In the June 19 issue of the New Yorker, Dexter Filkins wrote a 10,000-word description of migrant movement across the Mexican border. His reporting includes interviews with Columbians and Venezuelans who crossed the border, Border Patrol officers, politicians on the U.S. side of the border, human smugglers, former members of the Trump and Biden administration, advocates in opposing camps, and current Biden appointees. He writes that besides the very many persons who have crossed to apply for asylum, there were an estimated 1.6 million persons who crossed escaping detection in a 26 month period.
The picture he paints is of systems of border management and asylum management that are already severely stressed, and Biden and his early pro-immigrant aides who made the situation much worse. One gets the impression that during the 2020 campaign and after Biden and his aides, in effect, recklessly encouraged persons to cross the border to seek asylum. Applying for asylum virtually guarantees residency in the U.S. for five years or more due to court backlogs. And, once in, an asylum applicant can disappear. Sharp intelligence among would-be border crossers and smugglers saw, and continue to see, an opportunity. The primary drivers of border crossing are the chance of staying in the U.S. for years (he says at one point ten years) due to asylum court backlog; insufficient border law enforcement, and clever smugglers.
Missing from the article is a close analysis of the politics of immigration reform. Filkins implies that the political prospects for constructive reform are so poor as to not merit inspection.