- - Wednesday, November 15, 2023

In October alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports that 240,988 foreigners were “encountered” attempting to enter the U.S. from Mexico, the highest total for that month in our history. Among them were 13 people on the FBI terror watchlist. Not among them, of course, were the tens of thousands of “gotaways” who sneaked into our country without being caught and could present all kinds of threats to American families.

The Biden administration’s determination to use every means at its disposal to let more people cross our southern border illegally means that unless Congress steps up, the situation will only get worse.

For instance, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has supercharged the use of CBP One, a phone application that makes entering the country as easy as a few clicks. Hundreds of thousands of people have already taken advantage of this “lawful pathway” on the premise that they will later claim asylum. But once inside the U.S., many don’t even bother to apply, let alone complete the process.

Sadly, as the border crisis waxes, congressional Republicans’ resolve to fix it wanes.

In a trifecta fail this week, the House declined to impeach Mr. Mayorkas for his culpable mismanagement of the border, continued funding the Department of Homeland Security to process and release illegal border crossers, and missed the chance to make the Secure the Border Act a condition of the new continuing resolution to fund the government into early next year.

In other words, they missed a golden opportunity. If passed, the Secure the Border Act would bring long-overdue changes to secure the border by reducing asylum fraud, limiting parole, ending the unaccompanied alien child loophole, and requiring employers to use E-Verify to confirm that employees are eligible to work, among other provisions.

Rather than advancing this much-needed legislation, however, some in the Senate are working on a compromise border plan that would undermine the border bill and other efforts to put teeth back into border enforcement.

How a crisis of this magnitude gave way to politics and lesser priorities is almost unfathomable. Yet once again, Americans suffer while Washington continues conducting itself as if no border crisis were occurring — in other words, business as usual.

As Republicans gear up for another budget fight after the holidays, they should unite behind a platform that incorporates real border security as a condition of approving any supplemental spending. That means investing in proven solutions that reduce economically motivated mass migration, such as a border wall system, reinstating safe third-country requirements, ending “catch and release,” and reforming the asylum system to prevent fraud.

Congress need not come up with the money to secure our border out of thin air. Rather, they can simply redirect the Biden administration’s current budget request for a supplement $13.6 billion to be spent on “border security.”

For instance, conservatives might consider taking the $4.4 billion requested for CBP “border operations” — by which President Biden means funding tent cities on the border and buying bus and plane tickets for immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally so that they can travel to already overwhelmed places like New York and Chicago — and instead put it toward finishing the wall.

Likewise, conservatives can take money allotted for Federal Emergency Management Agency Shelter and Services grants — which the Biden administration intends to hand over to open-borders nongovernmental organizations that are enriched by the lucrative migration-industrial complex — and put it toward bolstering CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations to detain and deport illegal aliens, including criminals, who have been ordered removed by immigration courts.

In short, conservative must come together before the next budget battle and united to stop the bleeding at our border. Otherwise, the situation at our southern border will only get worse.


Simon Hankinson is a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center.

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