Current Migrant Policies Reflect a Century of Abuses


Courtesy of the New York Times: The Biden administration has infuriated immigration advocates, who have criticized Biden for expelling Haitians.

Since the start of his term, President Joe Biden has ensured that the United States would meet its responsibilities as a country of laws and immigrants, by promising a “humane” approach in immigration policies.

Even with promises to reassert the country’s commitment to asylum-seekers, counteract Trump’s administration policies, and create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the Biden administration has managed to deport asylum seekers and disregard the abuses of Border Patrol’s institution. 

Border Patrol is managed by Customs and Border Protection and was established in 1924 at the height of anti-immigrant legislation in the U.S. Early border patrol agents were members of the KKK and the Texas Rangers, which are historically infamous for “protecting” the western frontier from Native Americans and Mexicans. 

CBP is the largest law enforcement agency in the U.S. with nearly 20,000 border patrol agents policing the United States’ border regions. Their focus is to “safeguard the American people from terrorists and their weapons, and drugs” and stop illegal immigrants from entering the U.S.

Border Patrol’s institution is rooted in human rights violations, and since their commencement, have continued to be plagued by accusations of human rights violations, such as unjustified shootings, verbal abuse, bludgeoning migrants with flashlights, rape, and denying food and medicine, all while experiencing impunity for their actions. 

CBP’s values and way of operating are a result of policies such as “prevention through deterrence,” which was introduced under Bill Clinton’s administration. The policy stresses that Border Patrol’s agents’ main focus is to deter future migrants from entering the U.S., by assuring that migrants’ experiences are as unpleasant as possible. These policies have failed since their commencement and have not resulted in less immigration, but rather more deaths of immigrants.  

Vice President Kamala Harris this summer, traveled to Guatemala and Mexico in hopes to grasp the “root causes” of migration from Central America to the U.S. Harris explicitly made clear that potential asylum seekers should not come to the U.S. This decision disregarded the forces driving out Central Americans from fleeing, such as poverty, violence, and corrupt governments, in which the U.S. historically played a role in destabilizing. 

      CBP’s extreme incompetence can additionally be seen in recent weeks, with over 12,000 Haitian asylum seekers arriving at the southern border. 

Declining conditions in Haiti, worsened by the pandemic, assassination of president Jobenel Moïse, and deadly 7.2 magnitude earthquake has caused an increase of Haitians to migrate. In Del Rio, Texas, border patrol agents demonstrated violence towards Haitian migrants, through the use of horses and whips. 

White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki announced that horses will be banned from being used in Del Rio, Texas. This ban is a great example of indirect attempts to solve immigration issues. The decision to ban horses, instead of holding CBP and the agents responsible for violent actions, lacks logical sense. 

  CBP states that migrants entering from the Southern border are at the “frontline” of the war on drugs. However, the majority of illegal drugs are smuggled to the U.S. through legal ports of entry. 

The grand majority of migrants that cross the border are not criminals. Last year less than 1% of people detained by Border Patrol had a criminal history. The most common conviction of detained migrants were illegal entry or re-entry into the U.S.  

Border patrol agents dehumanize immigrants. Through discriminatory training and practices, CBP arrests families, takes their belongings and places them in suffocating cells with ease. The mass majority of migrants have never been handcuffed, their first crimes have been coming to the U.S. for a better life. 

CBP emphasizes that migrants must enter the US legally. A legal way of entry is to apply for citizenship, which a grand majority of migrants are not knowledgeable on. The majority of migrants crossing are seeking asylum which is legal under U.S. and international law. 

Recently, the Biden administration has ruled to protect 700,000 Dreamers, who are young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, back to the deportation line. This proposal is not a permanent solution to the issue of immigration, as legislation is needed to permanently protect Dreamers from deportation. 

  It is virtually  impossible to analyze the extent of corruption and misconduct done by CBP at both the Southern and Northern U.S. borders due to a lack of public information, and the CBP failing to report their abuses to congress. 

A way to combat this corruption is to listen to individuals’ stories, journalists, and civil rights groups that report on CBP’s lack of transparency. 

In the 2020 Election, 52% of registered voters stated that immigration was “very important” to their vote in the election.  Said voters and the American public, must question state and national policies that implement immigration laws, under so-called “American values.”