By Rep. Jason Smith and Rep. Buddy Carter
$350 million worth of steel border wall, bought and paid for by American taxpayers, is wasting away in a lot in McAllen, Texas, under supervision of taxpayer-funded guards. If this sounds illegal, it’s because it is. We saw it with our own eyes earlier this month during a Congressional visit to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Under President Trump, Congress approved, in a bipartisan manner, funding for hundreds of miles of border wall construction. Materials were purchased, contracts were signed, and construction began. In direct violation of the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, President Biden, on his first day in office, illegally froze the project’s $1.4 billion of taxpayer funding, undoing the will of Congress for his own political gain.
By unilaterally cancelling that construction, President Biden defied the American people and effectively disarmed the border patrol agents who were promised this vital tool to secure the southern border. To this day, there are still hundreds of miles of border wall left unfinished, as record numbers of illegal immigrants are pouring into the country.
This is a gross abuse of executive authority and taxpayers are paying the price. The tab for Biden’s border crisis runs into the tens of billions.
Last month saw 239,416 illegal border crossings, the highest ever recorded. Each of those migrants is given a health exam, three square meals, a hot shower, housing, and a cell phone or other tracking device. They are then flown, on the federal government’s dime, into the interior of the United States, without any repercussions for breaking the law.
This administration is running a free Costco for illegal immigrants while demanding that working class citizens drive to store after store on $5 a gallon gas hoping that they will find food for their infant child. The border patrol agents tasked with stocking those shelves need that baby formula for their own children, but have been told, emphatically, not to take it home. The message is clear – under President Biden, illegal immigrants have a greater right to taxpayer dollars than the taxpayers themselves.
The Biden Administration further emphasized this point when they released their FY2023 budget. The President’s budget mentions “climate” over 180 times, yet mentions “border security” exactly zero times. He also calls for an $800 million cut to Homeland Security, while still pushing to end the Title 42 border policy. Our brave border patrol agents are already working around the clock to process record-high number of illegal immigrants.
When we visited a processing facility in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, which sees an average of 10,000 encounters per week, an emotional Border Patrol agent said “I’m standing in front of an open fire hydrant with a bucket. I don’t need more buckets; I need you to turn off the tap.”
Biden’s budget would not only take away those buckets, it would turn the tap into a gushing fire hose.
Under Title 42, Border agents are able to send roughly half of the illegal immigrants they encounter back home. Unfortunately, the other half is let go free in the United States. If Title 42 were to end, 100 percent of those illegal immigrants would be released inside the United States. We cannot let that happen.
The only “winners” from Biden’s open border policies are the cartels, who profit more than $32 million per day from their human smuggling operations. During our visit, we were shown colored bracelets taken from migrants apprehended by Border Patrol. The cartels force them to pay tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for these bracelets, which supposedly provide them with protection from kidnapping and extortion during their journey into the U.S. The cartels also indirectly profit from human smuggling. Often the cartels will lead large groups of migrants into the path of Border Patrol agents. This provides a convenient distraction while the cartels smuggle drugs, such as fentanyl, into the U.S. undetected.
It is time to put American taxpayers first and enforce the law. That starts with resuming border wall construction, increasing funding for homeland security, and reestablishing law and order. We need an America First immigration policy, and we are calling on Washington Democrats to work with Republicans and enact one.
Read the op-ed here.