WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke on the Senate floor about the ongoing crisis at our southern border and how President Biden and Vice President Harris have refused to make the trip to the border to see the crisis firsthand.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to talk about the crisis occurring at the southern border.
“Joe Biden has been president now for about four months. At this time, illegal immigration at the southern border has more than doubled.
“We are now on a pace this year, this year alone, for the most illegal immigration in two decades.
“The numbers that we see based on last month were talking about two million people coming to America this year illegally.
“It seems to me that on the first day in office, President Biden signed executive orders that flipped on the green light and said come to America.
“He rolled out the welcome mat and he sent a clear message that our borders are open. He shut down construction of the border wall, a wall that we actually paid to have done to be constructed. I've been there.
“The parts are laying on the ground and the workers stopped on Inauguration Day from putting up portions of the wall to close down the gaps.
“He topped all deportations for 100 days, he brought back the program known as catch and release and since he took these actions and I talked to the border patrol on the ground and they say the border has been overwhelmed.
“Now illegal immigrants are coming from all over the world. People say it's an issue between Mexico and the United States.
“The people coming here are coming from all over the world. The time I was there we heard that over 50 countries have been represented in the people that have been captured, including Romania, Armenia, and Bangladesh.
“People are flying to Mexico, who can't come to the United States, because of paperwork, who they are, what their intentions may be.
“They aren't allowed to get tickets to come to the United States and fly to Mexico to come into the United States illegally.
“The entire world knows that the border is open because that's the message sent out by this administration and that, of course, includes criminals.
“Border agents have already arrested 95 convicted sex offenders, border agents have arrested 95 convicted sex offenders coming into the country illegally.
“This includes in the last number of months, a man from El Salvador who was convicted of raping a child in Washington State.
“We're talking about people who have been convicted in the United States who are now out of the country coming back in.
“Also included, a man from El Salvador who was accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl. This took place in New York City, which is a sanctuary city.
“This is what happens when our borders are open and the message is sent out around the world.
“For the open-borders crowd who likes this sort of thing, some of whom are members of the Congress of the United States, this is just collateral damage. It's all part of a political agenda.
“It's been more than two months since President Biden put Vice President Harris in charge of the border. She's found time to make it to the Canadian border, but not time to make it to the border between the United States and Mexico.
“This week, and right now the vice president has been on her first overseas trip in her role as vice president.
“She's going to Central America and to Mexico, but not to the border. She announced new gifts of American taxpayer dollars given to people from other countries.
“When reporters asked her if she was going to the border, she actually laughed. She thought it was a joke.
“It was very disappointing to see the vice president acting in that way.
“She said I haven't been to Europe either. Like it didn't matter. She had not been to Europe. A lot of places she hadn't been, the place the American people know she hadn't been is to the border between Mexico and the United States.
“In reality she knows if she goes to the border between the United States and Mexico, she knows that the news cameras will go with her.
“She knows that the media would broadcast the crisis that they see at the border to the whole world. She knows that then more and more Americans will see firsthand the truth for themselves.
“That's why the vice president is not going to the border between Mexico and the United States. The White House refuses to say it's a crisis.
“They refuse to say those words. They just want to use the word challenge instead of the reality of the crisis that I saw when I was there at the border with a group of Republican senators.
“And that's why they are doubling down on policies that caused the crisis. Two weeks ago, the president released his budget for the coming year.
“It's the biggest budget proposal by any president in American history. It would nearly double the federal spending over the next decade. Yet the president's budget for the Department of Homeland Security, the department that is supposed to keep our nation safe, is flat-lined.
“The president likes to say, and he said it time and time again, he said it when he was in the Senate, he said it when he was Vice President of the United States and now he says it as the president, he says, if you want to know somebody's values, just look at their budget.
“Well, we've seen Joe Biden's budget and we know his values and his values are not those of supporting and promoting the security of our nation through border security.
“The president's budget includes $800 million in aid for Central America. I don't know if Joe Biden thinks you can bribe people with our own tax dollars to not cross the border. It is an absolute surrender and it leaves our borders wide open.
“Our southern border is in crisis, but the crisis isn't limited to the border itself. President Biden has also tied the hands of our immigration officials all across America.
“The Washington Post came out with a story and they put it this way, and I want to make sure I have it absolutely accurate so I will read it to you.
“Under President Biden, it says, I.C.E., Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is an agency on probation. This is The Washington Post. Says Biden has placed I.C.E. deportation officers on a leash so tight some say their work is functionally abolished.
“That's The Washington Post on the President of the United States and what he has done with regard to our borders and our immigration authorities with his very flat line budget for the Department of Homeland Security.
“The article goes on and it says, I.C.E. carried out fewer than 3,000 deportations last month, the agency's 6,000 officers currently average one arrest every two months.
“Hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens have court orders for deportation, yet despite these enormous numbers, deportations have never been lower.
“No wonder the crisis is getting worse. I heard about it all last week over Memorial Day as I traveled around the state of Wyoming. People are very concerned about this disregard for our borders and for the support that our Immigration Custom Enforcement officers need.
“So it's no wonder to me that the people of Wyoming are concerned and I imagine people all around the country are concerned.
“My colleagues heard it as well as they traveled their home states just in the last week.
“The American people want to keep the border secure and they want to be safe at home.
“We know what to do. We know what works. The border agents told President Biden's transition team before he was inaugurated what we needed to do to keep the border secure, what works, what wouldn't work.
“They say enforce the law, close the loopholes. The loopholes that encourage illegal immigration. They say finish the wall. The wall that we've already paid for. And they say bring back the policy known as Remain in Mexico.
“Until we take these basic steps, the crisis is going to continue, the border's going to remain open and the American people will continue to come to us to say that there is more that can be done and should be done and must be done.
“Because the American people know that when the border is not secure, the people of America continue to be at heightened risk.”