whether Biden's last-ditch effort to appear tough on unlawful crossings will earn him any additional votes. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seem equally unimpressed with Biden's executive order.

'A blatant contradiction.'

Eighteen Democratic lawmakers, led by Reps. Delia Ramirez (Ill.) and Jesús "Chuy" García (Ill.), wrote a letter Tuesday to Mayorkas and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ur Jaddou, slamming the administration's executive action.

"Allowing the consideration of mandatory bars to asylum during initial asylum screening interviews will force asylum seekers to present legally and factually complex arguments explaining the life-threatening harms they are fleeing shortly after enduring a long, traumatic journey and while being held in immigration detention and essentially cut off from legal help," the letter read.

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) told Blaze News that the administration's executive order will not curb illegal immigration.

"The only way to end this self-inflicted border crisis is to end the perverse incentives that encourage mass illegal immigration," Green stated. "This executive order does not come close to doing that. In fact, it legitimizes crisis levels of illegal immigration, broadcasts to the cartels that they can continue to exploit vulnerable people, and allows Border Patrol agents to continue releasing illegal aliens into the interior if they don't claim asylum."

"The cartels know this order won't change anything on the ground, which is why we've seen reports for almost a week now that mass numbers of illegal aliens are still coming across, completely undeterred by this unserious administration. A true leader in the White House would admit his open-borders policies have failed, and use his executive authority to reimplement the policies that worked, and enforce the laws he swore to uphold," Green added.

Feere with CIS told Blaze News that Biden's attempt to appear tough on illegal immigration will not convince voters this November.

"Nothing the administration does now will make a difference," he declared. "In fact, it's only going to get worse as the fallout from their open border agenda impacts all aspects of our lives, from crime to school overcrowding, not to mention the terrorist threats the administration has welcomed into our country."

United States Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) told Blaze News that voters "see through this charade."

"For three years Biden has lied about the border crisis, dodged responsibility by blaming Congress, and now in a blatant contradiction issues a meaningless executive order months before Election Day," Gooden said.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →