Biden created the border crisis. Here’s what we can do to end it
Published 10:21 am Tuesday, February 13, 2024
When it comes to President Biden’s border crisis, we need to remember a simple fact: It is against the law for anyone to enter our country illegally. Yet at every opportunity, the Biden administration has tried to make illegal immigration legal.
During his first 100 days in office, President Biden took 94 executive actions to open the southern border. He ended Title 42 and Remain in Mexico, and brought back catch-and-release. He sold off border wall material and sued states such as Texas and Arizona when they tried to build their own barriers. And he brought deportations to a grinding halt: In 2023, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported just 142,000 people, less than five percent of all illegal crossings. By comparison, President Obama deported three million immigrants – an average of 375,000 per year.
The disastrous results of President Biden’s open-border policies are all too predictable: Since Inauguration Day, 8.8 million illegal immigrants – including thousands of “special interest aliens” from countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, and Syria, and hundreds of individuals on the terror watch list – have flooded into our country.
This is by far the worst border disaster in our nation’s history. But in this moment of crisis, Senate Democrats last week tried to push an immigration bill that would empower the Biden administration to continue its failed border policies and circumvent the rule of law.
The border deal, for example, would allow up to 8,500 illegal immigrants to enter our country each day before the Department of Homeland Security would be required to close the border. And even when the border is closed, the administration would still be required to process a minimum of 1,400 illegal immigrants each day.
On top of that, it would create a fast-track asylum process and codify catch-and-release, allowing for the release of migrant families into the country and incentivizing further child trafficking by cartels.
Perhaps most troubling, the legislation would do next to nothing to address the 85,000 migrant children who have gone missing under President Biden’s watch. For a year, the Biden administration has refused to provide an accounting for these innocent children, and we still do not know if any of them have been trafficked into forced labor, abuse, or sexual exploitation.
Considering its serious flaws, it’s no surprise that the border deal failed to pass the Senate last week. But if my Democratic colleagues are serious about working with us to secure the border, we already have several bills that would do so much to end the border crisis and restore the rule of law.
At the top of the list, we must finally finish the wall on the southern border. After President Biden halted all border construction on his first day in office – approving just 20 miles of new barrier construction since then – roughly two-thirds of the U.S.-Mexico border remains unprotected, leaving our country defenseless to the flow of fentanyl, human trafficking, terrorists, and other dangerous criminals crossing our border.
While the immigration bill pushed by Democrats would have allowed President Biden to delay border construction well past the end of his current term, I have introduced legislation that would require the Biden administration to immediately unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in unspent wall funding to continue border construction, and another bill, the CONTAINER Act, that would empower states to place their own barriers.
I also introduced legislation that would require President Biden to reinstate the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the Remain in Mexico program, which required migrants seeking asylum to return to Mexico to await their court date. This is the complete opposite of what is happening under President Biden, where migrants are waived into our country and given an immigration court date of up to 10 years in the future.
Just as urgently, we need to crack down on human trafficking at our border, which is why I introduced legislation that would require recurring DNA familial testing and give Border Patrol agents the authority to fingerprint non-citizens under the age of 14. These provisions would help end cartels’ “child recycling,” in which adult illegal immigrants traffick minors who are not their relatives – but present them as their own children – to the border to help gain asylum into our country.
Perhaps most importantly, Senate Democrats should immediately call for a vote on H.R. 2, House Republicans’ Secure the Border Act, which arrived in the Senate on May 15 but has languished without even a hearing. Unlike the border deal, H.R. 2 has crucial provisions to secure our border, including ending the disastrous catch-and-release policy.
These bills would do so much to help bring the border crisis to an end. But as much as they would help, President Biden doesn’t need new laws to do his job; he already has the authority to build the wall, deport illegal immigrants, and secure the border. That he chooses not to tell us everything we need to know: For President Biden, an open border is his border policy.
(Marsha Blackburn represents Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.)