Weekly Column

This weekend, I had the opportunity to visit our southern border and see firsthand the chaos occurring there. Our trip to the Rio Grande Valley reaffirmed that what is going on at our border is nothing short of a national security crisis. The Biden administration’s reckless disregard for border security has turned every state — including Nebraska — into a border state.

My Republican colleagues and I visited the border because we want to fix this crisis. We spoke with many Border Patrol agents throughout the weekend, who told us about the outrageous numbers of migrants they encounter each day — numbers that are only growing. Total encounters this fiscal year have already shot up to 770,175. Monthly encounters reached an all-time high in December: 251,487 in just one month. Agents are doing admirable work to protect migrants, defend our national security, and stop criminals and traffickers in their tracks — but it’s all with little support from this presidential administration. 

We toured the Ursula Central Processing Center, a facility where illegal migrants are taken to be processed and temporarily housed prior to their release. Many of these people are forced to interact with “coyotes” and the cartels on their journeys to the border — interactions often linked to sex trafficking and other horror stories. 

My colleagues and I joined the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) for a night time patrol of illegal activity hot spots across the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). We stopped at the McAllen pump house, a location with direct access to the Rio Grande River through the Jaime Zapata Memorial Boat Ramp, and viewed a frequently used illegal crossing area on the river. We also joined a patrol of Anzalduas Park, an area that’s seen a recent spike in illegal crossings.

We traveled down the Rio Grande in boats to learn about the RGV Border Patrol Sector’s work ensuring safety and security on the river, and later joined the Horse Patrol Unit to travel through the brush on the U.S. side of the river. The zone we patrolled is considered one of the busiest locations for human and drug trafficking in the whole RGV, and we saw trails used regularly to smuggle drugs and people into our country. 

We also toured a recently raided stash house in the city of Hidalgo. The scene was unsettling. I was especially troubled because this type of criminal activity is preventable — but Biden’s refusal to implement commonsense rules means that trafficking occurs unabated at our border.

During a roundtable conversation the same day, we spoke with the NBPC, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and several local landowners to hear about the challenges they face daily due to the policy chaos Biden’s caused at the border. I was disturbed by what I heard about border security difficulties, drug trafficking, migrant smuggling and deaths, and harm to private property.

My time at our southern border reinforced the concerns I had about the Biden administration’s failed border policies. Until the president and border czar Vice President Harris start actually enforcing our immigration laws, this situation will not improve.

It’s also critical that we in Congress demand practical solutions to the inhumane activity overrunning our southern border.

This Congress, I introduced a resolution with Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) acknowledging the crisis at the southern border, as well as the Keep Our Communities Safe Act, which would close the “catch-and-release” loophole allowing illegal immigrants to escape into our country. Additionally, I helped introduce Sarah’s Law, sponsored by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), to require mandatory detention of illegal immigrants charged with violent crimes and better protect the public. I’ll continue urging my colleagues to join these bills and the president to sign them into law.

Maintaining our national security should not be a partisan goal — it should just be an American one. I’ll fight for border security and safety as long as I continue serving in the U.S. Senate.

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