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Immigration

Biden’s new order: close border when daily crossings surpass 2,500 over a weeklong period

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“After claiming for much of his presidency that he was unable to take unilateral action to address the ongoing immigration crisis, President Joe Biden announced an executive order on Tuesday to place significant, immediate restrictions on the record number of illegal immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S.” National Review blatantly reports.

The new order directs Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to close the southern border between officially designated ports of entry when the average number of daily crossings surpasses 2,500 over a weeklong period. Senior administration officials have confirmed that this threshold has already been met over the past week, meaning much of the southern border will be closed as soon as midnight.

“Frankly, I would’ve preferred to address this issue through bipartisan legislation, because that’s the only way to actually get the kind of system we have now that’s broken fixed, to hire more Border Patrol agents, more asylum officers, more judges,” Biden said at the White House. “But Republicans have left me no choice. Today, I’m announcing actions to bar migrants who cross our southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum.”

The order stipulates that the border cannot be reopened until two weeks after it is determined that average crossings have dropped below 1,500 for seven consecutive days. The president’s order, which falls under the Immigration and Nationality Act, authorizes the suspension of entries for immigrants if they are deemed “detrimental” to the national interest.

Immigrants who fail to express fear of returning to their home countries will face immediate removal from the U.S. and face punishments, including a five-year ban from U.S. re-entry and potential criminal prosecution. The order makes exceptions for unaccompanied minors, victims of human trafficking, immigrants with severe medical emergencies, and those facing imminent threats to their safety. Additionally, asylum-seekers who set up an appointment at a port of entry via the CBP One mobile app can still be processed.

The announcement comes five months ahead of the presidential election, a timing Republicans were quick to criticize. “President Biden’s Executive Order is nothing more than a desperate political stunt to try and stabilize his plummeting poll numbers,” House GOP leadership said in a joint statement. “Americans can see right through Biden’s election-year stunt.”

Biden’s change in approach follows the collapse of the Senate’s bipartisan border deal in February. At that time, Biden had stated he had “done all I can do” to secure the border through his executive authority and opted to wait for legislative action addressing the surge in immigration. However, four months later, he has decided to act unilaterally.

The Biden administration’s order is expected to face legal challenges from immigration advocacy groups. Shortly after Tuesday’s announcement, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said it would challenge the administration’s border order in court, noting its similarities to the “Trump administration’s asylum ban.”

The administration has pledged to defend its border policies from litigation, while emphasizing distinctions between its order and Trump’s asylum restrictions. Officials argue that the current order includes “important humanitarian and legal changes” absent from the previous administration’s policies.

“The goal here is to secure our border while preserving legal immigration consistent with our values as a nation,” an administration official told reporters. “There are several differences between the actions that we are taking today and Trump-era policies. The Trump administration attacked almost every facet of the immigration system and did so in a shameful and inhumane way. The actions that we are taking today will only apply during times of high encounters.”

 

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education

Report: Denver area migrants cost $340 million to shelter, educate

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A report by the free-market Common Sense Institute found the more than 42,000 migrants who have arrived in Denver over the last year and a half have cost the region as much as $340 million. The city of Denver, local school districts, and the region’s health-care system have spent between $216 million and $340 million combined to shelter, feed, clothe, and educate the migrants, and to provide them with emergency medical care.

National Review explains the report builds off a previous report from March that conservatively found that the migrants had cost the region at least $170 million. “Costs are never localized,” said DJ Summers, the institute’s research director. “They expand outward.”

Democratic leaders are being blamed for their welcoming posture toward immigrants generally, and their sanctuary-city policies, which curtail law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration agents. Since late December 2022, at least 42,269 migrants — or “newcomers” as Denver leaders call them — have arrived in the city, adds National Review.

The Common Sense Institute report found that the migrant crisis has also hit local emergency rooms hard with extensive expenses. Since December 2022, migrants have made more than 16,000 visits to metro emergency departments. At an estimated cost of about $3,000 per visit, that has resulted in nearly $48 million in uncompensated care.

Summers said those costs are “stressing existing health care organizations,” but they also indirectly hit residents in their pocketbooks through increased insurance prices.

Metro school districts have endured the biggest financial hit — estimated between $98 million and $222 million — according to the Common Sense Institute report. The large range in costs is due to the difficulties researchers had identifying exactly how many new foreign students are tied to the migrant crisis.

The researchers found that since December 2022, 15,725 foreign students have enrolled in local schools. Of those, 6,929 have come from the five countries most closely identified with the migrant crisis — Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

On average, it costs a little over $14,000 to educate a student for a year in a Denver-area public school, but Summers said migrant students likely cost more.

“They have transportation needs that are different, they have acculturation needs that are going to be different, language assistance needs that are going to be different,” he said. “Many of them might need to get up to speed in curriculum. They might need outside tutoring.”

Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers approved $24 million in state funding to help school districts statewide plug budget holes related to the migrant students.

Summers said the updated Common Sense Institute tally is likely still missing some costs related to the ongoing migrant crisis.

“There are definitely additional costs. We just don’t have a great way to measure them just yet,” he said, noting legal fees, crime, and unreported business and nonprofit expenses.

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