Opinion: Call it a crises

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Opinion by Sen. Cynthia Lummis

 

Night after night, Wyoming citizens are turning on the news to see a national security and humanitarian crisis unfolding at our southern border. This influx in illegal immigration, which is the largest surge we’ve seen in two decades, is a threat to the safety of American families, border patrol agents and law enforcement as well as immigrants pursuing a lawful path to citizenship.

Here in Wyoming, we know good fences make good neighbors. On a national level, a secure border keeps us safe. In San Diego for example, a short 12-mile section of border wall reduced the number of agents needed to protect the area, saving $28 million in salaries while increasing the number of illegal drug seizures.

Under the previous Administration, we found a workable solution to our border problems. Working with the Mexican government, we kept asylum applicants in Mexico while processing their applications to determine who qualified, and we did so while building a border wall to disrupt drug smuggling and human trafficking by violent cartels. As a result, since wall construction began in Arizona and California, illegal border crossings dropped by 24 percent in Tucson and by 27 percent in San Diego. In Yuma, they dropped by 78 percent.

Under President Biden, we are undoing all of that hard work. President Biden’s rhetoric and executive actions are sending a message to cartels and migrants that you don’t have to follow the law, because we aren’t going to enforce it. This has spawned a crisis.

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Just last month the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border smashed the previous record by at least 60 percent. Border agents are overwhelmed, and it’s getting worse. More than 100,000 migrants were apprehended at the border in February, up 28 percent from January.

This is a crisis of President Biden’s own making. But don’t take my word for it: The majority of Americans agree that President Biden’s immigration policies are bad for America, and believe he’s botching the crisis at our southern border.

As your U.S. Senator, I’m committed to working with my colleagues to address our broken immigration system and stop the onslaught of illegal immigration currently taking place. Just last month I sent a letter with my colleague, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), to the Government Accountability Office raising our concerns about President Biden’s move to halt funding of the wall along our southern border. Congress specifically allocated funds for the construction of the border wall, so it is the responsibility of the executive branch to carry out the directives of that funding.

Additionally, I joined Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and other colleagues in an effort to officially declare the situation at the southern border a crisis. This is obvious to anyone looking at the facts, and the Senate must ensure President Biden knows our concern.

We are a nation of law and order. We reward law-abiding, hardworking aspirants with citizenship. But by letting others come to the United States illegally, President Biden is insulting those new American citizens who did it right. That’s unjust. It’s unfair. And it’s not how we treat neighbors in Wyoming. For the good of the country, it’s time to secure the border.