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While Biden Dithers, House Republicans Plan to Secure Our Border

Republicans will not ignore the crisis. We will restore the security of our border.

By August Pfluger | Originally Published in National Review May 18, 2023

House Republicans are fulfilling our promise to restore sanctity, safety, and security at our border by passing H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023.

President Biden allowed Title 42 — a pandemic-era public-health measure that allows border officials to immediately expel migrants who attempt to cross into our country illegally, disallowing them to claim asylum — to expire, and he has told the country to brace for chaos. This is not news. Republicans have been telling him that the border is a chaotic crisis for two and a half years. Where is the president, Secretary Mayorkas, and the vice president? They’re completely out of touch, and the result is an insecure border and the destruction of the rule of law. We have an answer in H.R. 2.

This bill is about protecting Texans and all Americans whose lives are being put at risk by the untenable crisis at our southern border. In the two years that President Biden has been in office, there have been over 5 million encounters at the southern border and at least 1.4 million “gotaways” — that is, people released into this country without any accountability as to their identity or future whereabouts.

That totals nearly 6.5 million people. To put it in perspective: That’s bigger than the populations of 33 U.S. states.

Among the 5 million encounters, our Border Patrol heroes have caught nearly 200 known and suspected terrorists trying to cross into our country illegally. This should concern every American. But what I’m even more concerned about is how many among the 1.4 million who got away are in this category. This is something I have been sounding alarm bells about during my entire time in Congress. In addition, there are countless harrowing statistics of criminals apprehended, drug seizures, deaths from fentanyl, and more since President Biden took office. In just the first six months of fiscal year 2023, Border Patrol agents have seized over 14,000 pounds of fentanyl — enough to kill the entire U.S. population nine times over.

The border crisis is more than statistics and numbers, however.

These are real people whose real lives were ended or changed forever. This is not just a border crisis; this is a national-security and humanitarian crisis that is endangering every American every day. Americans like Elisa Tambunga from Ozona, Texas, whose seven-year-old daughter and 71-year-old mother were killed in a high-speed car wreck by a human-trafficker who was smuggling eleven illegal aliens in his pickup truck, or fathers like Joe Warnick of Odessa, Texas, who found his 17-year-old-son dead after his son had taken a pill laced with fentanyl that was likely trafficked illegally across the southern border.

Or children, like the 700 unaccompanied minors who were dropped off at a large temporary workforce-housing site in Midland, Texas, in the middle of the night by the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services. Or the migrants themselves, 53 of whom were killed in the sweltering heat in the back of a tractor-trailer in San Antonio after being smuggled into the U.S.

Americans demand a solution. I am proud to join my colleagues in helping to author the Secure the Border Act of 2023. The timing of our solution could not be more critical, with the Biden administration allowing Title 42 to expire — inviting another harrowing surge of illegal immigration to our border.

Our solution will force the Biden administration to restart construction of the border wall, deploy much-needed technology improvements, increase the number of Border Patrol agents and give them well-deserved bonuses, require transparency from the Department of Homeland Security regarding illegal crossings, strengthen current law to protect unaccompanied children from human trafficking, end the catch-and-release policy that requires the federal government to release illegal migrants into the country while awaiting a court date, and end the abuse of executive immigration authority.

Several of my original provisions are included in this package to require the Biden administration to own up to the total number of known “gotaways” and known or suspected terrorists crossing the border each month, as well as outline the costs that border states are incurring because of the crisis.

Republicans will not ignore the crisis. We will restore the security of our border.