The Media's Misleading Math on Biden's Border Crisis

Border crossings are down—if you compare them with all-time highs achieved under this administration

(Mario Tama/Getty Images)
May 16, 2023

With Title 42, a Trump-era immigration policy that allowed for the quick expulsion of illegal migrants, expiring at the end of last week, the U.S. southern border is embroiled in crisis. But after a week of reporting on the evolving humanitarian disaster, the corporate press is cutting the Biden administration some slack.

So what: President Joe Biden is underwater among voters on ending Title 42, and the border continues to be a polling weakness. But the media may be helping to bail him out.

Reporters caught up with Biden about his border crisis while he was out for a weekend bike ride in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and he was feeling good enough to gloat.

The press has largely shifted its framing of the story to fit Biden's, noting that border encounters were down to 6,300 on Friday and 4,200 on Saturday, according to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

OK, but: The supposedly encouraging decline in border encounters was relative to all-time highs earlier in the week. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday each saw more than 10,000 migrant apprehensions, surpassing any previous day on record. Even with the downticks on Friday and Saturday, last week's numbers shattered the previous weekly high.

Illegal immigration has repeatedly broken annual records on Biden's watch.

Now, border towns have thousands of people sleeping on the street, and self-proclaimed "sanctuary cities" for illegal immigrants, such as New YorkWashington, D.C., and Chicago, have declared they're full up. About 24,000 migrants were reportedly held overnight Thursday in border detention facilities made for 18,000 at the most. A 17-year-old unaccompanied migrant from Honduras died Wednesday after being found unconscious in a Florida shelter, though officials haven't released information about the cause of death.

As some news outlets noted, the easing of the crisis could prove short-lived. In a court filing on Friday, Biden's deputy Border Patrol chief, Matthew Hudak, said that between 12,000 and 14,000 apprehensions are still expected per day as a result of the end of Title 42.