Recent Op-Eds

Biden’s Border Crisis Continues

By Sen. John Thune

April 8, 2022

From the day the president took office, our nation has been experiencing an unprecedented surge of individuals who want to enter the United States illegally through the southern border. There have been 2 million illegal border crossing attempts since President Biden was sworn in, yet his administration refuses to implement policies that would deter illegal immigrants from coming into our country. Now the administration has announced that Title 42 border restrictions, which have provided for the immediate deportation for many of those who have crossed the border illegally, will end in May. Once Title 42 restrictions are officially lifted, the flood of illegal immigration across our southern border is expected to become a tsunami.  

The Department of Homeland Security expects as many as 18,000 migrants per day to attempt to cross our southern border after the policy is lifted, which adds up to more than half a million migrants per month. To put those numbers in perspective, in fiscal year 2021, the Border Patrol encountered more than 1.7 million individuals attempting to cross our southern border, which was the highest number ever recorded in a single year. 

Title 42 restrictions were never intended to be a permanent border solution, but the problem with the Biden administration abruptly lifting them is that its doing it without any type of a coherent plan in place to handle the flood of likely illegal immigration to follow. The administration’s approach amounts to an invitation for this current security and humanitarian crisis to get exponentially worse. 

This isn’t just a Republican concern. I recently introduced legislation with five Republican senators and five Democrat senators that would block the administration’s rollback of Title 42 border policies until the administration presents Congress with a plan to stem the crisis. Asking for a plan shouldn’t be too much to ask. Even several of my Democrat colleagues agree that rescinding this policy would send a clear and dangerous signal to anyone who wishes to illegally cross the southern border.

The obvious policy contradiction by the administration can’t be overlooked here either. By ending Title 42, the administration is saying that the pandemic is over at the border. That’s an ironic position because President Biden is still pressing for more COVID funding in Washington. His administration is still extending the pause on student loan repayments, presumably for pandemic-related reasons. And most shocking to me, the Biden administration is still requiring some toddlers in the Head Start program – as young as two years old – to wear masks, even on the playground. When you boil it down, President Biden is essentially declaring that the pandemic is over at the border, but it’s overwhelming on the playground. 

We can’t keep COVID policies in place forever, obviously, but there’s no sign that the administration has any substantive plan for how to deal with the resulting surge or the enhanced criminal activity that would accompany rescinding this border policy. The decision to lift Title 42 without a legitimate plan in place to handle a mass surge of illegal immigrants is irresponsible, dangerous, and reckless. I hope the president will get serious about developing a plan to secure our southern border.