Biden’s “CBP One” Border Scam
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—which had warned of a spike in illegal entries once Title 42 expired on May 11—is now trumpeting a decline in border apprehensions post-Title 42.
Don’t believe the hype.
What DHS isn’t telling Americans is that the administration is now funneling those aliens through the land ports of entry instead, in what I term Biden’s “CBP One border scam”.
It began on January 5, when the White House issued a fact sheet titled “Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Border Enforcement Actions”. Both descriptors were misnomers, because that “fact sheet” was light on facts and enforcement.
One of those “actions” enables would-be illegal migrants in central and northern Mexico to schedule appointments at one of eight border ports of entry (five of them in Texas) “to present themselves for inspection and to initiate a protection claim”, using the “CBP One” online app.
In practice, it’s no different than scheduling restaurant reservations with popular apps like OpenTable, and it would be comical if the implications weren’t so dire. Basically, aliens with no visas and no right to be admitted to the United States can now schedule when and where they want to enter illegally.
Not that the administration admits that’s how all this works. In fact, in its announcement the White House described aliens scheduling appointments using the app as “seeking to enter the United States lawfully”. That’s not true.
Anyone who’s traveled abroad knows what “seeking to enter lawfully” looks like. You obtain a passport here and a visa or other permission from the country you plan to visit, appear at the port of entry, answer some questions, and are usually admitted. You don’t show up without documents and expect to be allowed in.
And the White House knows the “enter lawfully” claim isn’t true. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), aliens at the ports of entry without visas or other documents allowing them to be admitted are treated exactly the same as aliens who cross the border illegally between the ports, and must be processed in the same manner.
A key congressional mandate in that inspection process requires DHS to detain aliens who have entered illegally or without proper documents, and keep them in detention until those aliens are either granted asylum or removed from the country.
Which is where the scam comes in. The principal reason why 5 million aliens have been apprehended entering illegally since Biden took office is his administration’s categorical refusal to comply with that detention mandate. Or, as one federal judge found in March, the president’s non-detention policies “effectively turned the Southwest Border into a meaningless line in the sand and little more than a speedbump for aliens flooding into the country”.
The border chaos is dragging down the president’s electoral prospects (62 percent of registered voters in a recent poll disapprove of Biden’s handling of immigration), which is why he wants to hide the disaster using this scam.
The administration won’t disclose how many illegal aliens who scheduled appointments using the app it has allowed into the country, but published reports from April indicated that more than 99 percent have gotten in.
Worse, the administration is expanding CBP One scheduling. Starting June 1, DHS increased the number of available appointments from 1,000 per day to 1,250, and just announced another increased to 1,450 a day (nearly 45,000 for July). What’s more, instead of requiring aliens to show up at a time certain, it now allows them to appear at any point during a 23-hour period.
That will slow legal traffic at the already overwhelmed Southwest border ports of entry, so the next time you’re stuck in a traffic jam crossing from Mexico back into Texas, you’ll know who to thank.
None of this is legal, of course, which is why the state of Texas sued the administration in May to shut the CBP One app scam down. Don’t expect that to slow further expansions of this plan unless and until it is vacated or enjoined.
Detaining aliens entering illegally is not only a legal mandate, but it’s the best way to secure the border. The Biden administration has no intention to detain illegal aliens or secure the border—but it’s doing its best to convince you otherwise. Don’t fall for it.
Andrew Arthur is a Fellow in Law and Policy at the Center for Immigration Studies.