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Thune: Administration’s Policies Make Biden Border Crisis Worse

“Once Title 42 restrictions are officially lifted, the flood of illegal immigration across our southern border is expected to become a tsunami.”

April 6, 2022

Click here to watch the video.

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the Biden administration’s reckless decision to end Title 42 border restrictions without a coherent plan in place to ensure a secure, orderly, and humane process at the border. Thune noted that once Title 42 is officially lifted, the flood of illegal immigration across our southern border is expected to become a tsunami.  


Thune’s remarks below:


“Mr. President, we’re moving from disaster to catastrophe at our southern border.


“Last week, the Biden administration announced that Title 42 COVID-19 restrictions, which have provided for the immediate deportation of those who have crossed the border illegally, will end in May.


“It’s ironic that just as the administration presses for more COVID funding, it’s apparently declaring COVID is over at the border.


“And I just want everybody to think about the inherent contradiction in what’s being said here.


“By ending Title 42, the administration says for all intents and purposes, the pandemic is over. It’s over at the border.


“But today it was announced that the student loan program, repayments on student loans, would be extended until the month of August.


“Why? Presumably because of the pandemic.


“And there’s still a policy in place, Mr. President, if you can believe this – yesterday I had the chance to question at the Senate Finance Committee Secretary Becerra, the head of the Health and Human Services Department, about a policy that is in place right now that has not yet been repealed that requires children under five in Head Start facilities to wear masks.


“Masked not just when they’re in the classroom, but when they’re outside on the playground.


“Children under five [required] to wear masks. Now, who says that’s a bad idea? Well for one, the World Health Organization.


“The World Health Organization isn’t exactly a conservative-leaning institution. The World Health Organization says that it is not necessary for children under five to wear a mask. There’s no discernable health or safety benefit derived from that.


“So that policy’s still in place. Kids under the age of five at Head Start facilities still have to wear masks, not just inside, but when they’re outside.


“And now, student loans, again, have been deferred. You don’t have to repay your student loans at least until August. It’s been extended again.


“These policies reflect a belief on behalf of the administration that we are evidently still in a pandemic that requires these policies to stay in place.


“And so the student loan deferral request has been made, or is going to happen, they’re just going to do it, they’re doing that by fiat. And this rule that requires children under five to wear masks suggests we’re still very concerned about the pandemic and the spread of COVID-19.


“And yet, Mr. President, Title 42 is going to be lifted at the border, which is a pandemic measure put in place as a result of the pandemic and has enabled our officials at the border, Customs and Border Patrol, to be able to at least somewhat manage the flow of illegals coming across the border.


“Think about that. Think about the inherent contradiction, the messages that you are sending, in addition, I would add, to the $10 billion, which was originally $15 billion, that is being requested by the administration to deal with COVID. 


“So you’re asking for more funding, you’re requiring kids to wear masks, you’re extending the deferral on student loan repayments, and yet you’re lifting Title 42 restrictions.


“Let me tell you what that means, Mr. President.


“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.




“Per day.


“That 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.


“That was the highest number ever recorded in a single year.


“Now we’re talking about a rate of migration that could lead to our hitting that one-year record in just over three months. 


“Mr. President, Title 42 restrictions were never intended to be a permanent border solution.


“And lifting them would not be a problem if the president had some meaningful plan for dealing with the border crisis that has been going on since he took office.


“But he doesn’t.


“And lifting Title 42 without a plan to curb illegal immigration is nothing more than an invitation for our current crisis to get exponentially worse … which is clearly exactly what the Department of Homeland Security expects to happen.


“And you don’t have to take my word for it on the problems with the administration’s decision.


“Here’s what one Democrat senator had to say about the administration’s Title 42 decision:


“‘This is the wrong decision.  It’s unacceptable to end Title 42 without a plan and coordination in place to ensure a secure, orderly, and humane process at the border.’


“Another Democrat senator noted, and I quote:


“‘I think this is not the right time and we have not seen a detailed plan from the administration. We need assurances that we have security at the border and that we protect communities on this side of the border.’


“While yet another Democrat senator noted:


“‘Today’s announcement by the CDC and the Biden Administration is a frightening decision. Title 42 has been an essential tool in combatting the spread of COVID-19 and controlling the influx of migrants at our southern border.  We are already facing an unprecedented increase in migrants this year, and that will only get worse if the Administration ends the Title 42 policy. We are nowhere near prepared to deal with that influx.’


“‘We are nowhere near prepared to deal with that influx.’


“Mr. President, under the Biden administration, we’ve had 12 straight months of border encounters in excess of 150,000.


“In February U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered 164,973 individuals attempting to cross our southern border illegally – the highest February number in more than 20 years.


“And of course those numbers only reflect individuals the Border Patrol has succeeded in apprehending.


“There’s no question that many other illegal immigrants have crossed the border in the past year without being apprehended and have disappeared into the United States.


“And the president is largely responsible for this situation thanks to the series of actions he’s taken to weaken border security and immigration enforcement since his administration began.


“Mr. President, illegal immigration is a very serious problem for several reasons.


“First of all, it is dangerous for any country not to know who is entering its borders.


“Illegal border crossings are not confined to individuals wanting to build a better life for themselves.


“Weak borders are an invitation to human traffickers, drug smugglers, gangs, and even terrorists.


“We currently have a very serious fentanyl problem in this country.


“In fact, fentanyl overdose is the leading cause of death for U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 45.


“And where is this fentanyl coming from?


“It’s being trafficked across our southern border.


“Mexico has replaced China as the dominant source of fentanyl in the U.S.


“And there is no question that the worse the situation at the border gets, the easier it is for drug smugglers to evade detection and capture.


“Our Border Patrol officers do heroic work, but they are stretched incredibly thin and have been for the past year.


“And it is simply common sense to acknowledge that the greater the flood of illegal immigration they have to contend with, the easier it is going to be for bad actors to get across the border.


“So there are the real security concerns that illegal immigration represents.


“There are also serious humanitarian concerns.


“The journey to our southern border for those attempting to cross illegally is frequently fraught with danger.


“And there is nothing compassionate about encouraging individuals to undertake that journey – to run the risk of exploitation and disease and exposure.


“And finally, Mr. President, encouraging or tacitly endorsing illegal immigration shows a real disregard for the rule of law.


“I am a strong supporter of legal immigration.


“And I hope this country will always serve as a refuge for individuals seeking a new life of peace and freedom.


“But immigration laws are not exceptions to the principle that the law must be respected.


“We can and should make changes to immigration laws as needed to address problems or expand opportunities.


“But immigration must proceed according to the law.


“To suggest otherwise is to cultivate contempt for the rule of law – not to mention how unfair it is to those who have done what is required to come here legally.


“Mr. President, as president, President Biden has a particular responsibility to care for our country’s security.


“When it comes to the border at least, he is failing in that responsibility.


“And he is betraying the duty he owes to the American people, who should be able to count on their president to care about security concerns, including border security.


“We’re less than two months away from the end of Title 42 restrictions and the border surge we expect to follow.


“I hope the president will use that time to get serious about developing a plan to secure our southern border.


“He owes the American people nothing less.


“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”