This year’s Summit of the Americas, hosted by Joe Biden in California last week, was controversial, to put it kindly. With Mexico sitting out in protest and a number of other nations either being denied access or refusing to attend in protest, we’re left to wonder how binding any agreements that were reached will wind up being. We may be learning at least part of the answer to that question as soon as this week. Joe Biden signed the United States onto a new agreement called the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection (LADMP). One aspect of the agreement calls for a crackdown on human trafficking and child trafficking across all the borders in North and South America. That sounds great in principle, but as with all matters involving foreign policy under this administration, the devil is in the details. You can read more about it in this report from Government Executive.

The Biden administration has deployed 1,300 federal personnel to the U.S.-Mexico border to help quell human smuggling operations, which it said has led to thousands of arrests.

President Biden announced the initiative as part of an international agreement unveiled last week to provide more support to migrants while boosting efforts to curb and process large swings in migratory patterns. Twenty nations in the Americas signed onto the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, which will boost assistance for refugees and asylum seekers, increase pathways for legal immigration, better coordinate border management systems and improve emergency response. Biden announced the agreement on Friday at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations has sent 700 officers to the border to support the crackdown on human smuggling as part of what the administration is calling Operation Expanded Impact. Other task forces and operations housed within the departments of Homeland Security and Justice are identifying suspicious activities and leading investigations.

If this specific initiative is structured properly and handled well, it’s a great idea. One of the many terrible things to come out of the Biden border crisis has been the surge of coyotes not only smuggling adult illegal aliens over the border but also trafficking children. Stopping or at least significantly reducing that would be well worth the investment.

With that said, the information about this new agreement contains far more than just the laudable goal of reducing human trafficking. And even that effort raises a few questions. First of all, where did the President suddenly find 1,3000 federal agents to send to the border to deal with illegal immigration issues? If we had that many ICE officers hanging around with nothing better to occupy their time, why were they not down on the border already?

The descriptions of the various agenda items in the LADMP go far beyond stopping smuggling. The primary thrust seems to involve “assistance for refugees and asylum seekers.” But the vast, vast majority of people we’re encountering at the border do not follow the customary process of applying for a visa or other forms of permission to come here seeking asylum before traveling. They are people who simply show up at the border, often crossing illegally and then presenting themselves so they can begin the asylum process. We have limits on such applications for a reason, as much as we might wish to help everyone. Our system is already overwhelmed. This sort of “assistance” sounds like it will only make matters worse.

In a more general sense, this “declaration” sounds an awful lot like a treaty, doesn’t it? And yet Joe Biden has signed us up for it with no input from Congress (where all treaties must be approved in advance according to the constitution) and no debate among our representatives. It’s very much like the Paris Climate Accord that Barrack Obama roped us into in a similar fashion. Of course, much as we saw happen with the Paris accords, a future president could yank us out of the LADMP just as Trump did with the climate conference.

It’s time for Congress to grow a spine and step up for the constitutionally mandated powers of the legislative branch. Presidents are not allowed to commit us to these sorts of international agreements that will involve significant expenditures of taxpayer dollars without the legislature signing off on it. And yet we seem to keep letting one president after another get away with it.

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