The National Security Supplemental Budget package which included funding for wars in Ukraine and Israel would have rewritten asylum laws and given presidents unprecedented power to close the border to migrants. In addition to funding increases that will benefit the private prison industry, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the bill was focused on ending what is referred to as “catch and release” – a term used by hunters and fisherman.

It also had a strong focus on expanding what Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) called “detain and deport” policies initially proposed by far-right Republicans in Congress.

The package would have given the private prison industry an additional $3 billion, CBP an extra $6.7 billion, and ICE a whopping $7.6 billion to conduct broad and mass deportations in addition to raising the standards by which asylum-seekers can claim asylum. It also granted United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asylum officers the authority to determine whether to grant asylum rather than leaving it for immigration judges to decide.

Debunking Mike Johnson on the Capitol Press TikTok page

Closing the border to migrants becomes mandatory if 4,000 migrants enter the country daily for a week or 8,500 hundred enter in a single day. Let’s be clear, there is no such thing as fully closing the border as so many conservatives argue thanks in part to people like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, former president Donald Trump, and House Speaker Mike Johnson making such absurd suggestions.

There are innumerable amounts of people who work and go to school on either side of the border. And you certainly can’t overlook the US’s economic ties with Mexico – now the US’s largest trading partner. Many industries from appliances and automotive to agriculture and tech depend on trade across the US-Mexico border. Every state along the border also benefits greatly from economic ties with the US’s southern neighbor. Yes, even Texas.

History has taught us that making asylum more difficult to claim also makes migrants more likely to flee from Border Patrol agents rather than surrender as the vast majority do now. This puts them at greater risk of being exploited or victimized by gangs that operate on both sides of the US-Mexico border. Overall, these policies put migrants in much greater danger because far-right logic leaves humanity out of the equation.

The Real Problem

On the surface, allowing USCIS officers to make determinations seems more efficient. But this opens the door for abuse based on implicit biases that are already a problem within CBP, ICE, and USCIS. Racial and ethnic stereotyping is what has frequently led to the abuse of non-white asylum-seekers at the border, as we have seen all too often.

Most recently, CBP left migrants abandoned in a snowstorm along the border wall in Arizona for more than 30 hours despite reportedly having plenty of bed space. The idea of “closing the border” to asylum-seekers will only lead to more inhumanity. It will also sway migrants to risk their lives by forcing them to trek through even more treacherous terrain to reach their goal of better life conditions for themselves and their children.

Migrants abandoned in the snow along the border wall in Arizona

While the supplemental package also boasted of expediting asylum claims in as little as 90 days, oversight on those making the decisions isn’t part of the package. The bill may have “enhanced” border security in many people’s eyes. But what it would have done more so is harm potential asylum-seekers using far-right policy ideas. Implementing procedures that are in many ways worse than Trump’s invoking of Title 42 – when the United States saw a record-setting number of encounters at the US-Mexico border – as we all know, doesn’t work.

How the White House and any Democrat agreed to this is bothersome. However, it speaks to the success of the largely Latinophobic campaign led by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Abbott. Some of the biggest players in driving that narrative were major news media outlets while Steve Bannon and his ilk celebrated controlling the conversation. Now, people on social media are being inundated with claims of migrants not having rights because they’re not citizens while demonizing all of them for the actions of a few who have been arrested. 

@extremearturo

Replying to @_sarahwithanhsorry, but it’s not the “crisis” you and so many others claim it is. Stop watching bigots on YouTube like the clowns in the #takeourborderback convoy and get the facts. They’re all playing you. #greenscreen #breakingnews #news #fyp #foryou #immigration #migrants #border #migrantcrisis #bordercrisis #texas #texasbordercrisis #nomames

♬ original sound – Arturo Dominguez 🇨🇺🇺🇸
The overuse of the word “crisis” created plenty of problems too

Think about this, if the far-right has been successful in spreading misinformation and fomenting hate toward migrants who turn themselves in, imagine what they’ll do when migrants begin to disperse at the sight of Border Patrol more often. It’s unthinkable where that will lead us largely because many conservatives intentionally refuse to see migrants as fellow humans. That’s why so many of them refer to asylum-seekers as “illegal aliens” – a dehumanizing and racist trope.

The Damage

As soon as most news outlets invested in the “millions of migrants” narrative they created an environment that justifies the actions of people like Texas Governor Greg Abbott while helping bolster far-right claims of a so-called “invasion”. In addition, the false notion that Gov. Abbott is defying both the Supreme Court and President Biden – along with the ensuing sensationalism of the narrative – led a bunch of angry white people to justify creating a convoy and going to the border where various armed extremist groups already operate.

Thus, making it a more dangerous environment for migrants and US citizens alike.

Saying that millions of encounters took place in 2023 and leaving out how many asylum seekers were “removed/returned” to their home countries (or how many of those encounters were people crossing multiple times) is essentially lying by omission. How much it helped strengthen the false and racist narrative about an “invasion” occurring can not be denied either.

The Border Patrol Union and how they fed the news media a false narrative

Once such context is provided the “millions of migrants” narrative suddenly begins to lose steam and opens the door for more rational fact-based discussions. The damage done by those numbers being shamelessly thrown around without context should be obvious. Especially after a bipartisan coalition of White Congresspersons and the White House bought it too – neither of which made any effort to correct the record.

While proper context can prevent harmful bills like what the four White Senators proposed from being taken seriously in the name of compromise, not including voices with expert knowledge on the issue was just as problematic. Notably, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus was left out of the conversation despite requesting meetings with the White House.

Three of those left out of the dialogue represent some of the largest border districts in the United States. Crazy, right?

Unfortunately for us who know better, we can only do so much as we are too often drowned out by the corporate media machine built on a foundation that’s primarily designed for clicks and ad revenue. The focus must be on reporting factual information in full context and more accurately reframing the narrative to bring about more honest discourse.

Lord knows I’m trying my ass off and I cannot do it alone.

@extremearturo

Replying to @timcam68 yes, they absolutely do. The Constitution guarantees their rights. #migrants #immigration #fyp #foryou

♬ original sound – Arturo Dominguez 🇨🇺🇺🇸
Migrants absolutely have rights regardless of how they enter the country

In the end, rather than getting to the root of the migration issue – which should start with not intervening in other country’s affairs – the administration instead accepted far-right policy ideas to once again try to appease conservatives. It’s a tactic that has not benefitted Biden since the White House began this approach over 2 years ago. Instead, it risks him alienating even more of his base. And that’s something I’m not so sure his advisors care about.


The Antagonist Magazine is a project made up of journalists, activists, and writers focused on amplifying the stories of marginalized communities. The goal is to educate the public by sharing narratives focused on independent voices. Born of an online community in 2019, our platform operates independently; free of corporate influence. Please consider supporting the work of dozens of writers from various communities.

Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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