Recently, I had the opportunity to lead a delegation of members of Congress to the southern border to see the illegal immigration crisis firsthand. What I saw was much worse than I ever imagined.
This surge in migrants illegally entering our country continues to escalate and create disastrous consequences. Based on conversations with people on the ground, there is zero doubt that the dramatic rise of illegal immigration since January is a direct result of President Biden’s policies. Our border is wide open, and American families and communities are suffering the consequences.
Our fact-finding trip included extensive conversations with law enforcement, a roundtable with local ranchers who expressed their concerns with the situation, and a tour of the border in New Mexico where construction of the wall had ceased. Input from stakeholders made clear what the solution is to this crisis: secure the border, build the wall, and set up help for unaccompanied children on the Mexican side of the border.
This is a situation of President Biden’s own creation. On his first day in office, in a nod to his left-wing base, the president canceled constructed of the wall and reversed other policies designed to deter illegal immigration. But that wasn’t enough. Next, President Biden rolled out immigration proposals that would grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants who violated our nation’s sovereignty by crossing the border into America.
These policies have sent a message to the world that our nation’s immigration laws can be violated without consequence. The result is a humanitarian and national security crisis, which the facts bear out. For the opening months of 2021, the seizure of fentanyl on the southwestern border increased by 233% compared to the same time period in 2020. For that same time period, rates of unaccompanied minors entering the country are up 486%, and total illegal immigrants encountered by border patrol agents rose by 400%.
While the public safety crisis that comes with an open border is clear, it is also important to note that we have a humanitarian crisis on our hands. 19,000 unaccompanied children entered U.S. custody near the border in March alone, creating both a strain on our border agents and a crisis for these children sent here by their parents. These children are being housed in facilities in towns across the border, some of which we were able to visit.
Unfortunately, President Biden and Vice President Harris have neglected this crisis, declining to visit the border to see it for themselves. Not only have they been absent, but this administration’s policies have worsened the crisis.
Our trip to the border demonstrated that until we take border security seriously, we will continue to see these huge surges in illegal immigration. I will continue to push for the Democratic majority in Washington to take this crisis seriously and secure the border while dealing with the children encountered in a safe and humanitarian manner — on the Mexican side of the border.
Rep. James Comer is a United States Congressman for the 1st Congressional District, which spans from south central Kentucky to the river counties of far western Kentucky. He serves as the Republican Leader for the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Contact him with any questions or concerns in his Washington D.C. office at 202-225-3115, in the Tompkinsville Office at 270-487-9509, in the Paducah Office at 270-408-1865, or schedule an appointment in the Madisonville Office by calling 270-487-9509.