When the next Congress is seated in January, it will do so with a clear mandate to undo the devastation caused by the Biden administration. At the top of that list must be stopping his historic border crisis, securing the border and reducing illegal immigration.
The situation on the southern border is truly unprecedented. We have seen record-breaking month after record-breaking month of apprehensions. Border officials have encountered more than 5.5 million people (including more than a million known “got-aways” and an untold number of violent criminals, gang members and potential terrorists) since Biden took office.
The cartels have seized operational control of our southwest border as an increasingly beleaguered Border Patrol has been pulled from front line duties to focus on processing and releasing record numbers of illegal immigrants.
Fentanyl pouring across the border is now the leading killer of Americans age 18-45. And more migrants are dying, too—more than 1,300 have lost their lives on U.S. soil on Biden’s watch, the most ever recorded.
Congress must hold the administration accountable for unleashing this chaos and carnage.
The first order of business is to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. He was warned what would happen if the successful Trump-era border policies were dismantled. He dismantled them anyway and has presided over the worst border crisis in American history — all while lying repeatedly to the American people about it.
He has refused to take any responsibility for his role in this crisis or shown willingness to re-think the policies that got us here. If he disagreed with his boss’s directives, he should have resigned. The last 18 months have made clear that he’s fully on board with these ruinous policies. He must be impeached.
An impeachment trial would give Congress the opportunity to present the American people with the detailed case against Mayorkas, demonstrate his dereliction of duty and offer a solution. Leadership matters, and we will never begin to fix this crisis until Mayorkas is held accountability.
Second, Congress must fulfill its constitutional obligation to conduct meaningful oversight.
Mayorkas may be the most visible face of the border crisis, but he is far from the only one responsible. The Biden administration has worked closely with open-borders advocates both inside and outside of the federal government to implement these ruinous policies. The American people deserve to know the truth about who was involved, who was central to pushing this agenda and why they did so.
Actual oversight will also expose the extent of the Biden administration’s push for open borders, and the dishonesty with which administration officials have handled the crisis.
Just a few weeks ago, Washington was rocked by emails obtained by the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project that showed Secretary Mayorkas knew that mounted Border Patrol agents accused of whipping illegal aliens in Del Rio, Texas, last year were innocent of the charge.
Yet, after receiving this information, he went to the White House podium and continued to advance the false narrative.
Congress needs to perform its constitutional duty and exercise meaningful oversight of this administration.
Finally, the new Congress must pass legislation that begins to undo the damage Biden and Mayorkas have caused.
We were proud to work earlier this year with Heritage, the National Border Patrol Council, FAIR and more than two dozen other organizations and former administration officials to craft an overarching policy agenda for this next Congress.
That agenda includes legislation that gives Border Patrol the authority to immediately expel illegal immigrants and provides funding for further construction of an effective border wall system.
“Remain in Mexico,” one of the policies most effective in reducing illegal immigration and asylum fraud, should be re-instated via legislative action. Lawmakers should also end “catch and release” by terminating the Flores settlement agreement that limits detention of family units to 20 days.
Congress must reform the asylum system to eliminate rampant fraud and loopholes, including the loophole in the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act that has encouraged cartels to exploit unaccompanied minors. Individuals should also be made ineligible for asylum if they crossed through a safe third country to enter the U.S. illegally.
These are just some of the steps Congress can take.
Lawmakers must not fall into the trap of simply throwing more money or resources at the problem. This crisis was created by bad policy, and it will take good policy to undo it. Simply hiring more Border Patrol agents or increasing funding without accompanying reforms won’t secure the border; it would just help the Biden administration process and release more illegal immigrants into the country more quickly.
Even if open-borders advocates in the Senate or White House stop commonsense legislation from moving forward, they will be forced to explain to Americans why they have done so. That’s a fight we will win every time.
We have given Congress a roadmap to border security. They just need to put the keys in the ignition and hit the gas.
This is a crisis moment for America. Either act now or be remembered by history for putting politics above country.
This piece originally appeared in The Hill on 11/11/2022, at https://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/3731277-no-time-to-waste-here-are-the-top-3-border-security-priorities-for-the-next-congress/