On any given day this year, Customs and Border Patrol may encounter more than 5,400 illegal immigrants making their way into the United States. To give that number some context, it means more people are caught entering America illegally every week than make up the entire population of Panama City, Florida. And that’s not counting the ones who are never caught.
The current levels of immigration are just the tip of the iceberg. The Biden administration is warning of a new “mass migration event” in the coming months. If the implication is that the situation at the border is manageable now, it’s laughable. However, the administration is at least half right: things are about to get much, much worse.
Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the entire Democratic Party invited this lawlessness even before they assumed power. As a candidate, Biden pledged to halt construction of the border wall, promised near-total amnesty, and vowed to dismantle then-President Donald Trump’s enforcement regime. Consequently, border crossings surged in advance of the 2020 election. “We have faith Biden will let us cross,” migrants told reporters.
Once in office, President Biden made clear his campaign messaging was not empty rhetoric. Administration officials blatantly ignored Congress’s express direction to construct physical barriers along the southern border. They refused to enforce the Remain in Mexico policy — among the most effective in years at restraining illegal immigration, according to the Department of Homeland Security — until a federal court struck down their negligence as illegal. Biden appointees also placed a moratorium on deporting criminal aliens with final removal orders. There is no excuse for such a blatant betrayal of public safety.
Administration officials even collaborated with coyotes to pick up illegal migrants at the border, then loaded them onto planes in the middle of the night to be sent throughout the country, including to my home state of Florida. This is no conspiracy theory. These actions were caught on camera for the whole world to see. President Biden could stop this craziness, but apparently he would rather work with drug dealers and human traffickers than our state governments.
The situation at the border now is nothing short of a crisis. Unfortunately, it is set to become an even bigger one. The Biden Administration will reportedly revoke the pandemic-era Title 42 authority this April. Title 42 is an authority that expedites the removal of illegal immigrants. Over the past two years, border officials used Title 42 more than a million times. Rescinding that authority will result in another massive increase of border crossings.
The radical Left’s hypocrisy and distorted priorities are on full display. Anthony Fauci says this is “no time at all to declare victory” over COVID-19, Pfizer and Moderna are seeking approval for a fourth shot, and vaccinated U.S. citizens cannot reenter their country without proof of a negative test. Yet, President Biden is prepared to revoke health restrictions at the southern border to let potentially as many as two million (mostly unvaccinated) illegal migrants into our country.
I understand the appeal our country holds for men, women, and children throughout the world — why someone would risk everything in the hands of a cartel smuggler to have what so many in the U.S. take for granted. However, our leaders’ primary obligation is to American citizens. Moreover, under the Constitution, the executive branch has a duty to enforce the laws of Congress. To neglect that duty in favor of lawlessness is not compassion; it’s sheer lunacy.
Congress cannot sit by and allow this administration to continue down a reckless, destructive path. One possible response would be the creation of a private right of action for entities affected by the border crisis — municipalities, sheriffs, and victims of crimes inflicted by aliens — to sue the federal government, with punitive damages, for failure to enforce immigration law. Under better leadership, such a law might not be necessary. Unfortunately, we do not have that leadership. If the Biden administration refuses to uphold the law, Congress must empower those who will.
By willfully failing to secure our southern border, the president and his appointees are subjecting migrants to horrific conditions, disrupting American communities, and promoting a culture of lawlessness. The country deserves better. It’s time for Congress to stand up for the rule of law and defend the interests of the American people.
Marco Rubio is a U.S. senator from Florida.
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