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Border backtracking

The U.S.-Mexico border isn’t open, but a migrant surge and a mishmash of messages and policies have created another crisis


Migrants from Central America, seeking U.S. asylum, arrive in Texas after crossing the Rio Grande in an inflatable boat. Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

Border backtracking
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A disoriented-looking Honduran man clutched the arm of his 8-year-old daughter as though someone would snatch her away—and that was a good possibility. Local cartels have eyes everywhere at the border between Reynosa, Mexico, and McAllen, Texas. But the man didn’t even know where he was.

They had crossed the border into the United States somewhere else the day before. By next morning, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials had expelled them to Reynosa under a pandemic-era public health statute called Title 42. I saw them climb out of a white CBP van with about 10 other migrants from Central America and Mexico, then wander from the international bridge to a busy intersection.

“This is Reynosa,” a woman warned him when she saw him standing still, looking lost: “Es muy peligroso. You can’t just stand around here.” The man nodded and gripped his daughter’s arm tighter. The girl leaned on the crook of his arm, her hazel eyes fluttering with fatigue. She wore a Minnie Mouse sweatshirt and pink shoes. The father wore a blue button-down shirt and jeans. They carried nothing else.

Francisco, from Honduras, cradles his 9-month-old daughter after crossing the Rio Grande on a raft into the United States.

Francisco, from Honduras, cradles his 9-month-old daughter after crossing the Rio Grande on a raft into the United States. Rees Latif/Reuters/Alamy

The father, who declined to give his name, said he lost his job and couldn’t feed his family after two hurricanes hit Honduras and Guatemala. The pandemic destroyed an already tattered economy, and organized crime ravaged his neighborhood. Friends told him to seek asylum in the United States: “Now’s the time to go,” they urged, saying President Joe Biden had opened the border. So the man left. The only way to survive, he thought, was to find employment in the United States and send money back home. He and his daughter traveled by bus to the U.S.-Mexican border to seek asylum.

But his friends were wrong: The border is not open.

So on this day in late March, they stood dazed, staring at a cartel-ridden city in a foreign country, without money to return home. “I’m asking God what to do,” the father said, raising his eyes to the sky. A block away at a small public park, about 200 migrants lay on mats fashioned out of filthy blankets and scrunched-up jackets—all homeless and penniless after being expelled within the last several weeks.

When the Trump administration ended, the Biden administration stepped in promising a more compassionate border enforcement. But the reality at the border has not changed much. Though Biden has unwound some of former President Donald Trump’s hard-line border policies—most notably the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), sometimes known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy—he has turned away most migrants by keeping Title 42. While mixed messages prompt new waves of migrants to head for the U.S. border, a backlogged and broken immigration system keeps many of them waiting in border camps or crude U.S. facilities.

Homeless migrants expelled from the United States sleep under a gazebo at a public park in Reynosa.

Homeless migrants expelled from the United States sleep under a gazebo at a public park in Reynosa. Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION first cited Title 42 in March 2020 to limit the spread of COVID-19, and it effectively rendered the asylum system inaccessible. Under Title 42, border officials have expelled more than 350,000 migrants and asylum-seekers at the southern border, including about 16,000 unaccompanied children, without asylum interviews. On Nov. 18, 2020, a district court order blocked Trump officials from expelling unaccompanied children. Biden officials have allowed unaccompanied minors in for humanitarian reasons but have otherwise continued expelling the majority of people crossing the border, including asylum-seekers and families such as that Honduran man and his 8-year-old daughter.

After a brief lull during the pandemic, the number of CBP encounters at the southwest border has steadily increased since last summer. Then it spiked from 78,442 to 100,441 between January and February. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas warned in a statement that the United States is “on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years.”

A surge in border apprehensions is neither unexpected nor unprecedented. The CBP usually sees seasonal spikes in the spring, and the number of unauthorized migrants released into the United States, including unaccompanied minors, is still lower than in 2014, 2016, and 2019. The statistics on encounters can also be deceiving: They include counts of the same individuals attempting to cross multiple times. Because Title 42 rapidly expels individuals with fewer penalties, more people have tried crossing the border again and again after expulsion. Single adults made up about 71 percent of the southwest border apprehensions in February.

Unaccompanied minors wait for their turn at the secondary processing station inside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Donna, Texas.

Unaccompanied minors wait for their turn at the secondary processing station inside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Donna, Texas. Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

The new problem is the spike in unaccompanied minors crossing the border when the government doesn’t have the capacity to house them all, partly due to pandemic restrictions. In January, border agents encountered 5,694 unaccompanied children at the southwest border. That number shot up to 9,297 in February. About 75 percent of these children are ages 15 to 17, but some of them are 6 or younger. Federal law only allows them to spend 72 hours in Border Patrol facilities, which were never equipped to hold children. But a CBP senior official said the average migrant is spending about 90 hours there in overcrowded conditions. As of April 5, about 4,700 unaccompanied children were being held in Border Patrol facilities and another 14,300 in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) facilities and other makeshift shelters.

Many Republican leaders flew down to the border to film themselves blaming Biden’s “open border” policies for the border crisis. They say halting MPP lights a “welcome sign” at the border. But progressive Democrats are equally displeased with Biden: They point out he should have been better prepared to handle the thousands of unaccompanied children. They’re also upset that he’s still expelling asylum-seekers under Title 42.

Immigration experts say what we’re seeing is a crisis that’s years in the making. Historically, the vast majority of unauthorized border crossers have been single adults from Mexico. In the last several years, a growing population crossing the border are asylum-seeking families and children fleeing extreme poverty and violence in Central America (and now increasingly from southern Mexico).

Instead of addressing these larger, long-term forces, the Trump administration relied on policies like MPP and family separation to deter people from entering the United States. Since early 2019, Trump officials forced more than 71,000 asylum-seekers to await their cases in Mexico under MPP, which immigration experts and advocates say created a humanitarian mess and logistical chaos at the border.

Fatima Nayeli (center), 13, her sister Cynthia Stacy, 8, and Davidson Jair, 7, answer questions after they were smuggled on an inflatable raft across the Rio Grande in Roma, Texas. All three children traveled from El Salvador in the hope of reaching relatives living in the United States.

Fatima Nayeli (center), 13, her sister Cynthia Stacy, 8, and Davidson Jair, 7, answer questions after they were smuggled on an inflatable raft across the Rio Grande in Roma, Texas. All three children traveled from El Salvador in the hope of reaching relatives living in the United States. Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

WHILE TRUMP WAS CLEAR about his anti-immigration stance, Biden’s messaging has been wishy-washy. He campaigned on ending Trump-era immigration policies, but Biden has since backtracked as his team struggles to tamp the migration flow to the border. From the start, White House officials have warned hopeful migrants not to leave their country. By mid-March, White House southern border coordinator Roberta Jacobson announced a clearer message: “The message isn’t, ‘Don’t come now,’ it’s, ‘Don’t come in this way, ever.’ The way to come to the United States is through legal pathways.”

That’s not what people are hearing in their hometowns. Amalia Perez Perez, a 35-year-old indigenous farmer from ­Chiapas, an impoverished southeastern Mexican state, arrived at the Mata­moros-Brownsville border seeking asylum in early March with her husband and three children. She told me she heard on local broadcast news that the Biden administration was “letting in people like us.” The news probably meant MPP enrollees, but Perez misunderstood that Biden had opened doors to all asylum-seekers.

At the time, local political groups were warring one another and threatening farmers in her community. Perez feared mostly for her 17-year-old son, because these groups often forcibly ­recruit teenage boys. So in January, Perez’s family packed up and traveled north, only to discover that the border was closed.

Vilma Iris Peraza, 28, from Honduras, collapses crying with her two children on the Paso del Norte bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, after finding out they were expelled from the United States.

Vilma Iris Peraza, 28, from Honduras, collapses crying with her two children on the Paso del Norte bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, after finding out they were expelled from the United States. Daniel Berehulak/The New York Times/Redux

Now they’re staying at a church shelter in Matamoros, Mexico, uncertain of where to go. Perez says they cannot go back to Chiapas, and they feel unsafe anywhere in Mexico, where organized crime groups are well connected everywhere. When she and her husband discuss their future, “I get very sad and stressed,” Perez told me: “The only thing we can do is pray that the Lord will touch the heart of Biden and let us in.”

Such misinformation travels swiftly through word of mouth and only benefits smugglers and cartels all too happy to fuel and capitalize on it. Their victims are migrants themselves. Wendy Marta, a 26-year-old woman who’s five months pregnant, said she left Honduras two months ago with her 6-year-old daughter and her 40-year-old mother. The father of her children had recently abandoned her, and she was afraid of threats of violence in her hometown. “We heard the border is open,” Marta told me.

Her family crossed the border about a month ago, but U.S. officials expelled them into Reynosa. When I met them, they had been sleeping outdoors by the bridge for weeks, with two backpacks and no shoes. When the Mexican police kicked them out, they moved to a public park nearby. Like the infamous migrant camp that burgeoned to about 2,500 homeless asylum-seekers in Matamoros, that park in Reynosa is becoming a makeshift campsite for expelled migrants like Marta, many of them families with young children. And it’s about to get worse.

Migrants run to cross the Rio Grande to get to El Paso, Texas.

Migrants run to cross the Rio Grande to get to El Paso, Texas. Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images

BESIDES THE CHALLENGES at the border itself, the U.S. also faces the longer-term challenges of fixing a gutted asylum system and unclogging immigration courts, which have more than two years’ worth of backlogged cases. Some asylum-seekers probably won’t qualify for asylum because they’re primarily looking for work, not fleeing persecution.

Biden officials said they will expedite the asylum process so that asylum-seekers can receive a decision in weeks, not years. That means those who are legitimately fleeing violence can find faster relief, while others who came for economic reasons will be swiftly sent back, which may disincentivize others from seeking asylum. Biden’s advisers said they want to create legal pathways to apply for protection in the United States while in other countries, and Biden’s sweeping immigration reform bill, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, includes ambitious provisions to address the “root causes” of migration.

Leaders from both sides agree that the immigration system is long overdue for comprehensive reform, but the White House’s bill faces a steep hill in Congress, which has focused on piecemeal reforms.

Meanwhile, the situation at the border is grim: Mexican border towns are still filled with desperate people seeking any means of survival. Erick Maradiaga, a 34-year-old asylum-seeker, said he fled Honduras after receiving death threats from cartels. It took him two weeks to convince his 12-year-old son to cross the border alone with his 13-year-old daughter. The boy cried, “But what if you die here? What if I never see you again?”

By then, Maradiaga and his children had been living in a tent at the makeshift migrant camp in Matamoros for more than six months due to MPP. Each time Maradiaga heard about yet another asylum-seeker being kidnapped or attacked by cartels, or saw bloated corpses floating in the river, he trembled. About half of the migrants at the camp sent their children alone across the border.

It was a chilly Sunday night when his children crossed. He took one last picture of them standing in the dark. The girl wore a bright pink jacket, the boy a black sweatshirt. They both wore brave smiles. Maradiaga watched them cross the international bridge from below at the camp. He couldn’t cry out goodbye, and his kids couldn’t turn around to wave at him, knowing authorities would turn them back if they knew their father was present.

That was January 2020, the last time Maradiaga saw his children in person. They reunited with their mother in Kansas City, Mo. She had crossed the border first with another 4-year-old son in March 2019, just before the Trump administration expanded MPP across the entire southern border. Today, Maradiaga is still stuck in Mexico by himself. As he talked about his family, his eyes began dripping, and he wept silently for a few minutes. Before, he used to pray that God would change Trump’s heart. Now, he prays for Biden’s heart.

John Moore/Getty Images

Who’s getting in?

Currently, immigration officials are releasing only three categories of migrant populations into the U.S.: unaccompanied migrant children under the age of 18; asylum-seekers enrolled under MPP, whom the Biden administration is allowing into the U.S. in gradual trickles; and some families with children under age 7 who crossed in certain areas.

Due to a new child protection law, Mexican authorities in the Tamaulipas state (which borders the Rio Grande Valley) are refusing to accept families with young children. The Biden administration is flying many such families to other sectors in El Paso and San Diego, expelling about 100 people a day to Mexico from there. But according to a CBP official, the majority of families with young children are being released to sponsors in the U.S., a policy some call “catch and release.”

Even some Demo­crats in border communities are criticizing that policy: “When you create a system that incentivizes people to come across, and they are released, that immediately sends a message to Central America that if you come across you can stay,” Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, whose South Texas district sits near the border with Mexico, told The Washington Post.

Biden officials said they’re working with Mexico to expand their capacity to accept these families. —S.L.


Sophia Lee

Sophia is a senior reporter for WORLD Magazine. She is a World Journalism Institute and University of Southern California graduate. Sophia resides in Los Angeles, Calif., with her husband.

@SophiaLeeHyun

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Tim Miller

Heartbreaking and moving.

Immigration is a fundraiser for both parties, but human beings suffer because of it. America has plenty of room and opportunity for hard working people. Lets have both secure borders and a warm welcome to families who are looking for freedom.

Salty1Tim Miller

I as a Republican don’t view immigration as a “fundraising opportunity” and I don’t see my fellow Republicans as seeing it that way either. Their are opportunistic people in the Republican Party but they are a small minority. Soros and other radicals have attempted to change America by using immigration, BLM, AntiFa, “No Police”, COVID, removing statues, wokism, and other issues to remove the vestiges of Christianity from our society. At heart, this is the issue and it is the reason I speak up against an uncontrolled border. Pushing people into our country to change our political color is racism! Pushing a woke mentality that idolizes diversity above God’s standards is idolatry. And for Christians to hold to a simplistic view that the more illegal immigrants allowed in the more spiritual we are shows a gross misunderstanding of scripture!

Not Silent

For Cyborg, thanks for your apology.  I know from personal experience that it can be hard to communicate with love in a rapidly changing and challenging situation when there are points of disagreement-and that it's easy to lash out. I forgive you and wish you blessings.

Salty1Not Silent

Thank you. I will try to be more Christlike in my communication in the future.

Cyborg3

Mickey, thanks for pointing out my rather harsh words in reply to Not Silent. I apologize and ask Not Silent to forgive me. Our love for the saints should trump all, and I let my anger for what is happening politically color my response to my sister in Christ. As such, I will take a sabbatical from posting and will focus on prayer for our country and for our fellow believers in Christ. Thanks.

Not Silent

In response to Cyborg: I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on the definition of "open borders." 

Ironically, you did exactly what I said people do whenever I question any conservative person or position: you deliberately mischaracterized my comment by saying I must be a cold person not to care about the children even though I clearly said in my comment, "I agree that these things are heartbreaking and even infuriating and I understand why they make your blood boil."  You also mischaracterized my comment by saying I must be "for the massive flow of illegal immigrants" because I said I didn't agree with the previous administration.  The situation isn't that binary, Cyborg. It's not as if disagreeing with Mr. Trump AUTOMATICALLY means I agree with Mr. Biden.  I agreed with Mr. Trump about SOME THINGS, and I agree with Mr. Biden about others; but I still hope for better solutions than either has used so far. 

There were children (and adults) dying at the border during Mr. Trump's administration, and I cared about those children just like I care about the ones dying now. I have said numerous times that I don't think either administration has figured out the best way to deal with the crisis at the border. In both cases, political posturing and policies based more on politics than on compassion, fairness, or effectiveness have made things worse (i.e., in Mr. Biden's case, giving the impression that anyone would be allowed in the US when it is not actually true). I would agree with you that there is a lot of hypocrisy in politics, in the media, and even among Christians.  I would also agree that one way to deal with the crisis at the border would be by helping to improve stability in the areas where most migrants come from.  

I understand your desire to view my story about someone going off on me about Communism in a way that fits your own experiences, Cyborg; but the incident happened many years ago-before there were all these concerns about Big Tech (and MANY years before Black LIves Matter existed). I wasn't triggered, per se; I was surprised that someone would bring up Communism and start lecturing about it when neither I nor the topic had anything to do with Communism. It's possible that I misread the intentions of the other person; and, if so, I'm sorry. But you have DEFINITELY misread MY views and MY position.

As far as people online "not liking me," I dabated atheists online for years; and it would not have been possible if I got easily triggered or if I could not handle people "not liking me" and/or strongly disagreeing with me.  I may not have seen it all; but, on those forums, my words were twisted into pretzels, people tried to intellectually bully me, people used incredibly offensive and blasphmeous comments to try to provoke me into responding angrily (so they could attack me about that), people actually threatened me and my family, and etc, etc. I saw the most ridiculous misinformation about God and the Bible all the time, and it was frustrating and discouraging; but God gave me strength and provided answers in EVERY SINGLE CASE.  I did it in his strength and not by using my own wit, intelllect, or views.

As I've said before, to me, the gospel and doing God's will is the most important thing. Obviously, things like political parties are important-as are individual politicians, various policies, and who wins elections.  But God is still God regardless of how things go in one election in one nation out of thousands of years of human history. I can only do what I can do, and I am trying to do God's will the best I can.  I admit that I am not always right about issues, but I'm willing to learn and to try to find common ground with others who disagree with me (as long as it does not mean compromising the gospel).

World’S McLean

Cyborg3: Please stick to arguing ideas but leave personal references about other commenters out of your comments. For example, calling a fellow commenter "cold" or "emotionally needy" is not appropriate on this forum.

Not Silent

In response to Cyborg: I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on the definition of "open borders." 

Ironically, you did exactly what I said people do whenever I question any conservative person or position: you deliberately mischaracterized my comment by saying I must be a cold person not to care about the children even though I clearly said in my comment, "I agree that these things are heartbreaking and even infuriating and I understand why they make your blood boil."  You also mischaracterized my comment by saying I must be "for the massive flow of illegal immigrants" because I said I didn't agree with the previous administration.  The situation isn't that binary, Cyborg. It's not as if disagreeing with Mr. Trump AUTOMATICALLY means I agree with Mr. Biden.  I agreed with Mr. Trump about SOME THINGS, and I agree with Mr. Biden about others; but I still hope for better solutions than either has used so far. 

There were children (and adults) dying at the border during Mr. Trump's administration, and I cared about those children just like I care about the ones dying now. I have said numerous times that I don't think either administration has figured out the best way to deal with the crisis at the border. In both cases, political posturing and policies based more on politics than on compassion, fairness, or effectiveness have made things worse (i.e., in Mr. Biden's case, giving the impression that anyone would be allowed in the US when it is not actually true). I would agree with you that there is a lot of hypocrisy in politics, in the media, and even among Christians.  I would also agree that one way to deal with the crisis at the border would be by helping to improve stability in the areas where most migrants come from.  

I understand your desire to view my story about someone going off on me about Communism in a way that fits your own experiences, Cyborg; but the incident happened many years ago-before there were all these concerns about Big Tech. I wasn't triggered, per se; I was surprised that someone would bring up Communism and start lecturing about it when neither I nor the topic had anything to do with Communism. It's possible that I misread the intentions of the other person; and, if so, I'm sorry. But you have DEFINITELY misread MY views and MY position.

As far as people online "not liking me," I dabated atheists online for years; and it would not have been possible if I got easily triggered or if I could not handle people "not liking me" and/or strongly disagreeing with me.  I may not have seen it all; but, on those forums, my words were twisted into pretzels, people tried to intellectually bully me, people used incredibly offensive and blasphmeous comments to try to provoke me into responding angrily (so they could attack me about that), people actually threatened me and my family, and etc, etc. I saw the most ridiculous misinformation about God and the Bible all the time, and it was frustrating and discouraging; but God gave me strength and provided answers in EVERY SINGLE CASE.  I did it in his strength and not by using my own wit, intelllect, or views.

As I've said before, to me, the gospel and doing God's will is the most important thing. Obviously, things like political parties are important-as are individual politicians, various policies, and who wins elections.  But God is still God regardless of how things go in one election in one nation out of thousands of years of human history. I can only do what I can do, and I am trying to do God's will the best I can.  I admit that I am not always right about issues, but I'm willing to learn and to try to find common ground with others who disagree with me (as long as it does not mean compromising the gospel).

Cyborg3

Here is my reply to Not Silent:

I can't speak for everyone, of course; but even the most liberal people I know (i.e. people who supported Bernie Sanders and who admire AOC) are not in favor of "open borders." There may be some who DO support literal open borders, but I doubt that applies to the vast majority of people in the US, whether they are liberal or conservative. 

When you have a border where all people have to do is throw their kids over a wall and they are allowed in. When you have families coming in where they are given a court date three years away and the people are allowed to stay then that is an open border (catch and release). When you have hordes of people sneaking across the border evading the border patrol then you have open borders. 

At the rate we are letting people in, we will have a million new people  by the end of the year, that we know about, and probably over a million that we don’t know about. Now when we look at the population of Wyoming, it is under 600,000 and we are letting in over 2 million people? This doesn’t include all the people killed trying to get here.

I'm pointing this out because I think the term is used to characterize people who question any conservative person or policy and produce immediate outrage against them, whether or not that outrage is actually justified. 

You are a pretty cold person to care so little for the children abandoned on our border! Did you see the video of the 3 yr old and 5 yr old girls dropped over the border at night? How about the picture of the Texas Ranger holding the immigrant 6-month little girl who was thrown out of an inflatable raft by cartel smugglers? Or how about the border patrol agents racing the girl to shore so they could perform CPR on her? You hear them working frantically trying to save the nine-year old girl. How about the little boy being left by the cartel smugglers all by himself in the wilderness, afraid and alone? Trump did his very best to shut down the flow of illegal immigrants because he was smart enough to see the consequences of allowing it to continue - what we see today.  

Biden said while campaigning that he would allow immigrants to come to America, he would reverse Trumps policies on immigration and much more. Due to this rhetoric, we have the immigration crisis of today, though Biden tries to downplay and ignore it. The irony is that the social justice crowd were real quick to condemn Trump as a racist but his actions saved many lives and produced the most justice. The truth is that the Trump supporters are the least racist.  Now Biden creates this immigration crisis and the social justice crowd don’t say a word - or very little. They still complain about Trump’s immigration policy and try to jail the administrators who pushed his policies. 

Our outrage is directed at those who claim to be Christians, yet they vote in such a fashion that brings about the very injustice that they claim to be against. I understand that at the end of the day you have to vote for the person that your conscience requires you. I would have it no other way. But still, don’t we have the right to point out the hypocrisy when it glaringly reveals itself? I think so.

It reminds me of a situation in the past when I questioned something on a conservative website, and the other person immediately went off on me with a lecture about how "communism doesn't work."  My question had nothing to do with communism.  

There could be a whole lot of reasons why this is true. One possibility is that Big Tech has brought the science of propaganda to a whole new level where their goal is to get conservatives, moderates, independents, and libertarians to vote for their liberal candidates. One way to do that is to make the conservative view look obnoxious and the way they do that is to create fake profiles acting as a conservative and they say all kinds of racist and obnoxious things. Some people are paid to do this, some leftists do this for a lark, and some are programmed Artificial Intelligence (AI) bots. Sometimes the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, Israelis, French, Iranians, Saudis, Australians and even Americans do the same to promote or denigrate some cause.  Propaganda works better than censorship so you must understand this when you go on social media and the Internet. 

So even some conservatives grow tired and irritated in that environment and may lash out for they are triggered by the disinformation campaign. There are thousands of ways to change a person’s perspective and to be obnoxious so the propagandists do in some way have an advantage. Have you ever seen someone post a lucid thought and immediately 20 posts appear hiding that thought? Sometimes there are just a lot of people on the platform and sometimes not where it is a concerted effort at disinformation. 

I was flabbergasted and asked, "Do you think I'm a COMMUNIST?" and the converation basically shut down after that.  

You are too easily triggered and appear very emotionally needy for the approval of others. The real truth is that not everyone will like you and that is just life. Some people will misunderstand what you say and sometimes you will misunderstand what they say. Sometimes we will talk past one another. Mix in the propaganda wars and you have a real mess! Rather than become alarmed, try to understand where they come from and don’t worry about it.

If you are in some fashion supporting BLM by your comments, then somebody who is informed may think you are a supporter of communism because BLM leaders ARE communists. They are trying to use race to divide the country and overthrow it bringing communism.  

As Christians, we need to seek clarity, be truthful, and exemplify the love of Christ in all things. We need to be knowledgeable about the issues and understand the workings of men.  If our concern is for the glory of God and we do these things, we don’t have to fear what others think. 

I realized later that my question had highlighted a false belief that some people had at the time: that merely questioning a conservative somehow made me a communist or meant I needed to hear why capitalism is better than communism.  

I think you misunderstood them or they misunderstood you. 

Likewise, just because someone questions a conservative person or position, it does not mean they are for "open borders."  

Allowing a million people to come into your country IS allowing open borders. 

Acting as if they do tends to shut down any further reasonable discussion.

Well, maybe the discussion should be how we can eliminate this crisis on the border by stopping the flow of people. This will stop much injustice- if we are really concerned about justice. 

I do think it's true that there has been quite a bit of dishonestly and hypocrisy about the situation at the border, and it has caused great pain for many people. But, just because I agree that the current situaiton is marked by dishonesty and hypocrisy does not mean that I prefer the policies of the previous adminstration!  

Then essentially you are for the massive flow of illegal immigrants because Trump’s policies were significantly stopping the flow and preventing much injustice! 

Frankly, I don't think either of the major political parties has figured out the best way to deal with this crisis; and I think the tendency of both to cover that fact with political posturing and pointing fingers at the other side has only made things worse.   

The Democrats are attempting to exploit the crisis for power. They changed California into a solid Democratic state by opening the flow of illegal immigration. They are attempting to do that with the rest of the nation. All the attacks today against our Christian cause are because of the policies of the Democrats: elimination of religious freedoms, abortion on demand, transgenderism, the PC woke mentality, destroying our heritage, eliminating Christianity from the public square, eliminating our second amendment, promoting racism, having a multi-tiered justice system, a fraudulent election system and so much more evil. 

For Cyborg, specifically: I agree with you that these things are heartbreaking and even infuriating, and I understand why they make your blood boil. 

Why doesn’t it seem to impact you? Or does it?

But exaggeration and misinformation will not help those poor people. 

I am not exaggerating and providing misinformation!  All of these cases that I showed are well documented and you can actually view the video if you really cared about the children. 

Specifically, it is inaccurate to act as if these problems began with Mr. Biden (i.e., you said that the borders were controlled by the cartels, but surely you don't think the cartels suddenly took over when Mr. Biden was elected!). 

If you were observant, you would notice this recent problem happened after Biden was supposedly elected. Once he became president, then we saw this mass influx of people. It grows worse every day.

Certainly, the border problem has been with us a long time, but the recent crisis was the result of Biden. 

There have been "migrant caravans" for years, and some of them happened when Mr. Trump was president. 

Yes, we have had a broken immigration system for years and the goals of the Democrats (which I don’t agree with) doesn’t align with the Republicans (which I do agree with generally). This impasse prevents anything from getting done but I don’t believe compromise with the Democrats will benefit us either, unfortunately. As we speak now, the Democrats would love to make the many illegal immigrants citizens as they would be another demographic voting block voting predominantly for them.

I personally find it frustrating that Mr. Trump was criticized for creating a "crisis" and that Mr. Biden intially "got a pass" on a similar (and possibly worse) crisis. 

I would agree with you on this.

But, as I already expressed above, it seems clear that neither major political party has figured out how to deal with the large numbers of refugees and migrants who keep coming to this country in a way that is fair, just, and compassionate. 

I think Trump’s approach is the most just and compassionate way possible. Stopping the flow of illegal immigrants into this country will stop injustice on many dimensions. We will prevent the flow of drugs coming into the country. We will prevent the exploitation of workers trapped in slave labor. It will decrease the number of men and women forced into prostitution. It will decrease the women and children raped by the coyotes and other sexual predators. It will prevent the killing of many children in the dangerous journey coming to America. It will decrease the power of the cartels as they would get less money as they exploit the immigrants and transfer drugs into America. It would prevent terrorists from getting into America. It prevents the injustice done to Americans by the terrorists. It prevents the dangerous gangs and killers coming to America. It prevents the injustice done to Americans by the gangs and killers.  It prevents the injustice to the poor of America, by them having more difficultly due to the immigrants taking away jobs from them and decreasing their pay. It also decreases the power of our vote as more and more people are able to vote. It also takes away from our American culture as more and more people come in with other beliefs without a loyalty to our country. 

You talk about being compassionate and loving but governments aren’t setup to be that way. Taking money away from the taxpayer to be “compassionate” and “loving” by a bureaucratic organization is folly at best. Here I am not saying individuals can’t be loving and compassionate (like we see in the videos of the Border Patrol) but the organizations aren’t setup for this. Nonprofits and churches however can be setup to do this where we should direct the effort. This may mean helping new immigrants get adjusted and transition to life in America. It may involve helping illegal aliens transition the legal process to becoming citizens or returning to their country of origin. It may involve sending out missionaries, rural development individuals, business development people, health care workers, engineers or others to assist the prospering of Gods people in foreign lands. 

One area the government can perform help is to enable stability in areas such as Central America, South America and Africa. Working on eliminate the drug cartels and other organizations in organized crime would help eliminate much injustice and instability. Promoting good leaders would also benefit and help the people. Keeping China out of these regions where they only care to exploit these countries should also be a priority. 

The government leaders must also decide how much money we have to help immigrants and refugees in a fiscally and responsible way. How many immigrants can our country healthily absorb in a year taking into factors such how the numbers of immigrants will impact the poor US citizens. Will it take jobs away from the poor? Will the new immigrants be a radical change in the demographics of our country? Will the ideologies of the new immigrants foster a love of their newfound country? Will they be loyal citizens? Can they economically prosper in our country or will they just be an economic drain of resources? All of these questions and considerations need to be evaluated in determining who we allow in and how many people we allow into our country. 

I also get that you disagree with me and others like me who could not in good conscience vote for either Mr. Biden or Mr. Trump, and I'm okay with that because I think it was a very difficult choice for most people.  

But it is very frustrating that you seem intent on attacking me and others who, like you, did not vote for Mr. Biden and do not support all his policies.  Even worse, you seem to blame us for policies and platforms we never supported and had no role in implementing-and which were put in place by someone we did NOT VOTE FOR!  

Indirectly, you did vote for those bad policies and platforms by not supporting the man who would fight them. A third party candidate is a wasted vote and I cannot think of any third party candidate who got elected to a significant position in our recent past. 

Now I have every right to point out issues and positions that had more people voted for Trump would have resulted in different outcomes significantly benefiting our Christian cause. You may feel that you did right in your vote, but if I point out many significant issues that are hurting the Christian cause that the Democrats supports, then that is all the more reason why you should have voted for Trump.  Each day we look, the situation looks more dire where even now they are considering packing the Supreme Court. If you cannot see how the Democrats are bad for the Christian cause, then I would have to say you have absolutely no good moral judgment in you. Now I know good Christians who have an environmental bent, have a contorted view of immigration justice, have idealistic notions of the Democrat cause, have a family tradition of voting Democrat or are overall nonpolitical so they vote Democrat, but we need to educate these people about what they stand for and how it hurts our Christian cause. 

I understand World’s views (and others) on applying a moral litmus test to a candidate before voting for them, but this is pure folly when the end result is a candidate that is far worse who will destroy our Christian cause. I do believe God put Trump before us to show our hypocrisy where divorce and moral infidelity is common in the church where some will use that to eliminate voting for a political candidate. If we look to our Bibles God has used unbelieving political leaders to protect God’s people in the past. Even the believing leaders sometimes fell into great sin (such as David) and God still used them as political leaders. We should not fall into the never-Trump trap and end up destroying our Christian cause that we claim to support. Many of the never- Trumpers are against our Christian cause.

Not Silent

I think part of the problem is not that there actually IS an open border policy but the PERCEPTION "on the street" that the border is "open.'  I think it's true that the word went out that the new administration was going to let anyone in who could get here, and people who were desperate (and people who wanted to take advantage of those who were desperate) acted on the information.  From what I've seen in multiple sources, the border is not actually open: i.e., the diffrrence between now and the previous administration is that unaccompanied children are being allowed to stay for a time.  Adults and families are still being sent back based on a policy put in place to protect us against the virus. The sad part is that the changes have contributed to the large number of unaccompanied children who are arriving at the border, being sent over the border, dropped over the wall, etc.

It's hard for me to understand what drives a parent to send a child far away on a dangerous journey to a place they've never been, but I've never been in the kinds of desperate situations these parents are in. It kind of reminds me of stories and memoirs I've read about people trying to escape East Berlin after WWII. (i.e., As dangerous as it was to try to cross no mans land, those who stayed were raped, put into work camps, and horribly oppressed.) It also reminds me of Jewish parents under Nazi occupation who left small children with strangers because otherwise they would be sent to the camps and killed. Ironically, in 1939, a boat containing 900 Jewish refugees came to the US and was sent away (it was originally bound for Cuba); and a third of them perished in the Holocaust.  After that, the US changed its policies and apologized.

 For some of the current migrants, the issue may be mostly economic; but, for some, I think the choice is to leave or face torture and death.Please note that I am not trying to suggest that we abolish immigration laws or "open" our borders.  We obviously have to have laws and legal paths to entry and/or citizenship.  But it is not unheard of for us to consider changes to our system under drastic circumstances.

When I was a kid, there were offensive jokes called "Pollack jokes," which made fun of people from Poland.  I had no idea at the time, but I realized much later that what probably prompted the jokes was backlash against the large influx of refugees from Eastern Europe after WWII. Years earlier, my ancestors came from Ireland, and they weren't always welcomed with open arms. (In fact, I didn't even know my ancestors were Irish until recently!)  At any rate, I don't hear a lot of people questioning whether those refugees who were initially mocked and feared belong here NOW.  

The problems at the border are serious, but it's not helpful to present them in a way that is completely binary: i.e., we either "send them all back" or we have "open borders."  I don't have the answers, unfortunately; but I think we, as Christians should seek God's wisdom in helping us find a path that includes compassion AND justice.

  

SamIamHis

Current policies of this administration, which seem to be in a constant state of flux, mean very little to those who are desperate to leave places that offer little to sustain them or place them in harms way.  The word on the street prior to the election was Joe Biden intended to destroy what President Trump had put in place, to overturn every sensible enforcement of the borders of a sovereign nation, even suggesting the taking down of the border wall that had been erected thus far.  Do not think for a minute that the campaign rhetoric is not used by every Coyote and all individuals who would profit from surges of immigrants coming into the United States.  That includes U.S. citizens as well as there is much to profit from in the legal and illegal importation of cheap human beings.  Call it what you like, explain it away in any descriptive terms you choose, what we are seeing is the consequence of an open border policy.

There has always been humanitarian crisis situations around the globe.  From the beginning of time man has struggled for peace and power.  This time is no different.  There has always been a path, difficult though it may be, to find a new home in America.  It should still be a difficult path in order for individuals seeking freedom to understand that it is not free and that there is always a price to pay in order to achieve this blessing. Individuals achieving the state of citizenship should have pride and patriotism instilled in them as a backbone to begin this life of becoming an American.  How is it that we no longer understand this principle in any form in the age of progressivism?  Free borders, free college, free rent during Covid even while people were collecting unemployment plus the Covid supplement, free childcare, free make more money than you are worth to start a job and the list can go on and on.  While the U.S. collapses under the administration of "making all progressive dreams come true by executive order" people are suffering because there is only chaos and after the fact considerations of how to carry any of this out. 

There is also no measures in place to truly protect our citizens from the diseases that are being brought into our country through this open border policy.  That is a crime against this nation.  It could even be considered an impeachable offense, though we know how rare any contemplation of that rule is.

Philoxfordal

I understand the need for compassion. No doubt, there are troubles all over the world. Nigeria, Myanmar, China, India, Mexico, Honduras, and Guatamala, etc. My heart grieves over stories of people, families and entire villages that have been butchered, assinated and sometimes beheaded.

There was a time we could work with countries to encourage them to fix their problems, instead we have decided that we are the answer to everyone's problems. No doubt, it is easier to open the borders, then have those difficult discussions. 

What we don't see is that we are bringing the problems of other countries here. It is one thing to do so incrementally with clear guidelines that actually assists families in rising out of poverty and their difficult circumstances. It is another to allow in millions who become displaced, cannot find jobs or who will not ...who live in government housing, attend public schools, are given free hospitalization and free food. For some, it becomes a generational lifestyle. 

What kind of a culture are we buildng? These are not biblical principles. 

Right and wrong cannot be determined by compassion alone or we are reduced to swapping stories. There will always be sad stories on both sides of the debate! Is not the cross the best example of love, mercy and justice working together?!! There must be something else that governs our policies than mere sentiment alone... 

We can't house the entire world!!

Do we not put doors on our homes and put certain controls on our TVs to guard what comes into our homes? Do we not set aside resources, prepare facilities and personnell, and come up with a plan before sending out wedding invitations? 

Scripture gives clear guidelines on the responsibility to care for our own, as well as the need to help others. We cannot do one at the expense of the other.

What is wrong with setting limits, having clear guidelines and finding a legal pathway forward?!!! And what is wrong with using our power to encourage countries to fix their own problems?!!!

I know this is a complex issue, but it is not the role of the government to be the church. When the government becomes the dispenser of goods it opens the door to fraud and corruption, favoritism and greed...

Yes, there should be compassion. But there also needs to be laws...good laws that are fair to its citizens and to those who come here for a better life. When those laws fail (and they always will) there needs to be good men and women who rise to the occasion. 

Regardless of where we find ourselves in this debate, it is always the responsibility of the church and the people of God to show compassion. But we must be careful in distinquishing roles. The government is not the church and the church is not the government.

 

 

Cyborg3

DakotaLuthern, I think you are right where more effort should be focused on destroying the gangs and creating solid countries in Central and South America. If there was one area I could criticize Trump was in not extending more effort in these regions to promote the political stability of these countries. 

Not Silent

I can't speak for everyone, of course; but even the most liberal people I know (i.e. people who supported Bernie Sanders and who admire AOC) are not in favor of "open borders." There may be some who DO support literal open borders, but I doubt that applies to the vast majority of people in the US, whether they are liberal or conservative. I'm pointing this out because I think the term is used to characterize people who question any conservative person or policy and produce immediate outrage against them, whether or not that outrage is actually justified. It reminds me of a situation in the past when I questioned something on a conservative website, and the other person immediately went off on me with a lecture about how "communism doesn't work."  My question had nothing to do with communism.  I was flabbergasted and asked, "Do you think I'm a COMMUNIST?" and the converation basically shut down after that.  I realized later that my question had highlighted a false belief that some people had at the time: that merely questioning a conservative somehow made me a communist or meant I needed to hear why capitalism is better than communism.  Likewise, just because someone questions a conservative person or position, it does not mean they are for "open borders."  Acting as if they do tends to shut down any further reasonable discussion.

I do think it's true that there has been quite a bit of dishonestly and hypocrisy about the situation at the border, and it has caused great pain for many people. But, just because I agree that the current situaiton is marked by dishonesty and hypocrisy does not mean that I prefer the policies of the previous adminstration!  Frankly, I don't think either of the major political parties has figured out the best way to deal with this crisis; and I think the tendency of both to cover that fact with political posturing and pointing fingers at the other side has only made things worse.   

For Cyborg, specifically: I agree with you that these things are heartbreaking and even infuriating, and I understand why they make your blood boil. But exaggeration and misinformation will not help those poor people. Specifically, it is inaccurate to act as if these problems began with Mr. Biden (i.e., you said that the borders were controlled by the cartels, but surely you don't think the cartels suddenly took over when Mr. Biden was elected!). There have been "migrant caravans" for years, and some of them happened when Mr. Trump was president. I personally find it frustrating that Mr. Trump was criticized for creating a "crisis" and that Mr. Biden intially "got a pass" on a similar (and possibly worse) crisis. But, as I already expressed above, it seems clear that neither major political party has figured out how to deal with the large numbers of refugees and migrants who keep coming to this country in a way that is fair, just, and compassionate. 

I also get that you disagree with me and others like me who could not in good conscience vote for either Mr. Biden or Mr. Trump, and I'm okay with that because I think it was a very difficult choice for most people.  But it is very frustrating that you seem intent on attacking me and others who, like you, did not vote for Mr. Biden and do not support all his policies.  Even worse, you seem to blame us for policies and platforms we never supported and had no role in implementing-and which were put in place by someone we did NOT VOTE FOR!  

For Dakota Lutheran: I don't think it's possible for people who are used to relative propsperity and stable government systems to understand the desperation people feel in the absence of those things and how they might cling to any hope that things could be better elsewhere.   It's hard to read about the terrible situations these people are in right now, and it's tempting to blame them for the way things are; but I think corrupt governments, corrupt systems, people who take advantage of others who are suffering for their own advantage, and, ultimately Satan and his lies are more to blame.  I pray that God gives wisdom to all who are involved in this terrible situation.

DakotaLutheran

I am amazed by the vast majority of these people. Traveling long distances, investing their entire fortunes, in the hope of moving to a land where they may know no one, where they don't speak the native language, to a culture and world for which they are ill prepared, takes enormous courage and desperation. They would, in many ways, be far better off staying where they are. 

America ought to spend far more time and money trying to improve the conditions of the people where they live. It seems that for the most part people undergoing these hardships and risks are coming for economic reasons, these issues can be addressed. Even the drug cartels are probably a response to economic problems. 

Cyborg3

Allowing open borders only creates chaos and injustice. All the social justice warriors show their true dishonesty and hypocrisy, where they blamed Trump before but they fail to call out Biden for what is happening now. Trump's approach was to shut down the illegal immigration, thus preventing so much injustice. Kids are being sent by themselves to the United States and many are dying. Here is a kid who was left by himself in the desert. Is this justice? My blood boils seeing this!  
 

Here is another case where two small children were left crying in the California wilderness!

And they have no problem dropping two small children 14 ft over a border wall in the dark. 
 

Here are two more small children found wondering along the Texas border without food or water. It also tells of an 6 month old baby being thrown into the Rio Grand by smugglers. 
 

Here is evidence that some children are dying on our border.

Here is a case where the border patrol agents are trying to revive a 9 year old girl who fell in the Rio Grand. You hear them trying to revive the girl but to no avail where she later died. 

If you cannot see that Trump is a much better man than Biden, there is not much help for you!

Is this crisis really years in the making? I don't think so for this only deflects away from Biden and his rhetoric about opening up the border. The real truth is that the cartels control the border!