Sen. Roger Marshall: President Biden's immigration policies created a crisis at the US border
I recently took my third trip to our southern border as a member of Congress, my first since being elected to the U.S. Senate. It was also my first visit since President Biden has been in office.
As a physician, I’ve done mission work all over the world and I know a humanitarian crisis when I see it. The situation at our southern border is a massive crisis. During a 30-mile helicopter tour in Texas, I saw more than 200 border crossers traveling by foot, car or raft as they ventured across the Rio Grande to take advantage of the lax immigration enforcement measures being deployed on our southern border.
This was just a fraction of what the state is seeing at this stretch of border on a daily basis.
The current administration attempts to blame this crisis on the previous administration, stating its predecessor’s policies created a “pent-up demand.” This dangerous deflection fails to acknowledge that the increased demand has come directly at the hands of President Biden.
Since being sworn in, he has implemented a number of policies and proposed several others that are now serving as an immense magnet for individuals in Mexico and Central American countries to attempt to enter the United States. He halted construction of the border wall by unlawfully freezing funding, ended the Remain in Mexico Program and has reaffirmed his commitment to grant blanket amnesty to at least 11 million illegal immigrants already residing in the country, to name a few.
With less than two months in office, President Biden’s policies have created a three-pronged crisis on the southern border unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
First, it’s a humanitarian crisis. The number of unaccompanied children being held in detention is unprecedented and the sheer volume of individuals arriving at our southern border is amongst the highest ever recorded. The number of children in Customs and Border Patrol custody has increased by more than 400%, up to more than 13,000. Holding facilities for minors in the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas where I toured are at 363% capacity.
In February, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested nearly 100,441 individuals, the third-highest month in more than a decade and 45% higher than February during the 2019 border crisis.
Second, it’s a health care crisis. The United States is emerging from a year spent battling a deadly pandemic that resulted in the death of more than half a million Americans. Migrants arriving at the southern border are testing positive for the coronavirus at between three and 10 times the rate of American citizens.
Third, it’s a national security crisis. By exploiting the surge of individuals making the journey north, Mexican cartels are making money by assisting many of them across the border. The Texas Department of Public Safety told me that Mexican Cartels are making more money trafficking humans than they do drugs.
Apprehending unaccompanied minors and family units is also taking away resources from Border Patrol so it's unable to focus on drug seizures. In February, drug seizures increased 50% from January, including a 40% increase in methamphetamine and a 48% increase in heroin.
The Biden administration policies of an open border and mass amnesty have created a humanitarian crisis, a health care crisis and a national security crisis.
While we try to show compassion to everyone, keeping our border secure must be a top priority. Without secure borders, we cannot ensure our nation’s safety, period.
Roger Marshall is a U.S. senator from Kansas.