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Front view of the Capitol

The Urgent Need to Secure Our Southern Border

October 6, 2021
Weekly Columns

The American people are witnessing the devastating effects of President Biden’s open border policy, by not only creating chaos at the US Mexico border, but in the entire country. With heightened terror threats from Afghanistan, the continuous spread of Covid-19, and the recent humanitarian crisis of Haitian migrants, securing and regulating our border is absolutely crucial in keeping our country controlled, functioning, and most importantly, safe from external threats.

Biden has done more to open the southern border than secure it, and record-breaking data from August shows the effects of his decision to stop building the wall and bring back catch-and-release. Border apprehensions remained at a two-decade high, with 208,887 captures in August, a 317% increase from last year. More than 43,000 illegal immigrants were released in the U.S. in August alone. Although apprehensions are skyrocketing, the Biden administration is attempting to end the Remain in Mexico policy, which requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico to await hearings on their requests for refuge in the US. This decision would further overwhelm our southern boundaries and allow for more illegal immigration into our country without regulation.

If these numbers aren’t enough, the recent flood of Haitian migrants to Del Rio, Texas has highlighted this crisis and further exposed the vulnerabilities in our immigration system. Over 12,000 illegal Haitian migrants have been released into the United States without being tested or vaccinated for Covid-19, with Haiti’s vaccine rate below 1%. In order to prevent a crisis like this from happening again, we must enact substantial, commonsense policy changes.

Monday, I visited Del Rio to hear directly from our US Customs and Border Patrol agents (CBP), Texas National Guard and Texas State Troopers. Just in the last 12 months, more than 1.5 million crossings have occurred, more than the last 9 years combined. In just one station within the Del Rio sector, apprehensions have multiplied at an alarming rate, going from 7,400 last year to more than 94,000 in 2021. Agents have detained people from more than 90 countries, including Yemen. Nearly 10,000 individuals with criminal convictions have been arrested in FY2021 attempting to illegally cross the border, compared with just 2,438 in FY2020. While the humanitarian crisis aspect is disturbing, I’m more concerned with the growing national security crisis.

Coming from a family of immigrants, I can personally appreciate and welcome those seeking opportunities and a better life in our country, but Biden’s policies have not allowed for proper, legal immigration. Instead, he has incentivized illegal border crossing that is directly harming our country by dwindling resources, endangering communities, emboldening terror threats, and hurting migrants. I will continue to stand with our CBP agents who experience the impacts of this crisis daily and will work toward creating meaningful legislation to provide them with much-needed resources, advanced technology, and additional support to firmly secure our southern border.