The Biden administration is abusing our immigration system – forcing Americans to endure the consequences

Published 9:41 am Friday, March 8, 2024

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Last week – amid the worst illegal immigration crisis in our nation’s history – President Biden visited the southern border for just the second time since taking office.

Considering more than 9 million illegal immigrants have entered our country since Inauguration Day, many Tennesseans and Americans are probably wondering: Where has our president been the last three years? By all appearances, the president cares more about perpetuating this national security and humanitarian catastrophe than ending it.

Much like his first-ever visit to the border in early 2023, President Biden last week tried to present a sanitized version of the border crisis. In this case, he visited Brownsville, Texas, which saw a daily average of just 17 border encounters last month, according to Customs and Border Protection. By comparison, on the same day as Biden’s trip, President Trump met with Border Patrol agents in Eagle Pass, Texas, a hotspot for illegal immigration that averaged 462 border encounters per day.

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To no one’s surprise, President Biden during his visit refused to take responsibility for the crisis, blaming Congress instead. Yet, the president already has all the authority he needs to immediately end the chaos at the border. Instead, he has actively created this crisis, taking 94 executive actions to open the border, weaken our security, and endanger the American people in just his first 100 days.

Among these actions, few have been as damaging as this administration’s abuse of our asylum and parole system. Instead of deporting illegal immigrants, President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas have subverted these laws to waive in countless migrants who have no legitimate reason to enter our country.

This abuse is particularly flagrant regarding parole, which is meant only for temporary admission into the country on a rare, case-by-case basis to address an “urgent humanitarian reason or significant public benefit.” Yet, President Biden has abused this authority to usher in millions of migrants who receive public benefits and work authorizations from the federal government. 

One thing is clear: For the Biden administration, the parole system has become just another way to circumvent congressional authority and make illegal immigration legal.

The numbers speak for themselves: Over the course of four presidencies, from 1983 to 2003, the average yearly total for all paroles was 150,000, while the Obama and Trump administrations paroled on average just 5,623 migrants per year. In sharp contrast, in fiscal year 2022, President Biden paroled nearly 800,000 migrants into the country, while in fiscal year 2023, the administration paroled approximately 1.2 million migrants – more than 200 times the Obama and Trump average.

Alongside the abuse of parole, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of illegal immigrants apprehended at the southern border with prior criminal convictions, including homicide, sexual assault, and other violent crimes. In fiscal year 2023, 15,267 criminal illegal immigrants were encountered at the border – a six-fold increase from fiscal year 2020, the last full year of the Trump administration.

While all too predictable, this administration’s open border agenda is already having tragic consequences.

Late last month, police in Virginia arrested an illegal immigrant from Venezuela for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

Three days later, an illegal immigrant was arrested in Louisiana after he allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl and stabbed a man repeatedly while holding him at knifepoint.

One day after that, police in Maryland arrested an illegal immigrant from El Salvador for allegedly murdering a two-year-old child.

And two weeks ago, an illegal immigrant in Georgia was arrested for allegedly murdering Laken Riley, a 22-year-old nursing student, while she went for a jog on the University of Georgia campus. The suspect should have never been allowed to step foot in America – yet the Biden administration paroled him into our country after he illegally crossed our southern border in 2022.

Last week, I joined my colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee in demanding answers from Secretary Mayorkas about how Laken’s alleged murderer was paroled into our country.

In so many ways, this is just the latest example of how Secretary Mayorkas – who has been in lockstep with the president’s open border policies – has refused to uphold his constitutional duty of securing the homeland. That’s why, last month, House Republicans took the historic step of impeaching the secretary for breach of public trust and for willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law.

To be sure, the case against Secretary Mayorkas is overwhelming. But according to recent reports, Majority Leader Schumer is attempting to prevent a Senate trial when the House transmits the articles of impeachment to the upper chamber, abandoning our core constitutional duty to weigh the evidence, hear from witnesses, and hold a vote on whether the secretary should remain in office.

This would be a clear betrayal of the American people, who have suffered immensely from the border crisis Secretary Mayorkas helped create.

One thing is certain: The Homeland Security Secretary is not fit for office – and if given the opportunity, I will vote to convict him. And no matter what, I will continue to fight to hold this administration accountable for its open border policies – including abuse of parole authority – that have caused so much suffering, criminality, and chaos at the border and across the country.

(Marsha Blackburn represents Tennessee in the U.S. Senate)