Weekly Columns

President Biden signaled an open-door border policy before he was even sworn into office. Once in the White House, he dismantled commonsense protocols that kept our border secure. His actions have unleashed chaos not only for the communities in the direct path of this unrelenting flow of illegal migrants, leading to the worst border crisis in American history, but also in towns and cities around the country.

The president’s policies have led to record-breaking border crossings. U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed the number of encounters in September was at an all-time high. His words and his actions have invited the disaster we’re watching play out year after year with dangerous and deadly consequences.

A new poll shows Americans overwhelmingly reject the administration’s handling of immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border. This isn’t surprising. Arkansans have persistently written and called me demanding enforcement of our immigration laws and stronger border security. I agree. That’s why I continue to support legislation to resume construction of a border wall, implement strategies to deter illegal border crossings and uphold the rule of law.

One policy we must end is catch-and-release, which allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release illegal immigrants into the U.S. as they await processing for deportation. This practice is reckless and riddled with problems.

In September, the DHS Office of Inspector General issued a report that found the department’s record keeping of addresses for these illegal border crossers is ineffective. The challenge of collecting destination addresses with large numbers of migrants and the inadequate resources to validate the locations prevents agents from finding these individuals in the future to enforce the law.

I’ve backed the Keep our Communities Safe Act to close the legal loophole and end this free pass for those exploiting our system.

Failure to implement policies prioritizing our national security with respect to our vulnerable border has forced leaders around the country to take action. Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders deployed Arkansas National Guard members there in support of combating illegal immigration in addition to drug and human trafficking. Other governors have joined this effort to support the Texas National Guard and its mission.

After nearly two years calling for action to stop the immigrant surge, just days ago, DHS announced it would waive federal law to allow construction of a border wall. It’s about time the administration stopped evading efforts to create physical barriers that prevent or deter illegal crossings. It should not stop at the bare minimum move it unveiled.

This all comes as there is a renewed urgency for action to secure the border. The mayor of El Paso, Texas recently said his community is at a “breaking point.” Resources are not only stretched thin along the border, but also in New York City and Chicago as a result of the influx of illegal immigrants. 

This issue has consequences for the safety of Natural State residents. An open border has created an opportunity for drug cartels to push their deadly products in our country. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid commonly found in counterfeit pills, has become the leading cause of overdose deaths in Arkansas. By July, Arkansas State Police had already seized more than 12 pounds of the drug – enough to potentially kill almost every resident of our state.

There is no acceptable reason for the catastrophe at the border to endure unchecked. I will continue supporting commonsense measures to secure our border so we can get these dangerous drugs off our streets and championing policies that deliver resources to enforce our immigration laws.