On the border, Democrats are making illegal legal

Published 9:58 am Tuesday, January 23, 2024

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Earlier this month, House Republicans launched impeachment proceedings against Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for a simple reason: the Secretary of Homeland Security does not believe in securing the homeland. Under his watch, more than 8.5 million illegal immigrants, including 1.7 million known “gotaways,” have entered our country; tens of thousands of pounds of fentanyl have poured across our border; and hundreds of individuals on the terror watchlist have been caught by border authorities, including 30 since the start of fiscal year 2024.
These numbers alone justify the Secretary’s removal from office. But ultimately, the harm this administration is inflicting on our country with its open-border policies goes far beyond these statistics. Their policies aren’t just failing; they are upending the foundation of our democracy – the rule of law – by making illegal legal and putting lawbreakers ahead of law-abiding Americans.
Look no further than how, under President Biden, illegally entering the country is no longer a crime. Earlier this month, Secretary Mayorkas admitted that over 85 percent of illegal immigrants apprehended at the border are released into our country. His admission came just weeks after December marked the highest number of border encounters – 302,000 – in U.S. history.
With hundreds of thousands of migrants crossing into our country each month, you would think the Biden administration would use all the help it can get. But when states like Arizona and Texas constructed their own barriers along the Southern border, the Biden administration sued them. Under this administration, border agents don’t put up razor wire fences – they cut them down to make it easier for illegal immigrants to enter our country.
Once migrants illegally cross our border, the Biden administration lavishes them with government-funded benefits. In fiscal year 2022 alone, taxpayers shouldered the cost of $94.3 million worth of medical expenses for migrants. And in fiscal year 2021, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s health care arm budgeted more than $74 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist with outside referrals and medical claims processing. At the same time, the VA has more than one million veterans waiting for staff to process their claims.
Tennesseans know this is wrong, shameful, and an affront to our fundamental values. But at every step, my Democratic colleagues have supported this administration’s disastrous open-border policies. And for more than seven months, they have refused to hold a vote on H.R. 2, House Republicans’ Secure the Border Act, which would help end this crisis.
You might be wondering: Why do Democrats want to leave our border open, devalue our citizenship, and make illegal legal?
The explanation is straightforward: Blue states know that they are on track to lose congressional seats and federal tax dollars when the next census is tabulated after hundreds of thousands of Americans have fled their jurisdictions over sky-high taxes and overbearing regulations. By taking in illegal immigrants – who count toward each state’s census population thanks to a day-one executive order signed by President Biden – Democrat-run states can help offset these losses and retain their congressional seats and federal funding.
That helps explain why Democrat states like California, New York, and Illinois – which combined lost a net 2.4 million residents to other states between April 2020 and July 2023 – extended taxpayer-funded health coverage to illegal immigrants. It also helps explain why Democrats in New York City are willing to shut down high schools and send students back home to remote learning so that their facilities can be used to house illegal immigrants.
Unlike Democrats, Republicans stand for the rule of law and with the American people. Earlier this month, I introduced the CONTAINER Act alongside nine of my Republican colleagues to empower states to construct barriers to protect their communities and stem the flow of illegal immigration into our country.
I also introduced two different bills that would block federal dollars from funding health care for illegal migrants: the No VA Resources for Illegal Aliens Act – which would stop the Department of Veterans Affairs from providing taxpayer-funded health care to illegal aliens – and the Protect Medicaid Act, which would prevent liberal states like California from using federal funds to subsidize health benefits for illegal immigrants. Under no circumstances should taxpayer dollars intended to support American citizens – especially our veterans – be spent on illegal immigrants.
These commonsense pieces of legislation should receive bipartisan support. That Democrats oppose them – and continue to push open-border policies – tells you everything you need to know about their priorities.
(Marsha Blackburn represents Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.)

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