The Biden administration recently made an astonishingly out-of-touch statement: “The border is secure.”
The president himself needs to take a trip to our states.
Unlike President Biden, we’ve both been to the U.S. border in our respective states, Texas and Arizona, and the situation is much different from what Washington politicians and bureaucrats are telling Americans.
The U.S. Border Patrol is overwhelmed. Local law enforcement and mayors are calling out for help. Citizens in border communities are concerned for their safety. And nonprofits, left to pick up the pieces of a broken federal policy, are strained.
In typical Washington fashion, the federal government has thrust this man-made crisis on states. But for the people we represent, this isn’t a political issue — it’s a real-life issue.
What’s happening at the border shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The president and Vice President Harris campaigned on a platform of relaxing border security. They supported health care for undocumented, illegal immigrants. Biden’s pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants offered amnesty for those who circumvented the legal process.
They also rushed to repudiate policies of the Trump administration, including repealing the Migrant Protection Protocols — a policy that required asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their court dates and that we fought to uphold.
These actions have led to the unprecedented surge of migrants who are overwhelming the border.
ABC News’ Martha Raddatz visited both of our states recently. She aired footage last month of interviews with people attempting to enter the country illegally. “Would you have tried to do this when Donald Trump was president?” she asked. “Definitely not,” said one asylum-seeker. “So did you come here because Joe Biden was elected president?” Raddatz asked. “Basically,” said the man.
It’s no wonder Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has called Biden the “migrant president.”
The administration’s policies and communications have encouraged thousands of people to make dangerous trips to our southern border. This has caused a humanitarian crisis that is endangering the lives and welfare of U.S. citizens, as well as those attempting to come here.
Apprehensions at the border in March reached the highest monthly level in two decades.
In fact, Customs and Border Protection has more than 18,000 migrant children in custody — the highest number in the history of the agency. Many of these children are in overcrowded federal facilities and face a significant chance of contracting covid-19.
The crisis at the border has also threatened the safety of Texans and Arizonans.
Yet, aside from two trips by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the administration has been nowhere to be found. Biden showed his apathy for this crisis by passing control of the administration’s response to Harris. Her record includes voting against funding for border security, comparing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to the KKK and calling efforts to secure the border “a distraction from the real issues.” It’s clear that this administration does not take this issue seriously.
So how can America fix this crisis?
To start, the administration needs to immediately reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols, which disincentivize migrants from making the dangerous journey to the border by ending the policy of “catch and release” for those seeking asylum. Law enforcement officials and leaders in border communities are concerned that repeal of these protocols is a major factor behind the surge in illegal border crossings. Reinstating them would go a long way toward alleviating the crisis at the border.
Next, administration officials at all levels should state clearly that our country’s borders are not open and that immigrants seeking a better life or more economic opportunity should not be attempting to utilize the asylum process. The State Department should be heavily engaged in this strategy, as the Mexican president’s continued statements blaming this crisis on Biden are concerning.
We’ve already begun to activate our states’ National Guards to the border to assist, but border enforcement is a federal responsibility. So we are requesting federal reimbursement to support this mission to resolve a problem of Washington’s creation.
We continue to support legal immigration. But what’s happening now is not legal, and it needs to end.
The president and his team should resolve these issues as soon as possible — for the protection of Arizonans, Texans, these migrants and our entire country.
Greg Abbott, a Republican, is governor of Texas. Doug Ducey, a Republican, is governor of Arizona.