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Biden’s Border Crisis

March 19, 2021
Weekly Columns

Following President Joe Biden’s loosened immigration policies enacted by executive orders, there is an unprecedented emergency at our southern border, where thousands are attempting to illegally cross into the United States and millions are hoping to be granted amnesty. Due to the swarm of migrants, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents are overwhelmed and mayors of border communities are begging for assistance and leadership from our commander in chief. There is no question that this humanitarian and security crisis could have been prevented.

On his first day in office, President Biden halted construction of the border wall. While not the only means of enforcement, physical barriers are a necessary and effective tool for stopping the flow of illegal immigrants in certain areas. Later on, he ended the Migrant Protection Protocols or “remain in Mexico” program that directs migrants seeking asylum to stay in Mexico until their hearings in the U.S convene. The president also restarted the dangerous “catch and release” program that ties the hands of law enforcement from detaining and deporting criminals. Indeed, these misguided policies are clearly viewed as an invitation for illegal immigrants to swarm the border and try to get in since the likelihood of successful entry and getting to stay in the United States is now much higher.

The surge of border crossings has caused a humanitarian crisis like we have never seen before. First, whether being smuggled across the border by criminals or traveling unaccompanied, many children are at risk of sexual exploitation and forced labor. After these children are found crossing the border by CBP agents, there are not appropriate facilities and conditions to prevent overcrowding. And in the middle of an ongoing pandemic, this is a severe health risk to both the children and CBP agents. Moreover, as more children need to be looked after in these facilities, more CBP agents are being taken from their posts and not able to give their full attention to protecting our borders.

Certainly, the policies either created or dismantled by President Biden have opened the door for bad actors to enter our country. Specifically, Biden’s border crisis increases the chance of drug trafficking and criminals entering our country. Since holding facilities are so overwhelmed, border officials are forced to release children, families and individuals without proper tracking into the United States. Alarmingly, testing for COVID-19 is not even required before their release into our communities, assuredly spreading disease and putting the health of Americans at risk. Even more disturbing, last week four migrants that were on terrorist watch lists were apprehended at the border.

Finally, as we continue working to defeat COVID-19 in our country, letting migrants illegally cross the border runs the risk of undoing our coronavirus mitigation efforts. Reports from border cities indicate that more than 10 percent of migrants held are testing positive for the coronavirus. The reports also cite that the numbers of those who have tested positive being released into American communities is growing by the day. To prevent the spread of coronavirus by those entering illegally, House Republicans recently requested consideration of commonsense legislation authored by Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks. The REACT Act would simply require a negative COVID-19 test for any individual illegally entering the United States, but Democrats have so far refused its consideration on the House floor. 

In response to the critical situation at the southern border, I recently sent a letter with my fellow Republican colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee urging Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro to schedule hearings about the ongoing humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border. As border crossings surge and reports of border patrol being overwhelmed emerge, Congress must work to address this situation if the Biden Administration will not.

The truth is, when we have open borders and laws such as catch and release, every state is a border state. What is happening along the southern border should sound the alarm for every American. This is not a political issue. It is a national security issue. Americans deserve better leadership from the president during a crisis, especially one of his own making.