Biden’s border chaos can be controlled and the time is now

By: US Senator James Lankford (R-OK)

Enough is enough. In less than three years of President Biden’s term, we had more people illegally cross the border than in the previous 12 years combined. Millions of people have come into the US under this president with thousands from nations like China, Iran, Mauritania, Senegal, and many more.

For three years, we have all said the border is a crisis, and it needs to stop. This week, the Senate has an opportunity to stop the chaos and put powerful new tools in the border security toolbox for the next administration. 

The criminal cartels in Mexico are coaching migrants from all over the world on what to say and how to “game” our very weak asylum laws. Worse than that, over a million people in the past year did not even have to game the asylum system. They were just handed “parole” and released into the country or were placed into a 10-year backlog of immigration hearings that everyone knows will never happen.

The national security risks grow by the day. For years, we’ve sounded the alarm about criminal aliens on the terrorist watch list crossing the border. But in the past year, the number of “Special Interest Aliens,” listed specifically as a national security risk, has grown into the tens of thousands. Almost all of the Special Interest Aliens are somewhere in our country right now.

The longer we wait, the greater the risk to our nation and our families.

This is the strongest and most conservative border security policy to come out of the Senate in decades, and it has the potential to transform our border from catch and release to detain and deport.

Negotiating border security is always complex and tough, but the current make-up of Washington today makes it even tougher. Democrats in the Senate have been unwilling to even have committee hearings about the border crisis, much less vote to change the law.

Any change in law has to get 60 votes in the Democrat-controlled Senate, 218 votes in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and a Democrat president’s signature. Though Republicans are in the minority in the Senate, we stood together to block other legislation until the administration agreed to include real changes in border law. Those changes are now packaged in a national security bill that is headed to the Senate next week.

We must compel the current administration to finally stop the abuse of parole on our southwest border, end the daily handouts of work permits to whoever crosses the border that day, and give the next administration a huge number of new tools in the border toolbox on day one.

After weeks of false rumors and speculation, I encourage you to read the bill to get the facts. It is the strongest and most conservative border security policy to come out of the Senate in decades, and it has the potential to transform our border from catch and release to detain and deport. It builds more wall, hires more officers, increases deportation flights, adds more detention beds, and multiplies the technology at the border.

It does not include amnesty of any kind. Period.


Our proposal starts by radically reforming our weak and out of date asylum laws to screen out people fast while they are in custody. It raises the standard for evidence, adds new bars to eligibility, and deports quickly.

When people are no longer just released into the country to disappear, they will know the game is over and stop coming.


Hundreds of thousands of people have been released into the country in the last three years on “parole” because the border was overcrowded. The border security bill locks out the use of parole on the border and ends the Biden administration’s policy of catch and release.


In the last four months, there have only been seven days with fewer than 5,000 people illegally crossing our border a day. Many days have seen more than 10,000 illegal crossings. That ends with this bill.

The border emergency authority only lasts three years — to force this administration to actually shut down the border and to give time for the next administration to hire more agents and more officers. After three years, the emergency authority expires because we should have regained full control of our border by then.

When the cartels throw thousands of people at us again, the border will shut down, and everyone crossing illegally will be immediately deported back to Mexico or their home country. This new authority is stronger than the previous Title 42 authority, and it puts law enforcement back in control of our southern border.

The Biden policy releases thousands into the country when we are overcrowded at the border. This new mandatory authority will instead deport border crossers out of the country when we are overcrowded at the border. The changes in asylum, faster hearings and rapid deportation will quickly reduce illegal entry, but the border emergency authority will make sure we stop the flood of illegal immigration immediately.


In addition to these policy changes, the bill builds more wall, increases the overtime pay for our brave Border Patrol agents, provides a huge increase to 50,000 detention beds, expands ICE operations, and takes aggressive action to go after the cartels killing our families with fentanyl.

It has been more than three decades since there was a real change in our outdated border security law. It is long, long, long overdue. We should set up the next administration for success with the tools and resources they will need to regain control of our southern border on the first day.

Without this bill, the next administration will have to fight with Congress for months or years to get any border resources. But with the passage of this bill, the next administration will have a full toolbox of new authorities no administration has ever had. It is time to end our border crisis.

Author’s note: You can read a summary of the border security bill HERE. You can read the entire border security bill text HERE.