By Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)
Note: The following is the weekly “Wicker Report” and is provided by the Senator’s office.
New Policies Show Republicans Take the Problem Seriously
U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently released monthly immigration statistics, and they underscore the nightmare faced by America’s border communities. Despite scorching temperatures across the Southwest, officers tallied 183,000 encounters along the Mexico border in July – nearly 30 percent more than in June. Southern Arizona experienced the biggest spike. In and around Tucson, authorities made nearly 40,000 arrests – the area’s highest monthly total in the past 15 years. These numbers are a reminder that President Biden’s self-inflicted border crisis shows no signs of stopping.
Border Crisis Remains a Humanitarian Disaster
The situation at the border hurts both migrants and Americans. Summer heat makes the treacherous border crossing even more dangerous, but the cartels and traffickers have thrown caution aside. Border Patrol figures cite heat exposure as the number one cause of migrant deaths in the past two years, even more than drowning. And within the U.S., more Americans are suffering from the drugs pouring across the southern border. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the opiate fentanyl is increasingly being mixed with stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine, driving overdose deaths.
Border States Step Up But Get No Support
In the absence of strong presidential action, states have been forced to fend for themselves. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been leading Operation Lone Star. Through this program, law enforcement has apprehended nearly 400,000 immigrants and seized over 400 million doses of fentanyl. Governor Abbott recently opted to deploy floating buoys in the Rio Grande to discourage dangerous river crossings. The combined actions send a strong message that Texas takes this crisis seriously. However, rather than showing support from the president for this effort, the Justice Department has sued Texas over its marine barriers, saying they threaten public safety.
In another case of misplaced priorities, the Biden administration is sending more money from a recent border relief package to New York than to the border state of Arizona. Kyrsten Sinema, one of the state’s senators and a former Democrat, called the decision “deeply, deeply wrong.”
Republican Policies Will Secure the Border
President Biden’s failures at the southern border are well-documented. On the campaign trail, he promised to suspend the Remain in Mexico policy and end border wall construction. Regrettably, he followed through when he took office. Today, he spends taxpayer dollars to store border wall panels instead of using them to secure the border. This is one reason there have been 1.5 million “gotaways” on his watch.
There is good news: Republican policies are proven to work. President Biden would do well to return to President Trump’s immigration enforcement strategies. Republicans have proposed reinstating the Remain in Mexico policy, finishing the wall, and ending catch and release.
I fought to include new border policies in the Senate’s recent defense bill. One provision would direct the Pentagon to create a strategy against organized crime, helping weaken cartels and curb human and drug trafficking. Another section authorizes military-to-military training for the Mexican government to combat traffickers on their home turf.
The bill also includes the FINISH IT Act, which I authored to force the administration to use our stored border wall panels. Despite this provision passing the Senate and House, the administration has expedited efforts to auction the border materials for pennies on the dollar rather than put them to use. When it comes to securing the border, the president apparently has no shame.
Americans know border security is national security. President Biden’s policies continue to tell the world the border is open. I will keep holding his administration accountable to its number one mission: protecting the American homeland.