Recent Op-Eds

Too Little, Too Late

By Sen. John Thune

June 7, 2024

From his first days in office, President Biden began dismantling the border security policies of his predecessor. Illegal immigration soon began to surge, and it hasn’t stopped. Three years and more than 9 million illegal crossings later, the president doesn’t regret his actions.

The border crisis is a national security crisis. Federal and local law enforcement have warned of threats emanating from the border. Among the millions of illegal border crossers are gang members, criminals, drug traffickers, and individuals on the terrorist watchlist. These are just the individuals we know about. Hundreds of thousands of others evade Border Patrol and enter the country – this is what the Border Patrol chief says keeps him up at night.

Many Americans are rightly concerned about the border crisis, and they know the president bears responsibility for it. President Biden has overseen three successive years of record-breaking illegal immigration, and he’s on track for a fourth. For years, he’s taken no meaningful action on border security as this crisis has grown worse. But now, he and Democrats in Congress are trying to convince the American people that they care about the border. What’s changed? Well, it’s an election year.

Democrats will find it difficult to cover up their abysmal record on border security, though. For much of his presidency, President Biden has paid little attention to the border except, again, to dismantle his predecessor’s policies. In Congress, Democrats have blocked commonsense policies – things like making it easier to deport criminals, preventing taxpayer dollars from being used to fly illegal immigrants into the country, and barring illegal immigrants from being counted in the national census. But now with polls showing immigration as a top issue for voters, Democrats are making a slapdash effort to make it look like they care about securing the border.

Recently, the same week it was reported that the Biden administration has been offering amnesty to hundreds of thousands of individuals, President Biden signed an executive order that is supposed to stem the flow across the border. It likely won’t, but even if it did, it is too little, too late. President Biden still refuses to reinstate many of the effective policies that he rescinded early in his term. It seems that President Biden’s executive action is more about his own political security than our border security.

It's taken fear of losing an election to motivate the president to take minimal action on the border. He’s betting that voters will forget his record and choose the arsonist to put out the fire. The American people know better. They know that President Biden has allowed this crisis to rage unmitigated for three-plus years and endanger our national security. And I think they are ready for real border security – it’s long overdue.