Weekly Column

This Wednesday, an immigration provision called Title 42 could expire.

Title 42 is a critical public health order that gives the federal government the ability to immediately expel individuals entering the country illegally. This Trump-era tool has helped to prevent the situation at the border from spiraling even further out of control.

President Biden previously attempted to rescind Title 42 in April, but various legal battles delayed a permanent decision. Now, barring any last-minute action by the Supreme Court, Title 42 could end this week. That would add fuel to an already out of control illegal immigration crisis.

Just how bad is the situation? According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, there were a record 2.3 million migrant encounters at the southern border this past fiscal year. And the numbers show no sign of stopping. In October alone, there were 230,000 encounters, an all-time monthly record.

You’ve likely seen the disturbing images coming out of places like El Paso, Texas, where the mayor recently declared a state of emergency. The city is overrun as more than 
2,000 individuals attempt to illegally cross over every day. This is an invasion.

Yet just a few weeks ago, President Biden dismissed this crisis, saying “there are more important things going on.” The reality is that the breakdown in border security poses a severe threat to the nation.

Consider the fact that in FY22, there were 
98 terrorism watch list arrests at the southern border. That’s nearly four times more arrests than the previous five years combined.

The failure to secure the border is also facilitating the flow of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and other illicit substances into our country, which threatens our children and our communities. Mexican cartels manufacture these drugs, and then manipulate the chaos at the border to smuggle tons of narcotics out of Mexico and into nearly every corner of the U.S.

The impact is heartbreaking. 
Between 2019 and 2021, Douglas County, Nebraska, saw a tragic 400% increase in fentanyl overdose deaths. Across the country, fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49. 

Again, when we can’t control who is entering our country and what they are bringing – that’s a serious national security risk. 

This administration’s lenient immigration policies have directly undermined the security of our southern border. After being inaugurated, President Biden ended the national emergency declaration at the border, halted construction on the border wall, and scaled back ICE enforcement. The White House also terminated President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy – another constructive program proven to reduce the volume of people flooding the border. Meanwhile, this administration continues to demonize CBP officers who risk their lives to enforce our borders.

Now with Title 42 potentially ending, President Biden has no plan to handle the inevitable surge. Congressional Democrats’ only solution is to spend more taxpayer dollars in the hopes of processing migrants faster. This does nothing to deter illegal immigration.

With the right policies in place, we can re-secure the border. 

A good first step would be extending Title 42 so border agents don’t lose one of their most powerful expulsion tools. We should also be investing more in new border security measures and resources for the men and women of CBP. Finally, I’ve joined legislation in the Senate to end lenient policies like “catch and release” and increase penalties for those who skip immigration court hearings. 

These are the types of substantive actions the Biden administration needs to get behind if it is serious about fixing the crisis it has created. Until that happens, our nation will continue to be less safe. 

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

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