Jan 31 2023

Several weeks ago, I went on a tour of our Southern border with a bipartisan group of senators to see the situation first-hand. And I can tell you that the crisis created by the Biden Administration is even worse than has been reported by media outlets.
I spoke to countless Border Patrol officers and heard the same refrain. They emphasized that the Biden administration’s failure to enforce our immigration laws has directly led to the historic numbers of illegal immigrants arriving at our border. It has completely overwhelmed our capacity and has pushed our immigration enforcement system to its breaking point.
Morale among Border Patrol officers has never been worse. They are doing the best they can despite being overworked, underpaid, and completely unappreciated by the current administration. Instead of securing our border, many officers are being forced to essentially act as babysitters for unaccompanied minors. This in turn has led to serious recruitment issues for an already understaffed law enforcement agency. Consider that the New York City Police Department has 34,000 officers patrolling roughly 300 square miles. Border Patrol only has 20,000 officers patrolling 6,000 miles of land along our southern and northern borders.
I heard the same question from officers: if we don’t have the staff and resources we need now, how on Earth can we do our jobs when Title 42 is gone?
The Biden administration needs to get its act together immediately, and Congress must step in to support Border Patrol and ensure this administration is enforcing the laws passed by Congress.
… We need to drastically overhaul our asylum system to build new processing centers to hold more migrants and return them to their country of origin or a safe third country if or when their asylum application is denied.
We also need to hire significantly more Border Patrol officers, as building new facilities and capacities to detain illegal immigrants is meaningless without the personnel to enforce our laws. Given the challenges Border Patrol faces to recruit more agents, we must also provide additional support and incentives to the brave men and women of Border Patrol who keep our country safe.
Late last year, I worked with Senator Kyrsten Sinema to develop a framework to secure our border and reform our broken asylum laws that caused a spike in illegal immigration. By putting forward concrete, commonsense solutions, we were predictably attacked by both sides of the political spectrum.
We desperately need to act on the border. However, with a divided Congress, action means some level of compromise will be necessary.
Democrats need to accept the reality that we have a crisis at the border and ignore the voices on the far left that falsely claim simply enforcing our laws and supporting Border Patrol is somehow "inhumane."
President Biden needs to accept the reality that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has been a complete failure at border enforcement – whether the result of his intention or incompetence. When working on a bipartisan framework, many of my Republican colleagues were interested in bipartisan solutions, but simply could not trust Secretary Mayorkas to enforce whatever Congress passes. I share that concern. New leadership at DHS is needed and Mayorkas needs to go.
Republicans need to understand the consequences of failing to get anything done. The new House majority must take the first step in the months ahead to get us closer to the security and enforcement reforms we need. Succeeding will not be easy, but the consequence of continued inaction will mean the Biden Administration allowing millions of additional illegals to enter our country, cartels smuggling in more deadly drugs, and the continued embarrassment of the strongest and most prosperous country in the world being unable to secure its own border.
Read the full op-ed here.