Joe Biden recently presided over a historic achievement, but unfortunately not an achievement worth
According to the Washington Post, more illegal immigrants were arrested along the U.S.-Mexico border
in fiscal year 2021 than ever before recorded. More than 1.7 million migrants were encountered by U.S.
Customs and Border Protection.
The numbers are astounding but not surprising. When the top officials in the Federal Government,
including those responsible for border security, seek to dismantle enforcement at the border and
implement policies like “catch and release,” of course more people will seek to enter the country illegally.
Upon taking office, the Biden Administration quickly sought to end policies that worked to restrict illegal
entry into the United States. It immediately stopped construction of the border wall, even if doing so led
to absurd outcomes like the portions of wall with open gates that I witnessed at the border earlier this
year. It undid agreements with Central American countries, which sent illegal immigrants seeking asylum
to those countries instead of ours. It stopped the Remain in Mexico policy, which required asylum
seekers to wait in that country while the asylum claims moved forward.
As a result, we witness surging numbers of illegal immigrants, straining the capacity of our Border Patrol
to intercept and detain them.
In August alone, 208,887 illegal immigrants were apprehended. That number was 317 percent higher
than in the same month last year. That month was the second straight with more than 200,000
Further, there are not necessarily consequences for breaking our laws thanks to the Biden
Administration’s “catch and release” policies. Illegal immigrants are most often released after
apprehension and told to appear for a hearing in the future, sometimes years later. Predictably, many do
not show up.
Because our Border Patrol agents are dealing with the tens of thousands who submit to arrest voluntarily
in order to be caught and released, the really bad actors involved in human trafficking, drug smuggling,
or crossing the border again after being deported for committing crimes find it easier to infiltrate the
In an insult to law-abiding American citizens, the Biden Administration does not even require COVID-19
testing for illegal immigrants before they are released into our country. This stands in sharp contrast to
the vaccine mandates it intends to impose on Americans and the requirements that legal travelers show
proof of vaccination. This double standard is an injustice to the people the Biden Administration is
obligated to serve, as well as a threat to the health of the migrants themselves and the communities into
which they are released.
Not only people are crossing the border illegally. So is contraband such as fentanyl, the dangerous
synthetic opioid contributing to our country’s drug abuse crisis, of which more than 6,000 pounds were
seized at the border since February. Methamphetamine and other illegal drugs crossing the border
continue to be a problem as well.
More is likely to come. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned that October might bring
350,000 to 400,000 border apprehensions. One of the reasons why that extraordinary number might be
reached is that the Biden Administration continues to mull ending Title 42 restrictions. They allow for
quicker deportation of illegal immigrants due to the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus.
Ending the use of Title 42 while other coronavirus restrictions continue would be yet another example of
this Administration treating illegal immigrants better than American citizens.
On his own, President Biden is unlikely to change his position at the border, but other factors may force
his hand. Courts recently blocked the Administration’s termination of the Remain in Mexico policy,
requiring it to be reinstated.
This same policy could be codified into federal law by H.R. 1259, the REMAIN in Mexico Act. I
cosponsored this legislation, introduced by Congressman Matt Rosendale (R-MT), and signed a discharge
petition calling for it to be brought to the floor of the House of Representatives.