What Is Happening At the Border, Explained


Andrew Banks, Writer

    Border security in response to immigration has been a constant in the US and around the World. The protection and security at the U.S./ Mexico border has been a very political and social battle in recent years in the U.S. Former President Donald Trump took a strong stance in 2016 telling the citizens of the U.S., if elected, he would build a wall. Some Americans viewed this as a strong message and believed it to be a good way to sustain a stable flow of people and promote coming into the country legally. Others viewed this action at the border as inhumane. Neither viewpoint is wrong. 

When comparing both administrations (Trump and Biden) the approaches to the crisis were very different. Trump decided that building the wall was the best option. That approach to borer security made a large impact on reducing the number of encounters at the border. The Biden administration has chosen to confront the crisis in what is viewed as a more humane process by ending construction on the wall and providing more asylum’s. It was perceived that under the Trump administration kids were sleeping using tin foil blankets, but that is still yet to change under the Biden administration. In any event the approaches are clear, Trump wanted a wall to prevent people from coming in illegally and Biden wanted to confront it humanly by not building a wall. There are no real proposals as to how the Biden administration will confront it more humanly except just the opposite of what the Trump administration did.

    As a new administration has entered the White House, border security, along with Covid-19, is a top priority. President Joe Biden has been struggling with the issue at the border and is being “attacked” for it. When entering the white house, there was a large issue which was a caravan coming up to the U.S./Mexico border consisting of thousands of people wanting to enter the U.S. This is not an uncommon site every once in a while, but the key idea was that they were wearing shirts that read “Biden Please Let Us In”, instantly the event revolved not around the immigrants just coming to the U.S., but that they were relying on Joe Biden to let them in. It proved the point that Joe Biden let people know, while running for office, that the U.S. would be open for people to come in (as many people refer to him saying). 

Child looking out across barbed wire fence.

    In any event, you can pick whatever political side you want. But with the constant battle it is important to look at the real statistics to develop an understanding of whether or not there in fact is a crisis at the border. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in February 2020 under the Trump administration, border security encountered 36,687 people attempting to enter the U.S. In comparison the same organization finds that under the Biden administration one year later in February 2021, there were 100,441 enforcement encounters. There is a significant increase in encounters over one year and in two different administrations. Many believe that the reason for this uptick was the Biden administration encouraging them to come and that they would be softer on the immigrants in regard to asylum and separating children from their families. Fox News recently published an article on the crisis at the border identifying specific statistics from CBP (US Customs and Border Protection) saying, “So far, encounters in fiscal year 2021 to date are 97% higher than fiscal year 2020 and 24% higher than fiscal year 2019 — when there was a crisis at the border. In fiscal year 2021 through February, officials encountered 29,792 UACs and single minors — over 3,000 of these children are under age of 12 and 26,850 are aged 13 to 17”(Olson and Jenkins). 

    Of course, as the leader of the free world any president would want to let as many people into the country as possible and for good reason, but there are so many other factors that come into play. For example right now there is a pandemic going on, which the US has suffered from a lot when compared to other countries. Recently, in an article published by Fox News, it states “More than 100 illegal immigrants released by the Border Patrol into Texas since late January have tested positive for the coronavirus following their arrival”(Norman and Jenkins). This illustrates how as of right now, while it may be necessary to help achieve these immigrants dream, the US is very fragile and now is not the time to have an increasing flow of people that also have not been tested. 

Statue of Liberty

Along with that there are issues revolving around a humanitarian issue at the border, contributing to the crisis. All of this is the first major problem (besides Covid-19) that the Biden administration is facing. However, when concluding this article and weighing the statistics I believe that it is clear that there is a crisis at the border and that it needs to be dealt with immediately, especially if it is putting the American people at risk.