By Jon Dougherty
A day after the U.S. Border Patrol announced it would have to begin a controversial “catch-and-release” program in the face of an onslaught of illegal immigrants beyond the agency’s capacity to house them, POTUS Donald Trump repeated an earlier threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border.
The president also criticized Central American countries as well as Mexico for doing next-to-nothing to interdict migrants heading for the United States, despite receiving billions in aid from the U.S. annually.
In addition, the president singled out Democrats for ire as well.
In a series of tweets, POTUS said Mexico was “all talk and no action” in its efforts to stop a flow of migrants into the U.S. while Democrats “don’t care.”
“Likewise, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have taken our money for years, and do Nothing,” he added. “The Dems don’t care, such BAD laws. May close the Southern Border!”
Mexico is doing NOTHING to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our Country. They are all talk and no action. Likewise, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have taken our money for years, and do Nothing. The Dems don’t care, such BAD laws. May close the Southern Border!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2019
Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection officials said earlier this week that the influx of migrants is the heaviest since the Bush administration. The crush of humanity on the border has overwhelmed their agencies’ ability to handle all of them, thus requiring — by law — that they are released into the U.S.
“For the first time in over a decade, CBP is performing direct releases of migrants when [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] is unable to provide bed space to relieve overcrowding,” CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said, adding that things are at a “breaking point.”
He noted Wednesday that the crush of migrants has led to overcrowding of CBP facilities, thus contributing to a rise in illnesses and transmittable diseases among migrants.
“We are doing everything we can to simply avoid a tragedy in a CBP facility,” he said. “But with these numbers, with the types of illnesses we’re seeing at the border, I fear that it’s just a matter of time.”
The president has threatened to seal the border in the past.
“If we find that it gets to a level where we’re going to lose control or people are going to start getting hurt, we will close entry into the country for a period of time until we can get it under control,” he said on Thanksgiving.
It’s not clear how POTUS would accomplish sealing nearly 2,000 miles of border or what kind of economic impact it would have not just in border regions but throughout the country.
Meanwhile, however, he has a point regarding Mexico’s lack of assistance. The government is doing what it can where it can, but the influence and power of the cartels are overwhelming. Corruption is rampant and even Mexican military units often fail to intervene in firefights between cartel gunmen.
At some point, Mexico could collapse into failed state status. If that happens, what we’re seeing at the border now will pale in comparison to the waves of humanity we’ll see then.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10