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Restoring order at the border

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By U.S. Rep. Tom Cole

Chaos is the one word that accurately describes the current situation at the southern border. The present state of affairs that has gone on for more than two years as a direct result of reckless and thoughtless policy decisions by the Biden Administration is endangering lives and U.S. security. It cannot continue as is. However, last week House Republicans advanced legislation to restore order and alleviate this national security and humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions.

The Democrats’ open border agenda started with halting border wall construction. That was followed by the reinstatement of catch and release, termination of “Remain in Mexico” and measures that tied the hands of law enforcement. These thoughtless policy decisions have caused some of the largest waves of illegal border crossings in recorded history, exceeding 5 million since President Biden has been in office, according to Customs and Border Control’s (CBP) own numbers. CBP also reports that nearly 1.3 million illegal immigrants have evaded apprehension and escaped into the U.S.

These numbers only scratch the surface of the grim realities faced. A porous border is anything but kind or compassionate as it empowers drug cartels and human traffickers and allows fentanyl and illicit drugs to flow into our communities. CBP as seized more than 14,000 pounds of fentanyl at the border since President Joe Biden assumed office, enough to kill more than 3 billion people. And it has also become a path utilized by terror suspects to try and sneak into our homeland. So far in fiscal year 2023 alone, 80 people on the terrorist watch list were caught trying to enter our country unlawfully. With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, Congress can now act and begin to repair the damage done.

After repeatedly pleading with the Biden Administration and House Democrats to acknowledge the humanitarian and security crisis at the border to no avail, last week, House Republicans passed a critical piece of legislation to secure our border and stop the surge of illegal immigration. H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, is a complete rejection of President Biden’s border policies and purposeful inaction. 

H.R. 2 provides the resources and direction necessary to secure the border once and for all. The legislation’s important reforms combat fraud and abuse in the asylum process, prevents the catch and release of aliens into American communities and establishes new penalties for visa overstays. It also immediately resumes construction of the border wall, which President Biden halted on his first day in office, and adds more physical barriers and tactical infrastructure along the border. Additionally, this bill gives our dedicated border patrol agents the resources, equipment and manpower to meet their mission and gain operational control and strengthens current law to protect unaccompanied children from human trafficking.

The measures in the Secure the Border Act of 2023 will go a long way to secure our southern border and end the reign of horror that the cartels are perpetrating against vulnerable populations. We have a constitutional obligation to secure our border and keep Americans safe, and I was proud to support its passage to help uphold that commitment.

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