July 13, 2021
“President Biden has had six months to fix the crisis that we are living with today. He's only making it worse and he's doubling down on the mistakes he's already made.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
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 the Biden administration is rolling back all of the successful border security policies of the Trump administration.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor today to talk about the crisis at our southern border. We have a humanitarian crisis there. We have a health care crisis there, and we also have a national security crisis there.
“We need to strengthen our southern border, leaving the border open is like leaving the door to your home open. An open border is an open invitation and it's an invitation to the whole world. Now, this includes drug dealers, sex traffickers, it includes gang members and it even includes terrorists.
“When President Biden took office, he flipped on the green light and he rolled out the welcome mat. He sent a message to the world, the message was received, and the border is open. Since President Biden took office, 600,000 illegal immigrants have been arrested crossing the border.
“This is more than the entire population of my home state of Wyoming. Border arrests have gone up every month since President Biden has been in the White House. Last month a deputy commissioner of the Border Patrol retired after 27 years in that office.
“His name is Robert Perez. Since leaving office, he had a few things is say. This is what he said. He said, what Border Patrol is seeing since February, he said, is absolutely unprecedented. He said it's a crisis unlike anything I've ever seen.
“Well, right now we're on the pace to two million illegal immigrants. That's what we're looking at, two million illegal immigrants crossing the southern border of the United States, that's the most in two decades, and that's just the illegal immigrants that we know about.
On Illegal Drugs Coming Across the Border:
“In addition, tens of thousands of additional illegal immigrants are coming across the border and not being stopped. At the same time we are seizing more fentanyl at our border more than ever before. The numbers are astonishing.
“This drug is so powerful that a fatal dose is equivalent to a pinch of salt. In the last 6 months Border Patrol has seized enough fentanyl to kill every man, woman, and child in America.
Some experts say the amount they captured in terms of fentanyl is a small fraction of the amount getting across the border every day.
“This would mean a quarter-million pounds of fentanyl likely to flow into the United States this year alone and it’s not just staying at our southern border, it's in every state of the union.
On Biden Admin Rolling Back Successful Trump Border Policies:
“This just didn't happen. Six months ago, the border was nearly secure. Then Joe Biden was sworn into office and he undid the successful policies of the previous administration.
“He stopped building the wall even though it's already been paid for. Under the previous administration, asylum seekers had to remain in Mexico until their day in court, President Biden stopped that.
“He ended that policy, basically saying to everyone, come in. It does seem that anything that the previous administration did that was done successfully, President Biden has chosen to do the opposite.
“This isn't policymaking, this is knee-jerk partisanship. Now, President Biden has had six months to fix the crisis that we are living with today.
“He's only making it worse and he's doubling down on the mistakes he's already made. It wasn't enough for him to end the Remain in Mexico policy which was successful and which Border Patrol agents tell me needs to be put back in place if the goal is to actually secure the border.
“Now the Biden administration seems to be actively looking for people who had to wait in Mexico under President Trump and let them into the United States. He's inviting them into our country and he's not stopping there. He's going further.
On Biden Admin Wanting to End Title 42:
“Now it seems like President Biden is going to open the door even wider. Last year at the start of the pandemic, the previous administration closed our borders to people from coronavirus-impacted areas.
“This was a decision made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They did this under Title 42 of our law. This is a section of our laws related to public health.
“Well, it's likely to have saved thousands of American lives. It protected our public health. It's also helped our Border Patrol. They will tell you that. They will tell you that this has helped them stem the flow of illegal immigration over the last year.
“But now President Biden, I understand, wants to end that policy. At least that's what the White House is telling the press. It means that the crisis at the border is going to get even worse.
“You don't have to take my word for it. Listen to what Democrat Congressman from San Antonio, Congressman Henry Cuellar had to say.
“He represents a district in Texas right on the border, lives there, knows the situation on the border. He recently said, ending the Title 42 order, as he said, is going to provide another incentive. He said that the drug cartels are going to start saying, you can come in. That's Congressman Cuellar of Texas, and I believe he's right.
“President Biden has removed almost all of the policies protecting our border. Title 42 is the last one standing. Now he's going to take this one down as well. Well, if he does, it will open the floodgates.
“I would expect tens of thousands more illegal immigrants coming into the country. It will create even more chaos from criminals all across the land. Not just from Mexico, but from all across the world, coming across our southern border.
On Spread of Coronavirus at the Border:
“As a physician, I'm concerned about this decision from the fentanyl standpoint, also from the standpoint of the disease, the coronavirus and the new variants that we're dealing with. We know that people are coming from all over the world.
“When I was at the border this spring at the Donna facility near McAllen, Texas, the Border Patrol said they arrested people from more than 50 different countries coming across the southern border from Mexico into the United States.
“This includes lots of places where the vaccination rates are much, much lower than they are in the United States, some places where vaccines aren't even available.
“At the same time we're seeing just variants of coronavirus rapidly spreading throughout the world, variants that are deadly, variants that the vaccines that we have here in the united States may not be as effective as we had thought or as we would hope.
“So the country's threat for all of us is real. Since the pandemic began, more than 8,000 Border Patrol agents and officers have tested positive for coronavirus, 32 of these agents have died of coronavirus.
“When I visited the border, I saw firsthand how unaccompanied children were routinely exposed to coronavirus. When I visited roughly one in ten of these young people who had tested positive for coronavirus, and they were all together in these holding pens, crammed in like sardines, one exposing the other and the other after that.
“These holding facilities packed several thousand young people into one facility the day we were there, and they exposed everyone in the facility. And of course after the time in the holding facility, they are released. Many of them are released while positive.
“So as new variants spread around the world, this puts our nation in serious danger. And that's why Republican senators are sending a letter to President Biden. Our message to President Biden is this: leave the CDC protection under Title 42 in place.
“The American people need it. We need it from a public health standpoint. It protects our public health, it protects our border agents, it strengthens our border security.
“There is enough chaos at the border already, too many drugs, too many criminals. They are already crossing the border.
“We need to stop this knee-jerk partisanship and we need to get back to the policies that we know work, the policies that the Border Patrol tells us work, the policies that the Border Patrol told the Biden transition team prior to Joe Biden getting sworn in and inaugurated as president of the United States, they advised him to keep in place.
“We need to finish the wall that has already been paid for. We need to bring back the Remain in Mexico policy. We need to enforce the law. We need to close the loopholes. We need to slam the door shut on the drug cartels.
“It is time to secure our border once and for all.”