Is there really a 'crisis' on the border?
© Getty Images

Earlier this year, I joined over 50 Republicans in a letter warning of the negative effects President BidenJoe BidenMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Dole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 MORE’s immigration policies would have on border security and illegal immigration into the United States.

It turns out that we were right. Prior to President Biden’s inauguration, the number of family units encountered by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the southwest border was less than 1,000 per week. Now, that number has risen to 6,000 family units per week. Overall, CBP has seen a 170 percent increase in the number of migrants encountered at the border from February 2020 to February 2021. The numbers don’t lie. There is a crisis.

However, the numbers alone don’t fully convey the breadth of the humanitarian crisis on the border. During the last border crisis in 2019, we saw numerous tragedies for migrants attempting to make the journey to America. Individuals attempting the dangerous crossing lost their lives on a regular basis, including the tragic loss of a 10-month old child in the Rio Grande when a raft capsized.

ADVERTISEMENT

We also saw how cartels used the 2019 crisis by pushing huge groups of more than 100 migrants across the border all at once in order to overwhelm Customs and Border Protection officers. Once law enforcement officials had their hands full, the cartels would smuggle illegal narcotics across the border and into our communities. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2020 National Drug Threat Assessment, most of the heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine in the United States was either produced in or distributed through Mexico. The cartels see the crisis as an opportunity to profit on selling these life-threatening drugs in American communities.

Perhaps most troubling of all is how the cartels encourage human trafficking during time of border confusion. Illegal immigrants are coached by coyotes and cartel members to bring children, even if they are not their own, for their journey into the United States. This strategy, they are told, will serve as a sort of “passport” in the case of capture, especially when “catch and release” is the policy in the United States. In fiscal year 2019, CBP encountered more than 6,200 fraudulent family members, and DNA testing used on the border found that almost 20 percent of family units had fraudulent members, or people who were not related to the children they accompanied. These children are innocent victims being manipulated for the benefit of dangerous Mexican cartels.

In response to this crisis and to secure our border, President TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE instituted the Remain in Mexico Policy, ensured the Northern Triangle countries shared in the responsibility for immigration and border concerns, and continued to focus on building the wall at the request of many border patrol officials, among other border security measures. Despite strong opposition from Democrats in Congress, these policies worked. We saw a decrease in illegal crossings and set our nation up for a proper discussion on immigration without an ongoing humanitarian crisis on the border. President Trump and congressional Republicans were successful in resolving the 2019 humanitarian crisis through these efforts.

Fast forward two years to President Biden’s taking office. He has completely reversed these policies, signaling that the southern border is open. Within his first few days in office, President Biden reinstated “catch and release” policies that encourage human trafficking, suspended border wall system construction, and dismantled the Remain in Mexico policy that kept our immigration system from being overrun, sending the message to the cartels that our borders are open for drug smuggling and human trafficking.

Make no mistake, a crisis is unfolding on our border because of these actions by the administration.

And now, as House Democrats bring up two pieces of legislation for consideration that would grant citizenship to millions of immigrants who came here through the wrong pathways, it is clear that they plan to continue to encourage illegal crossing. It is evident that such actions will only cause this crisis to worsen.

During the 2019 crisis, Republicans proved that our border security policies discourage illegal border crossings while making our communities safer. In response to the 2021 crisis, we have seen bipartisan support for action to address the tragedies happening on our border. We have the plan and the support to act. It is now up to President Biden and Democratic leadership to decide what matters most to them: the lives and well-being of immigrants, law enforcement, and American citizens, or their failed partisan immigration agenda that has created this humanitarian crisis.

Michael GuestMichael Patrick GuestDHS considering asylum for migrants whose cases were terminated under Trump I visited the border and the vice president should too The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel MORE represents the 3rd District in Mississippi and is a member of the Homeland Security Committee.