U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke on the Senate floor about the ongoing humanitarian crisis and national security threat at the southern border due to President Biden’s misguided policies. Thune noted that Democrats are refusing to meaningfully address border security but want to include amnesty for illegal immigrants in their proposed reckless tax-and-spending spree.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Well, Mr. President, the Biden border crisis continues unabated.
“Far from being the seasonal surge the president claimed months ago, the numbers at the border keep growing.
“Last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered more than 188,000 individuals attempting to cross our southern border.
“That’s not only the highest number seen so far this year, that’s the highest monthly number in 21 years.
“In all, Customs and Border Protection has had more than 1.1 million encounters along our southern border so far in fiscal year 2021.
“And we still have three months to go.
“In fiscal 2019, by contrast – the year before COVID – total encounters for the entire fiscal year were under 980,000.
“We have a border crisis, Mr. President.
“A crisis that President Biden seems unable or unwilling to address.
“And, Mr. President, as massive as those numbers I’ve mentioned are, they don’t take into account those individuals who are sneaking across the border without being apprehended.
“Some of them are no doubt individuals who are looking for a better life.
“Others are almost undoubtedly criminals engaged in the kind of illicit activities that we have to combat along our southern border – human trafficking, drug smuggling, and more.
“The steep increase in seizures of fentanyl gives plenty of reason to conclude that criminals have been emboldened by the lack of security along our southern border and the Biden administration’s failure to address this crisis.
“In June, Customs and Border Protection seized more than 1,000 pounds of fentanyl along our southern border – an incredibly dangerous drug that some have pushed to classify as a weapon of mass destruction.
“That’s more fentanyl than was seized in that area in the previous three Junes combined.
“And what has the Biden administration been doing to deal with the crisis along our border?
“Well, not much.
“There’s been no move to reinstate the national-emergency designation for our southern border that President Biden canceled after he took office.
“There’s no meaningful plan for stopping the flood of illegal immigration and enhancing security along our southern border.
“There’s no move to reinstate funding for the congressionally mandated border wall President Biden canceled.
“In fact, the president is apparently contemplating ending Title 42, which has allowed the government to immediately remove apprehended individuals in order to help manage the COVID crisis.
“Yes, at the same the CDC is expanding its masking guidance for Americans, the administration is contemplating ending a measure to help stop COVID-infected individuals from entering the United States.
“And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that apparently the administration has released tens of thousands of individuals into the United States without court dates … many of whom have failed to show up at Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices as directed.
“Mr. President, the border situation is out of control.
“And President Biden bears a big part of the blame.
“Immigration has helped build this country.
“And I strongly support making sure that the United States continues to offer a chance for individuals the world over to achieve their dream of a better life.
“I also support temporary worker programs like the H-2B visa program that allow individuals from other countries to come here for a limited time period for work and economic opportunity and then return to their home countries.
“I also support a solution that would allow Dreamers to stay in the United States – if such a solution is developed in the context of immigration reform and enhanced border security.
“But, Mr. President, we cannot have endless floods of illegal immigration.
“No country can.
“It’s a humanitarian nightmare and a serious security risk.
“Immigration has to have limits, and, most of all, it has to be legal.
“We need to protect and encourage legal immigration while cracking down on illegal immigration.
“Unfortunately, Democrats are going in the opposite direction.
“The word is that Democrats would like to include amnesty in the budget-busting tax-and-spending spree they’re pushing.
“With a serious humanitarian and security crisis along our southern border, Democrats want to include amnesty in their spending plan.
“I can only imagine that this will encourage thousands more to make the dangerous trek to and across our southern border.
“Not to mention how such a policy would undermine respect for the rule of law.
“Mr. President, I wish I could say that I saw some light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the border.
“But if the Biden administration continues along its current path, I fully expect this security and humanitarian crisis to continue.
“I can only hope that President Biden will recognize the problems his policies – or lack thereof – are causing before too many more individuals suffer the consequences.”