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Q: Why is U.S. border security in shambles?

A: For three years, the Biden administration has failed to secure the border and enforce our nation’s immigration laws. In fact, illegal immigration reached an all-time record high in fiscal year 2023. This dereliction of duty has led to disastrous consequences, from migrant children facing endangerment by abuse and exploitation to communities facing a laundry list of burdens along the U.S.-Mexico border that extends well into the interior of the United States. The mayor of New York City claimed the migrant crisis will destroy the city and put government services on the chopping block. Communities in Iowa are impacted, as well. I contacted Iowa’s 99 county sheriffs in August to gather information about cartel activity in their jurisdictions. Ruthless Mexican cartels use weaponized drones to drop explosives on their adversaries and spy on U.S. law enforcement patrolling the border. They are exploiting the chaos at the border to expand their organized criminal enterprises, from drug and human trafficking to gun smuggling networks.

Meanwhile, the surge of migrants entering our country shows no end in sight. During fiscal year 2023, U.S. Border Patrol encountered nearly two-and-a-half million migrants seeking illegal entry into the United States. On President Biden’s watch, more than 15,000 of those encountered by law enforcement have criminal convictions on their records and at least 169 are on the terrorist watch list. What’s more, according to the New York Times, the Biden administration has lost track of at least 85,000 unaccompanied migrant children who were assigned sponsors in the United States. Incredibly, the Biden administration is inviting special interest aliens to enter our country via the “CPB One” government-run mobile application without undergoing previously required national security vetting procedures. Why is the Biden administration turning a blind eye to people skirting our immigration laws and allowing them to enter our country without knowing who they are? The president of the United States needs to put border security first.

Q: What are you doing to strengthen border security?

A: Between now and the end of the year, Congress will consider national security assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. Border security is paramount to national security. That’s why I’m working with my colleagues to include key provisions in the package that would beef up border security and tighten immigration policies for federal asylum laws. I’m co-sponsoring comprehensive legislation called Secure the Border Act that would resume construction of the wall along our southern border; increase the number of border patrol agents; and, tighten asylum standards to prevent abuse of the system, among other measures. I’m also riding herd on the Biden administration to hold federal agencies accountable for failing to execute our nation’s immigration laws and retaliating against whistleblowers. According to information provided by whistleblowers, the Department of Homeland Security failed to collect DNA samples from detained illegal immigrants. An investigation by the Office of Special Counsel to the President substantiated their disclosures. Alarmingly, failure to uphold the law allowed suspects accused of violent crimes, including homicide and sexual assault, to elude detection. Since then, these whistleblowers have faced personal and career retaliation for telling the truth. The executive branch has a constitutional responsibility to faithfully execute the laws passed by Congress in service to the American people. That includes securing our borders and upholding whistleblower protections.

The United States of America is the most welcoming nation in the world, a beacon of hope for immigrants who contribute to our society and strengthen our economy from one generation to the next. For centuries, the United States has rolled out the welcome mat for immigrants seeking opportunity to pursue the American Dream or seeking refuge from war or persecution. As a nation built on the rule of law, we can’t sweep our nation’s sovereignty under the rug. We can’t allow millions of people to violate our laws and come to our country without permission year after year. We can’t allow cartels to push poison into our communities, including methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine that’s destroying families and killing tens of thousands of Americans in overdose deaths. We can and must do more. I’m working to ensure our immigration policies benefit American citizens and immigrants who abide by our laws. At my 99 county meetings, Iowans tell me they are fed up with the open border policies of this administration. It’s time to put border security first and fix our broken immigration policies so that America’s welcome mat isn’t abused and turned into a worn out doormat.

Author: Charles Grassley

Chuck Grassley of New Hartford has represented Iowa in the United States Senate since 1980.


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