GUS ON THE ISSUES
Securing our Southern Border
The Problem: Fast Facts, by the Numbers
- Since President Biden was sworn into office more than 2.2 million people have illegally entered our country. This is the greatest influx of illegal migrants in American history. The true numbers of those entering our country illegally is much higher. Border officials estimate that another 2,000 people per day avoid interaction with border patrol and successfully enter the country.
- 42 of the people apprehended trying to enter the country since President Biden was sworn in were on the terrorist watch list. How many more terrorists have crossed into our country but evaded detection?
- Back in 2012, President Obama’s Department of Homeland Security said that 1,000 encounters at the border would constitute a crisis and overwhelm the system. Today, the number of daily encounters is between 7-9,000. This March, there were 221,303 illegal encounters at the border. That is a 542% increase since March of 2020. Border security is underfunded and overwhelmed.
- There has also been a huge spike in drug and human trafficking along the southern border since Biden took office. In 2021, 11,201 pounds of fentanyl were seized- a 134% increase from 2020 and enough to kill every American nearly 7x over. More than 100,000 Americans are dying annually from fentanyl overdose and the problem is directly linked to the Border Crisis.
- These staggering statistics are not a fluke, but rather the result of deliberate policies that have encouraged migrants to break our laws and enter the country. During his State of the Union, President Biden said, “We need to secure the border and fix the immigration system. It is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” However, his words have not matched his actions. He sued in court to be able to abandon many of the Trump-era policies that were containing the situation, including the repeal of the Remain in Mexico Policy.
- Instead of addressing what has become a humanitarian, health and national security problem, the Biden Administration keeps announcing plans that will exacerbate the problem. For example, the Administration has discussed paying illegal immigrants settlement payments of up to $450,000. Democrats’ budget proposals did not contain one dollar to add additional Border Security Agents, however, it contained amnesty for up to 10 million illegal immigrants and $100 billion in taxpayer funded benefits. These individuals broke the law by entering the country. If they are compensated for doing so, it will encourage even more people to break the law.
- At the same time that we are seeing these historic increases in the number of illegal migrants entering our country, deportations have dropped by 68%, the lowest level in 26 years, before ICE was created. Flights and busloads of illegal migrants are being shipped throughout the country without proper monitoring or follow-up to ensure these people appear at their hearings.
- As bad as the current situation is, it is only going to get worse. President Biden recently announced that on May 23rd, he will repeal another effective, Trump-era strategy that has been used to help deter illegal crossings, Title 42. It protects our country by allowing officials to turn away illegal immigrants at the border. Officials estimate this will cause the number of daily illegal encounters to swell to 18,000.
Gus Bilirakis understands that the Biden Border Crisis has made every city and state a border city- because the impacts are being felt everywhere. Unlike, our Border Czar Kamala Harris, Gus Bilirakis has been to the border to see the situation for himself. He has spoken with border patrol agents, local leaders, residents and business owners. He is a co-sponsor of the PAUSE Act, which would stop President Biden from eliminating or weakening Title 42. He has also cosponsored the Early Migration Alert Program which would require the federal to notify local law enforcement and officials before migrants were released into their communities. This is the least we owe our citizens. And, Gus Bilirakis has supported funding for the creation/expansion of a Border Wall through multiple budget cycles. He and his colleagues have written to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the President condemning these actions and urging them to secure the border. He has spoken on the House Floor on several occasions, written multiple editorials and testified in hearings about the urgency of this crisis.