Immigration has been a topic of intense debate over the last 20 years, but it has become a particularly contentious conversation in the last 8 years. Since Donald Trump was elected to office in 2016, the rhetoric surrounding immigration has grown particularly antagonistic on both sides of the aisle, and President Biden has found himself the subject of many attacks due to his actions regarding the border.

2023: The Worst Immigration Year

The border crisis has elevated in both news cycles and the American psyche, especially over the last six months. 2023 was the worst year that America has seen regarding the immigration crisis, with numbers of illegal crossings into the country peaking in December of 2023.

Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The numbers have since come down in the first months of 2024, but the impact of the border crisis has been felt far and wide. Various sanctuary cities across the country, including New York and Chicago, have been struggling under the increasing burden of new migrants, and Republicans have latched onto the issue as a political talking point.

Republicans are Hands On

Some Republicans, such as Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, have been more proactive with this disdain of President Biden, as well as their opposition to Biden’s border policies. Abbott has enacted several state policies regarding the border that have been challenged all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Source: Wikimedia/World Travel and Tourism Council

The Biden administration has claimed that Abbott has overstepped his state authority by trying to take sweeping action regarding the crisis. Many of the policies that have been implemented by Abbott, including installing razor wire at the border and buoy barriers in the Rio Grande, have been painted as “cruel and unusual” by liberals, as well as the Biden administration.

Supreme Court Siding with the Biden Administration

The Supreme Court has sided with the Biden administration regarding many of the challenges to Abbott’s border policies. For instance, the Court issued a ruling that allowed the Biden administration to start cutting down the razor wire that had been installed by Abbott’s agents at the border. However, they did not state that Abbott couldn’t install more wire after the fact.

Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

The conflict around border policies in Texas is just one facet of the conversation that has been ongoing regarding the immigration crisis in the United States. There are many who have blamed the Biden administration for how bad things have gotten, though there are certainly failures that have been made on a Congressional level as well.

The Failed Bipartisan Border Bill

One of the biggest failures of Congress regarding the immigration crisis is fairly recent. A bipartisan border bill was worked on for several months by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, and the text of the bill was released for a vote earlier this year. It appeared to have bipartisan support, and contained many significant concessions on the part of the Democrats regarding immigration.

Source: Wikimedia/Office of Speaker Mike Johnson

It seemed that the bill would pass, given the fact that it was drafted in a bipartisan manner. However, at the last moment, the bill was tanked by House Republicans. Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, stated that the bill would be “dead on arrival” in the House, and it didn’t end up passing muster in the Senate after Republicans rallied against the bill.

Failed Due to Trump

It’s believed that the reason the border bill failed is due to former President, Donald Trump, who has been in close contact with many Republican members of Congress ahead of his reelection campaign for 2024. A leaked conversation from Mike Johnson confirmed this theory, which has stirred up discontent towards the Republicans regarding the border crisis.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

Unfortunately, though, as it always does, much of the blame for immigration issues has fallen on the current President. Biden has been enduring a significant amount of backlash for his administration’s methods in handling the crisis, and a recent report regarding deportation statistics has done nothing to stop that.

Rejected 200k Deportation Proceedings

According to a recent report, in 2023, immigration judges rejected deportation proceedings against approximately 200,000 migrants. This is because, under the Biden administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) neglected to submit the necessary documents before their court appearances.

Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Notably, Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University issued a report on March 20 which stated that courts were left without authority to judge on asylum claims, or manage deportation cases. The DHS failed to appear in thousands of notices before scheduled hearing dates, making the hearings null and void.

Illegal Migrants are Issued Notices to Appear

When migrants are caught entering the United States illegally, when they are apprehended by border agents or law enforcement officers in the country, they are given notices to appear (NTA’s). This is a written notice to the respondent that includes the nature of the proceedings, and the acts or conduct alleged to be in violation of the law.

Source: Wikimedia/© Tomas Castelazo

When an immigrant requests asylum, on the other hand, they are given a hearing date, which is sometimes years in advance. This gives them the opportunity to argue before an immigration court why they shouldn’t be deported, and why their request for asylum should be granted.

NTA’s Aren’t Being Filed

In order for the hearing to take place, though, the NTA needs to be submitted to the court where the person is going to appear. The TRAC report claims that the 200,000 cases that were dismissed in court were handled that way because no NTA was filed by the Department of Homeland Security, at all.

Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The report explains, “Almost all Immigration Court cases are removal cases for which DHS must file an NTA for the case to move forward.” According to an unbiased research team, the ‘almost total lack of transparency on where and why these DHS failures occurred’ was deemed ‘troubling.’

Disturbingly High Numbers of Dismissals

While it isn’t unusual for some filing to get lost in the shuffle at big departments like the DHS, the sheer volume of dismissals is what has many concerned. Following Biden’s election in 2020, the number of cases dismissed for lack of NTA filings increased dramatically, from 6,482 in 2020 to 33,802 in 2021.

Source: Wikimedia/Federal Courthouse, Pecos, Tex.

That number skyrocketed to 79,592 in 2022. While the number did drop to less than 70,000 in 2023, the pattern of disturbingly high dismissals appears to be continuing in 2024. According to the report, 10,598 deportation cases have been rejected in 2024 so far, due to lack of NTA’s being filed with the courts.

Social Media Commentary

The report has taken the internet by storm, with several social media users taking a jab at the administration for failing to complete the NTA paperwork. One user on X wrote, “Give me the paperwork, I’ll do them.”

Source: X/AtlantaConserv1

Another claimed, “This is treason.” This is a common belief among many, including multiple politicians in the House of Representatives. There are some who have gone so far as to say that the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis could be negligent to the point of an impeachment inquiry, though nothing has come of that particular line of reasoning as of yet.

Jabs at the Biden Administration

Others commented on the cost of the immigration crisis, using the numbers from the report as a reference. “200k immigrants only cost 10B a year to have them hanging about waiting.”

Source: X/MikeLeighTorres

Another took a more specific jab at the Biden administration. “We can all see this is intentional, this administration doesn’t care about the American people.” This comment follows a common conservative talking point, that caring for migrants is done at the expense of care for the American public.

Biden Remaining Silent on the Issue

The Biden administration has yet to comment on the report regarding the deportation statistics, though they’re not standing idle on the immigration crisis. A preliminary executive order was released shortly after the border bill died in Congress, outlining different actions that the administration was considering taking regarding the border, though nothing has come of that particular action yet.

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

And Biden himself has continued to advocate for action regarding the border. In his State of the Union speech, he called on Republicans to vote for the dead border bill, to bring it to his desk so that he can sign it and get action started on the border. Republicans in Congress have yet to take action regarding the bill, and it isn’t clear whether they will, even if the light of dissatisfied constituents.

A Complex Problem

The border crisis is a complex problem that requires a massive overhaul of our immigration system in order to resolve. While it’s understandable that there might be some paperwork lost in the shuffle when there are so many migrants attempting to cross per day, the apparent lack of vigilance on the part of DHS is concerning.

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

Whether DHS and the Biden administration will address the problem in the wake of the TRAC report remains to be seen. The government moves slowly, so any actions they might take could still be weeks or months away. While the immigration crisis continues, the only thing for us to do is wait, and hope for better days ahead.