In March alone, U.S. Border Patrol arrested 210,000 migrants attempting to illegally cross the Southern border. That’s the highest one-month total in 20 years, and follows last year’s record of 1.9 million arrests by border patrol agents. These numbers show no signs of slowing down, and the Biden administration’s decision to rescind a rule known as Title 42 that has helped turn away millions of illegal immigrants at our border could lead to as many as 18,000 migrants per day.
President Biden’s border crisis is historic, but for all the wrong reasons.
At the border itself, agents are overwhelmed—with many working overtime and performing duties beyond their job descriptions. Morale is at an all-time low, which frankly, should surprise no one. The border crisis has resulted in a flood of illicit drugs into communities across the country. In one year alone, agents seized enough fentanyl to kill every single American.
This administration’s border policies have also endangered our national security at a time when our adversaries are emboldened around the globe. At least 23 people apprehended at the Southern border last year were on the terror watch list. And with China in our backyard in Central and South America, you know they are exploiting an open border every chance they get.
Either the Biden administration is too consumed with the array of additional crises they’ve created, or they do not understand the magnitude of this problem.
The “border czar,” Vice President Kamala Harris, has yet to lay out a coherent plan to address the issues we’re facing. Instead, the administration’s policies have encouraged many migrants to make the dangerous trip to the border—from reducing the number of individuals Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prioritized for enforcement to changing how asylum is granted. And now they are looking to remove the lever that allowed the government to expel over one million migrants who illegally crossed the border, Title 42.
As the situation worsens, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and the administration’s top officials are asleep at the wheel.
Last week, I joined my colleagues in demanding answers from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on the recent changes to how the department enforces border security and processes migrants at the Southern border. I’ve also adamantly opposed the move to lift Title 42, and if they do, I’ve been clear that I’m strongly against any plans to use Department of Veterans Affairs’ resources to address the impending influx of migrants that will result from this decision.
Iowans are concerned about this crisis and the devastating impacts it’s having in our communities. I heard about it during my town halls and during my 99 County Tour just this week. Congress can and should have serious negotiations on reforming our immigration system, but that won’t happen until we can secure our Southern border, keep Americans safe, and enforce the laws on the books.
Joni Ernst, a native of Red Oak and a combat veteran, represents Iowa in the United States Senate.