74% of Registered Voters Believe Illegal Border Crossings Surge is Crisis that Must be Addressed Immediately, says Harvard-Harris Poll

Only 7% of Americans know there are between 150,000 and 200,000 illegal crossings a month. 

By Nolan Rappaport

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Texas Insider Report) — Is there a border crisis? According to President Joe Biden's Dept. of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (above, in Oval Office with Biden,) there isn’t – but the numbers indicate otherwise.

Illegal border crossings have reached a 20-year high. In the four months before Biden took office, illegal crossings averaged 70,000 a month. The number rose to:

Recidivism is a major problem. Approximately 38% of the illegal crossers arrested in May had tried to cross at least one other time in the past year. That’s up from an average one-year recidivism rate of 15% between 2014 and 2019.

Mayorkas claims that the numbers are misleading because they include the recidivists who make more than one illegal crossing, but the surge in recidivism is not a mitigating factor. It is part of the crisis.
Its happening because undocumented migrants can make as many illegal crossings as they want without fear of consequences. Illegal entry is a crime, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona didn’t prosecute any illegal crossers in May.

This encourages illegal crossers to keep trying until they succeed.

Border security measures are meaningless when the people who are deported today can come back tomorrow.

And once they have succeeded in reaching the interior of the country, they are home free.

It is extremely unlikely they will be put in removal proceedings unless they are convicted of a serious crime.

Biden replaced the removal grounds that Congress passed (into law) with three priority categories. Enforcement actions are limited to illegal aliens who pose a threat to national security, border security, or public safety. Exceptions are possible, but they require preapproval from senior supervisors.
  According to Ronald Vitiello, who was ICE’s acting director in 2018 and 2019,
Most Registered Voters Know There Is a Crisis

A Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll taken between June 15-17, 2021, found that 74% of the Registered Voters polled think the surge in illegal border crossings is a crisis that must be addressed immediately.

This is particularly significant because:
  • 84% of them underestimated the number of illegal crossings.
    • Only 7% knew there are between 150,000 and 200,000 illegal crossings a month. 
  • 80% consider Illegal Immigration to be a “serious” problem,
    • 43% believe it is a “very serious” one.
  • Only 36% think that Biden should continue his current border security polices,
    • 64% think he should issue stricter policies to reduce illegal crossings.
  • 68% think Biden’s Immigration Executive Orders encourage illegal immigration, and
    • 55% think that his border policies are increasing the flow of drugs and crime into the United States.
  • 55% think Biden should have left former president Donald Trump’s immigration executive orders in place.
  • 67% think that illegal crossers should be turned back to Mexico.
  • 61% believe that the flood of 10s of 1,000s of unaccompanied alien children is Biden’s fault.
The Border Patrol apprehends 1,000s of unaccompanied children every month at the border with Mexico: 5,688 in January; 9,269 in February; 18,724 in March; 16,910 in April; and 13,906 in May.

And according to the DHS Fiscal 2020 Enforcement Lifecycle Report,
  • only 4.3% of the 290,000 unaccompanied children who came here between Fiscal Years 2014 and 2019 were returned to their own countries.
State Governors Know Too

The governors of 20 states sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris last month asking them to take immediate action to end the crisis at the southern border. They claimed that the crisis is spilling over the border states into all of their states.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (below left,) issued disaster declarations to activate emergency resources for dealing with the crisis. This has authorized them to request help in securing their borders from the other states pursuant to the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

They told the other states that help is needed to respond to the surge in illegal migration and "the accompanying threats to private property and to the safety of our citizens.” So far, four states have said they are going to send law enforcement officers.

State Action is Not a Solution

Although the states may be able to arrest illegal crossers and charge them with state and local offenses, such as trespassing, they will not be able to return them to Mexico.

The presence of state and local police and national guardsmen in the vicinity of the border is likely to deter illegal crossings, but this will only divert the crossings to the California and New Mexico borders with Mexico.

This will be particularly hard on California – which according to the DHS January 2021 estimates, already has more undocumented aliens than any other state.

Biden Knew His Actions Would Cause a Border Crisis

The month before he was sworn in, Biden said he wasn’t going to make good on his immigration campaign promises right away. If he ended Trump’s remain in Mexico program and the rest of his border security measures too soon, it could result in 2 million immigrants appearing at our border.

He said it would probably take six months to prepare for implementing new border security measures. But he made most of the changes the day he took the oath of office.


​​​​​​​Nolan Rappaport served as an Immigration Counsel for the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security & Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, Rappaport wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow his blog at https://nolanrappaport.blogspot.com.