More bad news at the border

by Tom Cole

In a few days on December 21, Title 42 will expire, a critical tool that allows the government to expel immigrants from countries with communicable diseases and block immigrants from unlawfully entering the United States to prevent the spread of such diseases. Not only will this surely increase the flow of migrants into our country, but the Biden Administration has no plan to combat this surge or reinstate an alternative instrument.

Just as he has done since his inauguration, President Joe Biden is ignoring the crisis at our southern border. In fact, because the president has dismantled many of our border safety protocols, Title 42 is one of the last tools Customs and Border Protection has in place to keep migrants from flooding into our country. This is a dangerous game to be playing, especially as we have already seen the detrimental effects of an unsecure border unfold across the United States. 

Since President Biden assumed office less than two years ago, more than 4 million illegal immigrants have been apprehended crossing the southern border. In November, there were a historic number of “gotaways,” or those who have escaped into our country, amounting to more than 70,000 personnel. Also, throughout the last year, border patrol agents apprehended 98 individuals on the Terrorist Screening Database. This was more than the previous five years combined. Additionally, more than 14,000 pounds of poisonous and deadly fentanyl was seized in the last year at our southern border, yet another record.

Although the Biden Administration refuses to take the border crisis seriously, I am proud that Congress recently took steps to mitigate this crisis in the in the National Defense Authorization for fiscal year 2023. This critical legislation authorizes full funding the U.S. National Guard’s operation and maintenance during border deployment and requires quarterly briefings to Congress on Department of Defense support for the Department of Homeland Security at the southern border. It also calls for a report on National Guard efforts to counter the flow of narcotics, human trafficking and transnational criminal organizations. Finally, it rightly requires the president to submit a report to Congress on security and law enforcement cooperation with Mexico, multinational efforts to strengthen judicial processes against cartels and national security impacts of cartel-controlled areas and activities.

Come January when Republicans assume the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, we plan to hold the current administration accountable for creating and wrongly handling this unprecedented crisis and to enact policies to secure the border and combat illegal immigration. These policies include fully funding effective border enforcement strategies, infrastructure and advanced technology to prevent illegal crossings and trafficking by cartels, ending catch-and-release loopholes, requiring proof of legal status to get a job and reinstating the successful Remain in Mexico program.

President Biden’s open border has undoubtedly left our border communities and the entire United States vulnerable. It is past time to get this crisis under control and protect U.S. citizens, which we can start by securing our southern border and upholding Title 42.