- - Monday, March 21, 2022

While President Biden’s latest foreign policy failure has enabled Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine with little more than a slap on the wrist, a crisis continues to unfold here at home with hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants arriving at our southern border every month. Numbers recently released by Customs and Border Protection show that 164,973 illegal immigrants were caught attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in February alone — a fact made all the more dangerous considering that hundreds of thousands more have almost certainly slipped through.

It’s worth taking a step back and examining the whole picture. Since Mr. Biden came into office, more than 2 million illegal immigrants have been apprehended at our border, plus at least 500,000 more have disappeared into our country undetected. In clear evidence that policy matters, Mr. Biden’s February numbers show an astounding 280% increase from the average number of February apprehensions during the Trump administration. Even Mr. Biden’s DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently admitted the situation at the border is “worse now than it, frankly, has been in at least 20 years, if not ever.”

My home state of Texas is on the front lines of this crisis — and we are none too happy about it. Barely 1 in 3 Texans approve of Mr. Biden’s job as president, which, frankly, is nothing compared to how we feel about his border crisis. Months ago, Judge Chuck Burns of Kenedy County put the cost of Mr. Biden’s inaction in tragic, stark terms, saying, “We have an expense of recovering dead bodies that is very unforgiving terrain here.” Ranchers in Texas have been forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars to repair property damaged by illegal immigrants.

That’s to say nothing of the tremendous danger Mr. Biden’s border policies bring to our Texas communities. Since October, the El Paso sector has encountered more than 240 illegal immigrants with criminal and gang affiliations, and these numbers are only increasing by the day. In just one week, for context, three members of the brutal MS-13 gang were arrested crossing the border in Texas.

The magnitude of this worsening border crisis cannot be understated. It’s seeping across our borders into our communities and touching every corner of the United States. In February, 634 pounds of deadly fentanyl and 12,500 pounds of methamphetamine were seized at the border. For context, one kilogram of fentanyl can kill up to 500,000 Americans. This means the 634 pounds our law enforcement captured at the border last month could have killed up to 143 million Americans. And that is only what was actually caught. Dr. Joshua Sharfstein of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said: “If they’re seizing a lot, it’s because a lot is coming in.” This is a sobering reality because fentanyl overdoses are already the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, of course, has found there is a “direct link” between Mexican cartels and fentanyl-related overdose deaths.

That is why we need to empower our law enforcement and Border Patrol agents. Mr. Biden has demonized these brave men and women tasked with maintaining the integrity of our borders and protecting our communities from the scourge of criminals, drugs and violence. One border agent said: “We all know he doesn’t care about secure borders.” Indeed, Mr. Biden doesn’t. During his first 100 days in office, Mr. Biden signed 94 executive actions on immigration, including halting the construction of the border wall and ending the Trump administration’s successful “Remain in Mexico” policy, and now the rest is history. Recently leaked ICE data shows that despite a historic surge in illegal immigration last year, they arrested 48% fewer criminals and deported 63% fewer criminals — an alarming statistic.

While Mr. Biden has not been to the border as president to see the crisis for himself, many Texans, including myself, know firsthand that this catastrophe directly results from his failed policies. Our brave citizens, dedicated law enforcement officers and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott offer a different vision for the future of our country, a vision including secure borders that lead to safe communities free from the devastation of drugs and violence. Americans are fed up with Biden’s self-inflicted border crisis. While they will have to wait until 2024 to vote him out, midterms are just around the corner, and Democrats should be worried.

• Tommy Hicks Jr. is the co-chair of the Republican National Committee.

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