The left decried President Trump’s “America First” immigration policies and charged Republicans with being inhumane for seeking to uphold the laws of our country. Now, it seems these “humanitarians” have disappeared as we watch the Biden Administration’s approach play out in real-time.
The consequences of President Biden’s actions to decrease our border security and provide incentives for illegal entry are certainly record-breaking. Just last month, the amount of children in Border Patrol shelters through the Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) program reached the highest number in the program’s history. The 500 available beds in these shelters are proving to be extremely insufficient for the thousands of children crossing the border. The Department of Health and Human Services expects their overflow facilities will hit capacity this month as the surge continues, and are reportedly looking to Department of Defense facilities to be set up as backup locations to house the unaccompanied minors.
Since inauguration day, family units attempting to illegally cross the southern border increased from 500 to 2,500 — per week. Overall border police apprehensions have shown similar increases, with 78,000 apprehensions in January 2021, over double the same month in the year prior.
There is no question to the cause of the exponential surge of illegal immigrants. Since election day, President Biden has been clear on his intentions to reverse the Trump Administration’s Zero-Tolerance Policy toward unlawful immigration. After being inaugurated, his actions have only served to further foster and encourage this surge. This includes an executive order directing the Department of Homeland Security to halt any deportation for the next 100 days while his administration looks to implement their extreme immigration bill: The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021.
This proposal would give almost 12 million illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship and complete amnesty — even if they have been adjudicated during the prior administration. Rather than focusing on widely-supported, merit-based immigration policies, The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 prioritizes blanket increases of immigrants through expansion of the visa lottery program.
The U.S Citizenship Act reinforces President Biden’s Executive Order to halt construction of the southern border by shifting resources from the border to “investing in improving screening infrastructure at our points of entry” — even at a time when ICE and CBP are already operating at less than 30% of their capacity.
This notion that most illegal immigrants enter the United States through a designated point of entry is false. Dismantling the 700-mile wall is not only fiscally irresponsible, but it gives illegal immigrants easier accessibility and further incentive to enter the United States unlawfully.
During my visit to the border in 2019, I talked to border agents about the pervasive challenges they face daily, from drug trafficking, human trafficking, cartel violence, and illegal entry– all at staggering rates. From 2014 to 2018, the Congressional Research Service estimates that 65% of the United States’ illicit drugs (including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and opioids) were seized at our southern border. Hearing about this crisis first hand opened my eyes to the hostile situations our border agents encounter daily, and I am certain these threats will only be intensified by President Biden’s actions.
These consequences will be only the tip of the iceberg of the current myriad of policy decisions continue — but the solution is simple. Strong border policies and commitment to upholding the rule of law discourages illegal entry. The opposite is guaranteed when decreasing border security, providing incentives for illegal entry, and ignoring the rule of law.
A country’s sovereignty relies on its ability to protect and defend its boundaries. I have been to 47 countries around the world, and every one of them protects their borders robustly — it is the humane thing to do.
Russ Fulcher is a Congressional representative and Republican representing Idaho’s 1st Congressional district.