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Commentary: Biden’s policies are directly responsible for the border crisis

by Rep. DAN NEWHOUSE
| May 27, 2021 1:00 AM

President Biden has created and perpetuated a crisis at our southern border, and I’ve seen it firsthand.

On May 21, I visited the United States-Mexico border to see for myself what was going on. Based on media coverage alone in recent weeks, it may seem like the national security, public health, and humanitarian crisis has died down. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As a farmer, it’s hard to imagine not being able to walk through your orchards or fields without carrying a weapon, but in El Paso, that’s the reality. Cartels are the oft-unseen threat that forces parents to keep their children from playing outside and requires farmworkers to carry weapons for protection.

That’s not what the Biden Administration wants you to hear.

When President Biden took office, he halted all construction at the border, and now he’s terminated contracts during a never-before-seen surge in illegal border crossings. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered 178,622 individuals at the southwest border in April 2021, the highest number in a single month in over 20 years, and a 944% increase compared to April 2020. These staggering numbers only reflect actual physical “apprehensions” or “encounters”; there is no telling how many successful illegal crossings there were.

President Biden’s rhetoric and open-border policies are incentivizing cartels to continue their drug and human trafficking – a multi-billion-dollar industry. Hundreds of migrants are illegally crossing through sections of the border with aging or nonexistent security. More fentanyl has been seized in the first four months of this year than in all of 2020, and the number of unaccompanied minors has already doubled since Fiscal Year 2020. Our law enforcement officers simply cannot keep up.

The local farmers and ranchers I spoke with told me that the best thing to happen for their safety was building a border fence: “It was like night and day.” For them, finishing our wall is not just a priority; it’s a necessity.

It’s unconscionable for President Biden to halt construction of a very necessary and effective security tool, especially when materials have already been bought and contracts already signed. There is simply no justification for this policy shift.

Further, his administration has indicated it will revoke the Title 42 privilege our law enforcement officers are currently operating under, which enables them to process migrants in the field as opposed to bringing them into the country for processing. Thousands of migrants are waiting for this to happen, and, according to our Border Patrol agents, this will completely overwhelm our facilities within two to three days.

There is no doubt about it: There is a crisis at our southern border. The administration’s attempts to sweep it under the rug are harming our citizens, our law enforcement officers and the hundreds of thousands of migrants coming across the border while emboldening the cartels to be even more blatant in their trafficking operations. Our border is neither secure nor safe, and President Biden and his “border czar” must act now to change that.

Rep. Dan Newhouse represents the 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.