When Will the Government Get Serious About Our Border Crisis?

COMMENTARY Immigration

When Will the Government Get Serious About Our Border Crisis?

Jun 10, 2024 3 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Tom Homan

Visiting Fellow, Border Security and Immigration Center

Tom Homan, former Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is a Visiting Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
Illegal immigrants are processed by the U.S Border Patrol agents after crossing the U.S.- Mexico border on June 9, 2024, in Jacumba Hot Springs, CA. Katie McTiernan / Anadolu / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Congress and the people need to disregard Biden’s attempted distraction and refocus on the very real and dangerous consequences of his open border operations. 

The criminal cartels in Mexico that have operational control of our southern border have killed more Americans than all the terrorist groups in the world combined.

People shouldn’t have to wait until after a terrorist attack occurs for Congress, the media, and the administration to act.

Now that President Joe Biden‘s “border security” proclamation has been exposed for the political sham that it is, Congress and the people need to disregard Biden’s attempted distraction and refocus on the very real and dangerous consequences of his open border operations. 

Conservatives such as me have been sounding the alarm about the national security vulnerability on our borders for over three years. We have shown, time after time, that the lawless open border under this administration has caused historic numbers of alien deaths and fentanyl poisoning of United States citizens. Likewise, women and children are being sex-trafficked at an astonishing scale: Approximately 500,000 children have been smuggled into the U.S. by criminal cartels, for example. 

These tragedies, however, pale in comparison to the possible national security consequences that could result from our lawless border. As a law enforcement officer for 34 years, I was particularly alarmed by a recent review of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

Looking at the number of illegal immigrants Border Patrol has arrested is eye-popping. Under three full years of former President Donald Trump (fiscal 2017, 2018, and 2019), 11 migrants arrested by Border Patrol were on the Terrorist Screening Database. Compare that to three years under Biden (fiscal 2021, 2022, and 2023), during which Border Patrol encountered 286 terrorist watchlist hits.

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That is a 2,600% increase, and it is not because Border Patrol has had the luxury of time to screen border crossers more thoroughly. Quite the opposite. Agents are crushed by the volume of people who turn themselves in to Border Patrol for processing into the U.S. The increase in watchlist hits is a symptom of the explosion in total encounters during this administration.

Sadly, even though this data are publicly available, there isn’t even bipartisan agreement in Congress or the media that this national security vulnerability exists. This raises the question: Have we become so divided that a significant portion of our population doesn’t care about this problem, or is it that they are not informed?  

I argue it is both. 

First, many people, especially politicians and coastal elites who live in nice neighborhoods far away from the border and aren’t as immediately affected by Biden’s disastrous policies, are simply unaware of this danger. .

However, our elected officials don’t have the same excuse. They do know about the border threats, but many politicians (including some conservatives) simply care more about elections. Rather than addressing the problem, it is more expedient for them to pretend these historic numbers don’t exist.  That way, they don’t have to take any blame for what is happening. 

My question to everyone in Congress is simple: When is enough enough? Nearly 100,000 Americans have overdosed on fentanyl. Enough? The criminal cartels in Mexico that have operational control of our southern border have killed more Americans than all the terrorist groups in the world combined. Enough?

These drug cartels have smuggled approximately 500,00 children across the border. Enough? The Biden administration cannot find over 85,000 children it released to sponsors. Enough? Many smuggled children are forced into dangerous labor conditions in such places as meat packing plants, where many adults are maimed or killed each year. Enough? 

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Nearly a third of women who make that journey with the assistance of criminal cartels are sexually assaulted, and historic numbers of migrants are dying on the journey. Enough? With 10 million migrants crossing the border during the Biden administration, sexual assaults and deaths will number hundreds of thousands. Enough?

I could go on. 

But if none of this moves the needle, a 2,600% increase in terrorist watchlist hits certainly should. Not to mention the nearly 2 million known “gotaways” who paid the cartels more money to evade Border Patrol and to forfeit a free air ticket or bus ride to the city of their choice, along with free lodging, free meals, free medical care, and work authorization. Why? We can confidently conclude they did not want to be fingerprinted or vetted. Border Patrol has arrested migrants from over 180 countries since Biden took office, including state sponsors of terrorism. How many of the 2 million “gotaways” came from such countries?  

So, I ask the question again. When is enough enough? The answer is now. The next administration should make securing the border a national security imperative. Congress today should unite and admit that we have the biggest national security vulnerability on our borders of any time in history and fund and direct Immigration and Customs Enforcement to locate and detain all terrorism threats in the U.S.

Why? Because people shouldn’t have to wait until after a terrorist attack occurs for Congress, the media, and the administration to act.

This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner