A 2018 Gallup poll revealed that more than 750 million adults would like to migrate to the United States. If even some of them brought children, that number could easily top 1 billion.
That’s more than three times the population of the United States… the equivalent of most of China moving here.
It wasn’t always like that. In 2012, the number was only 150 million. Has the rest of the world gotten so much worse in the last six years? Is America looking that much better?
One thing is certain: getting into the U.S. is looking a whole lot easier. The entire world knows about the “asylum” loophole in our immigration system. It encourages people to: sneak across the border as a “family” (real or manufactured); find a border patrol agent to surrender to; claim to be refugees with a “credible fear” of persecution, and demand asylum.
Having done that, they can expect to be processed quickly and then either detained briefly or just released into the U.S. with a court date. Few ever show up for that court hearing. The vast majority simply move on to a sanctuary city or elsewhere, and hope the U.S. government never comes after them.
Americans usually view illegal border crossing as a Latin America problem, with most illegal immigration coming from Mexico and Central America. That’s been historically true, and it still is.
But – and here is the big “but” – there have always been what’s labeled as OTM or Other Than Mexicans in the mix. A small number of OTMs traditionally include Asians, as well as Africans and people from Middle Eastern countries.
Last year the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 248,690 OTMs trying to enter illegally. That was a record. And, of course, that number does not include those who slipped across our borders and eluded capture.
You can expect bigger numbers this year and for as long as the asylum loophole remains in place. Experts predict an especially large jump in the number of economic migrants from Asia.
In the past, what most alarmed Americans about OTMs was the possibility of terrorists sneaking across the Rio Grande undetected. We have scant evidence of that happening. Indeed, over the last few years, we’ve seen very little successful terrorist travel across the border or through the ports of entry.
That’s not to say it won’t happen. Terrorists will be trying to get to the U.S. through all means possible. But shutting the border isn’t the best way to keep terrorists out. After all, no one recommends closing banks as the best way to stop bank robbers. No, the best way to stop terrorists is to find them before they get to our borders, and kill them where they’re found.
The overwhelming majority of OTM at the border are neither terrorists nor refugees. They are economic migrants. They want to get to the U.S. to make a buck.
Still, they are a big-time security problem. That’s because the criminal cartels are just as comfortable smuggling humans as they are smuggling drugs. They’re more than happy to charge people from Asia, Africa and the Middle East a premium to be ferried across the U.S. border.
Left unchecked, this will become a massive, global criminal enterprise. Fueled with additional cash, the criminal networks and transnational gangs will put their practices on steroids, making America’s streets – not just its borders – far less safe.
There is another problem as well. As more and more migrants – from all corners of the world – flood into our country, citizens will be increasingly angered. Taxpayers will increasingly resent having to bear the soaring costs of illegal immigration. They already think it is unfair that illegal immigrants jump the line over those who wait to enter lawfully. And they don’t like to see economic migrants clogging the system so that the government can’t focus on helping persecuted refugees.
While the world increasingly beats a path to America’s backdoor, the administration is racing to do whatever it can to keep the door from being battered down completely. This week the White House issued an executive order with a raft of new measures to try to make it harder for illegal aliens to exploit the asylum claims loophole.
It would be nice if the government had a partner in managing this crisis, but so far Congress has been AWOL. The White House stands alone in its struggle to leave the welcome mat out while the world tries to sneak in the backdoor.