Immigration Crisis
December 14, 2021
Can the border situation be alleviated?

Nearly 1.7 million people have been detained after trying to cross the Southern border without authorization in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, the most detentions ever recorded. They came from more than 160 countries, often fleeing pandemic-related economic upheaval, with most coming from Mexico. A small percentage are Haitians who fled their homeland years ago and settled in countries such as Brazil and Chile. In a controversial move, the Biden administration has flown thousands of Haitians and others back to their home country under a public health emergency rule instituted by the Trump administration. The administration also is grappling with resettling tens of thousands of refugees evacuated to the United States after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Photo of migrants crossing the Rio Grande River into Texas on August 14, 2021, in Roma, Texas. Migrants cross the Rio Grande into Texas on Aug. 14 in Roma, Texas. A record 1.66 million people, mostly from Mexico and Central America, were apprehended for crossing the border without authorization during the 12 months that ended on Sept. 30, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (Getty Images/John Moore)

Videos of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback using their reins to whip Haitian migrants trying to cross the Southern border in September evoked memories of slavery-era mistreatment of Black people, provoking an angry outcry from members of both political parties — and President Biden.

The president called the agents’ behavior “outrageous” and promised his administration would investigate the incident and that the agents would face consequences. “It’s an embarrassment, . . . it is dangerous,” he said. “It’s wrong, it sends the wrong message around the world, it sends the wrong message at home. It’s simply not who we are.” 1