Weekly Columns

End the Border Crisis

Aug 02 2021

President Joe Biden’s open border policies have created a public health, humanitarian and national security crisis. Since day one, the president has signaled he will not uphold enforcement of our immigration laws. He wasted no time in halting construction of the border wall, rolling back Trump-era policies that prevented illegal immigrants from crossing the border and reinstating the ‘catch and release’ policy that forces Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to release illegal immigrants into the U.S. as they await processing for deportation.

The Biden policies have resulted in a surge of illegal immigrants that shows no sign of letting up. In June, more than 188,000 people were arrested trying to illegally enter our country through the southern border. We’re on track to experience more than 1.8 million illegal border crossings along this stretch this year.

It’s no surprise we’re facing this crisis. Much like during the Obama administration, ‘catch and release’ has been a disaster. According to a recent Axios report 50,000 illegal immigrants have been caught and released in the last four months without receiving a court date, and only 13 percent have reported to an ICE office as instructed.

The administration must abandon this reckless policy, and it should also not just keep in place, but defend, a Trump-era policy I have fought to preserve. Title 42 – the authority that allows border agents to quickly remove illegal immigrants at the southern border to prevent the spread of COVID-19 rather than detain them in congregate settings – has allowed ICE to remove more than 754,000 illegal immigrants since October 2020. I pressed the president to maintain this rule because it’s a commonsense measure that has helped protect public health and supported our border and customs agents, who are already stretched thin.

Help is on the way, although not from the White House. Members of the Arkansas National Guard have deployed for Operation Lone Star to support the border patrol along the south Texas border. Their presence is bringing peace of mind to communities there. One mayor told Arkansas news outlet KARK the crisis is worsening and it’s been “overwhelming for municipalities along the border to find a balance to a federal issue that does not seem to have any solutions.”

The reality is the proven measures that had been effective were rejected by the White House. Instead of pursuing policies that hamstring border agents’ ability to enforce the law, we need to provide them with the tools and resources to safeguard Americans and protect our sovereignty. We must also eliminate safe-havens for illegal immigrants that undermine enforcement of federal laws. Sanctuary cities fly in the face of the rule of law and threaten the safety of American citizens by protecting violent and dangerous criminals illegally in our country.

It’s long overdue for the president to address the situation for what it is – a crisis. Rather than taking action to get it under control, he’s exacerbating the problem by pushing amnesty for illegal immigrants in his tax and spend partisan wish list. Incentivizing more illegal immigrants is irresponsible, foolish and serves as a further setback to securing the border.

It’s time the administration abandons its careless strategy and implements policies that strengthen border security, safeguard American families and communities, and uphold immigrations laws.