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Ending the border catastrophe

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Rep. Tom Cole

By U.S. Rep. Tom Cole

The strongest border security bill in history passed the United States House of Representatives on May 11, 2023. This legislation – formally known as H.R. 2 or the Secure the Border Act – would put an end to President Biden’s reckless open-border policies by resuming construction of the border wall, increasing the number of Border Patrol agents, ending Catch-and-Release, requiring transparency from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regarding illegal crossings, ending the abuse of executive immigration authority, and more.

Yet, although it has been over a year since H.R. 2 passed the House, the Democratic Senate has yet to even consider the legislation for a vote. However, it is not just H.R. 2 that the Senate has blocked. Back in February, the House passed articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, but the Senate killed these articles just last month. Then, in March, the House passed the Laken Riley Act, which would help give ICE and state governments more tools in the fight against crimes committed by illegal immigrants. The Senate blocked that too. And, just last week, we passed H.R. 7343, a bill that requires ICE to detain any illegal immigrant who has been charged with or convicted of assaulting a police officer. Yet, there has been no talk of H.R. 7343 being brought up for a vote in the Senate either, making it seem as though the Democrats are just choosing to allow the border crisis to continue to rage on.

And, let me be clear, it is raging. Uncontrollable surges of illegal immigrants are swarming and crossing our Southern border, resulting in a serious national security crisis. In fact, since President Biden took office, there have been over 9.5 million illegal immigrant encounters nationwide – including 350 individuals whose names appear on the terrorist watchlist, over 27,500 Chinese nationals, and thousands of “special interest aliens” from countries like Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan – and over 1.8 million known “got-aways” who evaded U.S. Border Patrol.

Meanwhile, traffickers, dangerous criminals, and cartels are taking advantage of the Administration’s open-border policies. Over the past three years, we have watched illicit fentanyl be pushed into every community throughout our nation, creating an unprecedented opioid epidemic that is killing far too many of our own citizens, and innocent Americans, like University of Georgia student Laken Riley, be violently murdered by illegal immigrants that entered our nation unvetted.

Not to mention, the burden of paying for these illegals should not be placed on the taxpayer. Yet, under the Biden Administration, it is. As a matter of fact, according to FAIR Research, the border crisis is costing the United States approximately $150.7 billion each year, with the gross cost per taxpayer being $1,165 per year.

The evidence makes it clear – this crisis cannot go on. It is jeopardizing our national security and costing American lives every day.

As the Representative for Oklahomans in the Fourth District, I know my constituents do not want me to sit by and watch as this catastrophe continues to rampage – and trust me, I am not. I am committed to bringing this border crisis to an end. I voted in favor of H.R. 2 last year and continue to be a strong supporter of it now. I also supported the articles of impeachment against Secretary Mayorkas, as well as the Laken Riley Act, H.R. 7343, and more.

Instead of continuing to allow these strong border security bills to collect dust on Senator Schumer’s desk, I am urging the Senate to take them up for a vote. It is past time we end the ongoing border catastrophe once and for all.

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