As Illegal Border Crossings Surge, Number of Religious Refugees Entering US Plummets
During Thursday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre flatly refused to answer Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy when he pressed her on how the Biden administration is responding to 10,000 migrants crossing the border illegally per day. The moment was illustrative of the ongoing crisis on the U.S. southern border, which observers say is due to the Biden administration largely ignoring immigration laws and letting hundreds of thousands of illegal border crossers settle and work in the U.S.
On Tuesday, 24 Republican governors sent a letter to President Biden requesting clarity on where his administration is resettling the hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants that are being allowed to stay in the U.S. interior. “Since you have taken office, there have been over 5.8 million illegal crossings at the southern border,” the governors wrote. “In addition, your Customs and Border Protection agency estimates 1.6 million crossers have evaded apprehension.”
The letter went on to detail other concerning statistics, including an 850% increase in illegal crossings of the northern border with Canada, an all-time record of 244 stops of individuals on the terror watchlist in the last two years, and the continued flood of fentanyl crossing the border due to drug cartels taking advantage of the crisis, which is leading to 100,000 overdose deaths per year.
The letter further points out that the “annual net cost of illegal immigration for the United States at the federal, state, and local levels is at least $150.7 billion.” The situation has led Biden’s fellow Democratic lawmakers and government officials to demand the administration provide better leadership to deal with the flood of migrants.
On Thursday, The Daily Wire reported that the Biden administration is now allowing around 472,000 Venezuelans who entered the U.S. illegally to be shielded from deportation and be allowed to work. According to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, they are being placed on temporary protected status because “the conditions in their home country prevent their safe return.”
Meanwhile, a new report has found that the number of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim refugees fleeing religious persecution from 50 countries designated as the worst religious persecutors has plummeted to less than half of the normal rates over the last six years. According to the report conducted by World Relief and Open Doors, “Rohingya Muslim refugee arrivals declined by 62.6%, Christians by 70% and Yezidis by 100% between fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2022.”
Furthermore, the report noted that only 60,000 religious refugees are on track to resettle in the U.S. in 2023, despite the fact that up to 125,000 refugees would be allowed to do so.
Open Doors CEO Ryan Brown expressed alarm over the dwindling numbers, highlighting the Biden administration’s sudden withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 as an example of an “immediate cause and effect” of what can happen when members of persecuted minority religions aren’t evacuated before a withdrawal.
“The situation in Afghanistan was horrific, and we all saw it unfold right before us,” he said. “But the tragedy is that there are similar types of situations, just as grave consequences that are unfolding in other places around the globe today.”
Arielle Del Turco, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council, expressed concern that those being persecuted most heavily due to their religion are not being adequately dealt with amidst the surge of illegal border crossings.
“According to U.S. law, the asylum process is supposed to be utilized by those who are able to demonstrate that they were persecuted or have a credible fear of persecution in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, social group, or political opinion,” she told The Washington Stand. “However, much of the capacity of our immigration system is taken up by those who cross the southern border illegally, and then claim asylum.”
“The fact that the Biden administration is allowing and incentivizing this shows gravely misplaced priorities,” Del Turco continued. “There continue to be severe religious freedom crises around the world in China, North Korea, Pakistan, Cuba, and elsewhere. Becoming a refugee or asylum-seeker is a last resort, but it’s still a critically important pathway to safety for persecuted religious minorities and those who have no other options. Given heightened persecution around the globe, it is very troubling to see the Biden administration allow the rates of Christian refugees admitted to the U.S. to decline to this degree.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.