The White House’s Faux Urgency for a Border Deal

The White House’s Faux Urgency for a Border Deal


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For 34 months, the Biden administration has failed to secure the border. This is a fact that progressive mayors and governors around the country are now recognizing. Instead of acknowledging responsibility for causing the worst humanitarian and security crisis our country has ever experienced, the administration returns to its same tired request – asking Congress to approve billions of dollars of additional taxpayer funding to speed up the processing and release of illegal aliens at the southern border into American communities.  

As recently as October, President Joe Biden asked Congress for $13.6 billion in emergency supplemental funding to do just this. Conservatives in Congress have correctly rejected the president’s request.   

Now, suddenly, the White House is eager to strike a deal on revising our border security laws. What’s changed? The short answer – the completely unrelated desire for additional Ukraine funding. The White House appears to be more interested in the security of Ukraine’s borders than that of our U.S. southern border.    

BIDEN HAS ANOTHER CALAMITOUS YEAR AT THE SOUTHERN BORDER IN 2023 AS RECORDS SHATTER

The callousness of this effort smacks of politics and misplaced priorities. The Biden administration saw no need to pivot after 1.7 million illegal aliens were encountered at the southern border in Fiscal Year 2021 or when 2.37 million encounters occurred in Fiscal Year 2022 or when 2.47 million encounters occurred in Fiscal Year 2023.  

Asylum-seeking migrants wait in line to receive donated food, with a rainbow in the distance, at a makeshift camp while awaiting processing by the U.S. Border Patrol on November 30, 2023, in Jacumba Hot Springs, California. The remote community, with a population of 600, has seen a recent influx of hundreds of illegal immigrants arriving daily. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Each of these fiscal years became the all-time, record-setting level of illegal alien encounters at the southern border, and Fiscal Year 2024 is already on yet another record-setting pace. If there were ever a moment to acknowledge the failure of these policies, it would have been last December when a then-single month record of 252,315 illegal aliens crossed the southern border, bucking the historic trend of low apprehensions during the winter months. 

Did the Biden administration respond by reviving the successful Trump administration policies it terminated? Of course not. It compounded the problem by unlawfully allowing illegal aliens into American communities through an abuse of the narrow immigration parole authority. 

It is clear the Biden administration is only coming to the table because it views funding the war in Ukraine as its top policy issue. Congress should be skeptical of any claims by administration officials that new laws will be enforced when so many current ones have been ignored.  

As someone who led the Department of Homeland Security, I can tell you that there is ample discretionary authority on the books to solve the catastrophe along the border tomorrow. The Biden administration has simply refused to use it.  

If the administration was truly serious about fixing their mess, they would immediately revive the proven Migrant Protection Protocols, or Remain in Mexico policy, and renegotiate the asylum cooperative agreements they canceled.  

The Department of Homeland Security could restore its expedited removal authority to the fullest extent authorized under the law after the Biden administration chose to defy congressional intent by narrowing its application. The fact that they are not executing on any of these things within their control indicates that the administration is not negotiating in good faith.  

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If Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will not use the full authority he currently possesses to secure the border, then why should the American people believe he will actually use any new authority? Before passing additional laws, Congress should demand that the administration take specific action today utilizing existing authority.   

If the administration fails to take action, then it will be clear to the American people that the White House is not serious about solving the border crisis. The American people overwhelmingly oppose the Biden administration’s border policies, and the issue is a clear liability for the president ahead of next year’s election.  

Now, suddenly, the White House is eager to strike a deal on revising our border security laws. What’s changed? The short answer – the completely unrelated desire for additional Ukraine funding. The White House appears to be more interested in the security of Ukraine’s borders than that of our U.S. southern border.    

Now is the time for real change, not half-measures. Conservatives should continue to work toward passing real and proven border security reforms that will secure the border, defeat the cartels and end human trafficking. 

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The House of Representatives did just that by passing H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act, earlier this year. That bill contains numerous America First policies, including reforming asylum to prevent fraud in the system and mandating all the discretionary enforcement authority this administration refuses to use. The bill could pass the Senate and go to Biden’s desk to be signed into law, but Majority Leader Chuck Schumer controls the legislative calendar and refuses to schedule it for a vote.  

Because the situation at the southern border is so dire today, a small number of changes to the law will not end this crisis. Now is the time for bold action along the border. The American people deserve no less.   

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