Recent Press Releases

Thune: Biden Prioritizes Political Security Over Border Security

“[I]t is disturbing […] that it’s taking the fear of losing an election to motivate the president to take action on a national security crisis that has raged for more than three years.”

June 4, 2024

Click here to watch the video.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today spoke on the Senate floor about President Biden’s immigration executive order designed to mask his failed policies that have created the dire situation at the southern border. Thune noted that President Biden has so far failed to take meaningful action on the border after presiding over three record-breaking years of illegal immigration, and he denounced the administration’s recent action to grant de facto amnesty to hundreds of thousands of individuals whose asylum cases have been summarily closed without a decision.

Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):

“Mr. President, a couple of weeks ago, at a White House press briefing, the president’s press secretary was asked why the president isn’t doing anything on the border, given the fact that he has the authority to act unilaterally.

“And the White House press secretary responded: ‘But why should he have to do it unilaterally?’

“Why should he have to do it unilaterally?

“It was perhaps a typical response from a White House that would like to portray itself as the victim of the border crisis rather than its cause.

“A White House that would prefer Congress take action on the border rather than run the risk of taking action itself and annoying some Democrat voters.

“But it was an outrageous statement nonetheless.

“Why should he have to do it unilaterally?

“Well, for starters, because President Biden is the president, and thus bears a special responsibility for our national security.

“And because as president, he has the authority to take a number of measures to help secure our nation’s border.

“For a president not to do anything in the face of the kind of crisis we’re dealing with is unconscionable.

“But most of all, Mr. President, President Biden should be taking action because he is responsible for this border crisis.

“Why should he have to take action unilaterally?

“Because he created this border crisis unilaterally.

“On the day he took office, the president began dismantling the border security policies of his predecessor.

“And illegal immigration began surging in response.

“And, Mr. President, it’s never stopped.

“The president has presided over not one, not two, but three successive years of record-breaking illegal immigration.

“And with more than a million and a half illegal crossings so far this fiscal year, it is entirely possible that he could end up presiding over a fourth.

“And, Mr. President, those record-breaking immigration numbers I mentioned don’t even convey the full magnitude of the problem.

“In addition to the staggering 7.8 million-plus illegal border encounters recorded under President Biden, we’ve also seen huge numbers of gotaways – individuals the Border Patrol saw but was unable to apprehend.

“And of course we have no idea how many unknown gotaways there have been.

“And that, Mr. President, is a serious national security problem.

“When turning yourself in to the Border Patrol with a claim for asylum is likely to result in years of essentially legal permanent residence – or, as we discovered this weekend, de facto amnesty – it is especially concerning that we have hundreds of thousands of individuals choosing not to turn themselves in and escaping into the interior of our country.

“Some of them may simply be in search of a better life, but it is highly likely that others have more malign intentions.

“U.S. Border Patrol chief Jason Owens, in a March interview with CBS News, said the number of known gotaways is keeping him up at night.

“‘That is a national security threat,’ he noted. ‘Border security is a big piece of national security. And if we don’t know who is coming into our country and we don’t know what their intent is, that is a threat. And they’re exploiting a vulnerability that’s on our border right now.’

“That same month, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and I quote, ‘We are seeing a wide array of very dangerous threats that emanate from the border.’

“‘We are seeing a wide array of very dangerous threats that emanate from the border.’

“He also noted, alarmingly, and I quote, ‘There is a particular network that has – where some of the overseas facilitators of the smuggling network have ISIS ties that we’re very concerned about.’

“Mr. President, as I said, it would be unconscionable for any president to stand by and watch a crisis like the one we’re facing at our southern border without taking action.

“And the fact that President Biden has allowed this national security crisis to rage for three-plus years unchecked is a betrayal of his responsibilities as president.

“But, Mr. President, while protecting our national security may not have motivated this president, protecting his election prospects apparently does.

“With polls showing immigration as a top issue, Democrats have been rushing to give the impression that they’re serious about border security.

“And now we are hearing that President Biden may be announcing measures to secure the border, possibly as soon as today.

“While I’ll believe it when I see it – especially given this weekend’s report that the Biden administration has been offering mass amnesty to hundreds of thousands of individuals whose asylum cases have been closed without a decision – it does sound like the president will be announcing something.

“And I hope it will involve some real reforms.

“But it is disturbing, Mr. President, that it’s taking the fear of losing an election to motivate the president to take action on a national security crisis that has raged for more than three years.

“And it raises serious concerns about how long the president’s interest in border security will last.

“If he wins another term, will he still care about the border?

“Or does it take an election to keep him motivated about his national security responsibilities?

“At any rate, if concern for our national security won’t do it, let’s hope that his fear of defeat in November will indeed motivate the president to actually get the situation at our southern border under control.

“Given his record so far, though, I’m not holding my breath.

“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”