‘When we continue to leave the door wide open to our country, it puts the American people at risk. It’s not smart, and it’s not safe.’
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) authored the following op-ed in Yellowhammer News in response to the Biden administration’s recent announcement to lift Title 42 on May 23, despite record-high numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border. Title 42 is a COVID-era public health order put in place to allow for immediate expulsion of those illegally entering the United States. The Biden administration has not yet offered an alternative solution to implement in place of Title 42.
Biden is Giving a Green Light Where There Should be a Stop Sign
U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville
April 5, 2022
Illegal immigration is at an all-time high. Just last year, nearly 2 million illegal immigrants from more than 160 countries were apprehended at our southern border—nearly 10 times the population of Alabama’s largest city of Huntsville. This is a direct result of the Biden administration rolling back the enforcement of immigration laws, limiting the ability of our law enforcement officers to fulfill their oath to defend our country, slashing funding, and closing ICE detention facilities.
We’re already on track to exceed last year’s record, with February becoming the twelfth consecutive month with more than 150,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions. Yet the Biden administration continues to roll out the welcome mat for those who illegally enter our country. During his first few months in office, President Biden tried to brush off the surge in illegal immigrant apprehensions as nothing more than a seasonal trend. However, it has become quite clear that what’s happening at the border cannot be explained away by seasonal trends. The problem is only getting worse, and we cannot afford to keep ignoring it.
The crisis at our southern border has gotten so out of hand that any form of would-be border security hangs on Title 42—an emergency public health authority, determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and invoked during the Trump administration, that prohibits the admission of non-essential travelers at the border to reduce the rate of infection. The Biden administration weakened Title 42 by allowing children to bypass the rule, meaning unaccompanied minors could come into the U.S. without being expelled. But now, pressured by calls from the far-Left, the CDC announced that Title 42 will be completely rolled back on May 23. Worse, the Biden administration has not articulated another border security plan that would replace it.
Even with Title 42 in place, our Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and agents are overwhelmed. And now, we’re seeing reports from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials warning of an anticipated 25,000 illegal immigrants waiting just south of the U.S.-Mexico border for Title 42 to end.
DHS officials are also conducting contingency planning, anticipating as many as 18,000 migrant encounters per day should Title 42 be lifted. If we think the situation at the southern border is bad now, just imagine what it will be like if Title 42 were rescinded completely, and no border security plan was put in its place. Disastrous. It’s as if you’re in a sinking ship trying to get the water out with a spoon until you decide to just throw the spoon overboard, too.
Open borders have ripple effects throughout the country. It may be true some immigrants come to our border in search of a better life, but when you signal there are no repercussions for breaking our country’s laws, opportunists will take advantage. Biden officials continue to give the green light to anyone wishing to cross our border without properly vetting them. Just this week, border patrol agents arrested two illegal immigrants with criminal records, including kidnapping, murder, and sexual contact charges. Additionally, deadly, illegal drugs, such as fentanyl, are pouring across the southern border and claiming thousands of American lives. Since President Biden’s inauguration, CBP has seized nearly 3,000 pounds of fentanyl –a 41% increase from the year before. We’re seeing seizures of this deadly drug across the country, including in Alabama. In October of last year, Baldwin County Sheriff deputies seized 14 grams of fentanyl, enough to kill more than 7,000 people.
I can only conclude that keeping Americans safe is a last priority for the Biden administration. Yes, it appears the same Democratic politicians who continue to ask for trillions in “COVID relief funds” courtesy of the American taxpayer also want to pronounce the pandemic is over at the border.
I have visited the border and seen firsthand the impacts of the President Biden’s open borders agenda. When we continue to leave the door wide open to our country, it puts the American people at risk. It’s not smart, and it’s not safe. I urge President Biden and his administration to take charge of this crisis and put forth a plan that will secure our border and keep our country safe.
Senator Tommy Tuberville is serving his first term in the United States Senate. In response to the border crisis, he introduced the Empowering Law Enforcement Act to give local law enforcement officials authority to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain or transfer illegal immigrants, and legislation requiring the DHS to issue a Notice to Appear (NTA) to illegal immigrants.