Our immigration system is broken. The U.S.-Mexico border is in a state of chaos. Christina believes we must address immigration long before it hits our border. The U.S. is putting both American safety and migrants at risk with lax policy that encourages people to come to the U.S. without authorization. December of 2023 saw hundreds of thousands of migrants, the highest on record, entering our borders.
Word is spreading on social media globally that if people come illegally and claim asylum, they will be processed within days, given a court date that is years away because the system is so backlogged, and allowed in the country while they wait for that distant court date. Meanwhile, migrants making the dangerous journey are being trafficked, kidnapped by cartels, or even killed.
This sends a backwards message, especially when those who follow the protocol take longer to get processed. They encounter a confusing system that involves multiple government agencies. This is a U.S. policy failure.
During Christina’s most recent visit to the border, Border Patrol told her there are three main problems:
- The existing laws are not enforced – see Sect 1226(c) and 1231 (a)(2) of The Immigration and Nationality Act
- They don’t have the support they need so agents can’t adequately screen each person coming into the country
- We are responding way too late in the migration process, when we should be investing in preventing the conditions that cause people to make the dangerous journey
Here are solutions Christina supports:
- Increase the number of Border Patrol agents
- Provide more resources for our immigration courts so they can decide cases quickly before people enter the states
- Establish clear, new ways for people to apply for legal immigration, and document those who are here by creating pathways to citizenship
- Lastly, we need to support host communities, which tend to be the beginning of the journey
As one example, Barranquilla Colombia has taken in 150,000 Venezuelan refugees or 10% of that town’s population. We need to bolster support using multilateral efforts to help migrants integrate into those communities. Migration through the dangerous Panama/Colombia crossing has increased 50x the last year. That is where the immigration crisis starts.
The above is a starting point. There are many other factors to consider, like how the EU’s immigration policies have played a role in the dramatic increase in flow of migrants to Latin America. Therefore, the EU needs to provide support in stabilizing Latin America and particularly in the first countries of asylum.
Christina believes there are viable solutions that can be enacted now that will both protect the American people and treat those searching for a better life with dignity.