05.19.22

Lankford Again Calls Out Ongoing Failure to Enforce the Law at Our Southern Border

Lankford: “We're not asking for something crazy. We're just asking for the law to be enforced.”

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on YouTube.

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on Rumble.

CLICK HERE to download Lankford’s graphic.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK), lead Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management, gave an update to Oklahomans from the Senate floor on the ongoing chaos at the southern border as well as solutions to the border crisis. He called on Biden to simply enforce the law and implement commonsense enforcement protocols. Lankford also discussed the need to finish the border wall system that helps Border Patrol as migrants from every country on Earth flood across our southern border.

Lankford is leading the charge to push back on the Biden Administration’s plans to revoke temporary, pandemic-related Title 42 authority as early as May 23 and to stop the ongoing chaos at the southern border amid Biden’s hypocrisy about COVID. After the highest year on record for illegal crossings this past year and 221,000 encounters of border crossers last month, Lankford introduced the Public Health and Border Security Act to require all COVID-19 related national states of emergency to be lifted before Title 42 is officially terminated and until a workable plan to replace it is put in place. Lankford also introduced a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to dissolve a proposed Biden Administration rule that would illegally upend the process by which the US government grants asylum claims to migrants.

Transcript

Been tracking through what's happening on our southern border. It's interesting I still have folks that catch me and say, ‘I don't see anything about it in the news anymore. So what's happening?’ So I try to periodically come here to the floor to be able to describe what's happening. Interestingly enough, just yesterday the leadership for CBP did their news release that they normally do to kind of outline what's happening at the border. In their news release, they released out, ‘CBP works to secure and manage our borders while building a fair and orderly migration system.’ This is what they put out yesterday—‘While we build an orderly and fair migration system.’

Interestingly enough, this was a picture taken the day before their press release. This was taken in the Eagle Pass area of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley and, yes, that line you see are people coming across the river in Eagle Pass. Now, you don't catch everything because you can't see how much farther it goes this way and how much farther it goes that way. This was the day before CBP released this statement, ‘We work to secure and manage our borders while building a fair and orderly migration system.’

Earlier in the report, very first page of the news release, CBP leadership said, ‘After many months of planning, we are executing a comprehensive strategy to safely, orderly, and humanely manage our borders. CBP is surging personnel and resources to the border, increasing processing capacity, securing more ground and air transportation, and increasing medical supplies, food, water, and other resources to ensure a humane environment for those being processed, screened, and vetted.’ By the way, just south and west of this, just the day before this was taken, Border Patrol picked up two child sex predators, four MS-13 gang members and an 18th Street gang member, just right before this, just the day before this was released.

This is our frustration with the Administration right now. Because the media has turned away and decided they're not going to look at this, that they're not going to pay attention to this, everyone seems to think everything has gotten fine. What's really happening on our southern border, again from current statistics right now, they're only able to handle 44 percent of the flow coming across the border. At 44 percent of the flow, right now they are releasing thousands of people directly into the country with a notice to report saying, ‘Turn yourself in to an ICE facility anywhere in the country, and they'll process you there.’ Because they can't handle the backlog of the thousands of people coming across.

 

What are we talking about thousands of people? Well, remember last year when the cameras were all focused on the southern border? Last year there were 6,500 migrants coming across a day at this time. And all the cameras were focused on the southern border because it was such a massive influx of people because 6,500 migrants were crossing a day. Right now 7,800 migrants are crossing a day—7,800 a day.

Last month the CBP released almost a quarter-million people illegally crossed our southern border in one month. That beat the old record of the month before when there was just under that by a couple-thousand people. A quarter-million people a month illegally crossing the border. Now, to their credit, about half of those are turned away under what's called Title 42 authority because of the pandemic. Those single adults, half of them are turned back but the interesting thing is the Administration says on May 23, yes, next week, on May 23, they want to end Title 42 authority and so they're not turning anyone away at the border. So literally all quarter-million cross into the country and no one gets turned away. When that happens, DHS' own numbers have estimated that when that occurs, they estimate that they will see a million people surge to the border in six weeks—six weeks.

So what's happening on interior enforcement? Well that's the border right now. They're allowing a quarter million people to cross the border, turning half of them away. But their plan is next week they're going to stop turning anyone away. Everyone is going to cross in. How many people are being deported? Criminal aliens, individuals that have a final order of removal from a court—how is that going? Well, currently under this Administration, we have a record-low number of deportations that are happening. While we have 7,800 people a day illegally crossing the border, ICE is now deporting 203 people a day from the nation.

So let me run those numbers past you again. 7,800 people a day illegally crossing the border. 203 people being turned around due to ICE custody and releasing them back into their country where they came from. Now, these aren't folks just from Central America. In fact, now about half of the people coming are not from Mexico or Central America. They're coming from all over the world.

Last year we had people from every single country on the planet illegally cross the border in the two million people that crossed the border. They came from every single country in the world, yes, including Iran, and North Korea, all of them. This Administration is now working towards next week saying, ‘We're going to lift Title 42 authority and we're not going to turn anyone around.’

Currently what's happening? When individuals come across the border, they're given notification. They'll request for asylum. All they have to say is ‘I have credible fear.’ They'll say, ‘What city would you like to go to in the entire US? You can go to any city you want to go to.’ They pick their city. They're given a piece of paper, and on that piece of paper, they're told here's your court date eight years in the future—eight years in the future. And then go anywhere they want to in the country for the next eight years. And they're told to keep that piece of paper with them. If they're ever pulled over, they can pull it out and show, ‘I’m awaiting my court date. I'm here for the next eight years.’

Now, let me just ask you a simple question. If I’ve got to go through the legal process to be able to get a visa for a work visa and go through all of that process and fill out paperwork, or—and I’ll be here just temporarily for a season—or I can illegally cross the border, and I’ll be here for the next eight years, which would you pick? This Administration is literally incentivizing this and encouraging more people to illegally cross the border.

Is there a way to be able to handle this? Yes, there is. Some of it is overly simplistic. I understand. Let's start with: finish building the wall system because there are gaps in the fence and everyone heads towards those gaps in the fence. I'm not the only one saying that. The career professionals at Border Patrol are saying that's one of the prime things that they need. Do they say that's the only thing they need? No. There's a lot more they need, but they're saying that's a really important element that they need is that fencing. That slows people down. That funnels people towards gaps. Build the wall system.

 

Number two: don't lift Title 42. Keep it in place. I'm not the only one saying that. I had an ambassador from a Central American country contact me this week and say, ‘We're asking the White House not to lift Title 42 authority. Because in Central America, we're facing thousands of people migrating through our country from all over the world that are headed to the United States,’ and it's causing economic turmoil in their country. And their fear is if President Biden lifts Title 42 authority, it's going to make a bad situation in their country even worse. And while President Biden talks about root causes in Central America, Central America is telling the United States: enforce your border, stop incentivizing people to illegally travel to your border. That's one of the root causes of migration.

Finish building the wall system. Don't lift Title 42 authority. Have cooperative agreements with other countries. This has been done by multiple presidents before, to be able to have engagement with other countries so that they enforce their border. And I don't mean just say to them, ‘Go enforce your border.’ Help them. If they don't enforce their southern border and their southern border and their southern border, it all piles up here and right now the Biden Administration is just letting them all in.

Asylum hearings. Individuals that request asylum were legally bound to actually have asylum. There's lots of changes that need to have in asylum laws. But let me say this simply: this Administration right now with current asylum laws could do last in, first up for hearings. Instead of handing people a piece of paper and say, ‘You're here for the next eight years until the next asylum hearing,’ if you cross the border illegally right now, they say, ‘You have to stay right here at the border for the next two weeks. Your hearing is in two weeks and in that courtroom right over here at the border.’ They go through the legal process to be able to request asylum. When they do not qualify, they're returned.

That sends an entirely different signal. What the Border Patrol tells me now is when individuals cross the border, get a piece of paper that says you're going to be here for the next eight years, they pull out their cell phones, snap a picture of it, text their family back home and say, ‘I paid this cartel member, crossed at this spot, said these words and got this piece of paper. Come join me.’ And the next person comes and the next person comes. If what happens instead when they cross the border, they get there and their hearing is in two weeks and then they find out they don't qualify for asylum and they're returned, they instead text their family members and say, ‘Don't come, the border is closed.’ Nothing is changed at that point other than the enforcement. That can be done right now.

Fourth, federal courts have required the Biden Administration to put what’s called MPP or what some people call Remain in Mexico back in place. So the Biden Administration following the court order has spent millions of dollars stand up facilities, putting up courtrooms, and they're putting almost no one through them so they can tell the federal court they're doing them. What do I mean by that? 7,800 people crossing a day illegally, the Biden Administration is putting about 2,000 people a month through the MPP process, simply so they can say they followed the court order but they're not—7,800 people a day and they're doing 2,000 a month through MPP? That's decorative. That's not border enforcement. It's why I tell people the Biden Administration is getting in illegal immigration exactly what they designed the system to do, to have more people come.

Finally, deport people that a court has ruled they should be deported. This is not mean; this is following the law. We have literally thousands of people in the United States that a federal court has ruled a final order of removal on individuals and said, ‘You are not legal in this country, and you've gone through all of the process. You need to be removed.’ Currently ICE is not removing them, again sending a signal to everyone that wants to come here illegally: if you pay the cartels, you get across. You stay for eight years and then after eight years no one is looking for you. That's why we have two million people last year illegally crossing the border. That's why we had a quarter-million people last month illegally cross the border because this Administration just keeps saying, ‘I don't want to be mean. We're going to open this up.’

We're not asking for something crazy. We're just asking for the law to be enforced.

What's mean? What's inhumane? I'll tell you what's inhumane. In February of this year, Reuters did a story on a young girl named Amelia. Amelia borrowed $10,000 to pay the smugglers from Guatemala to be able to cross into the United States in Arizona,  $10,000 she borrowed from the human traffickers. She got across the border. She was referred to the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, Unaccompanied Minors after crossing. That's right. Amelia's under 18. So HHS processed her through, moved her into the location that she had as a piece of paper to say this is the location I need to go. She traveled to that location and got to that spot and HHS said, ‘Our duty is done.’ When Reuters found her, she was working on a poultry processing farm in rural Alabama with her sister Rosa. When they asked her why she wasn't in school, she responded, ‘School isn't for me. I have debt,’ because she's working in the poultry processing facility in Alabama to pay off the cartel’s $10,000 she and her sister both.

She also by the way paid $1,500 to get a false Social Security card and a false ID and she's working to pay off that debt as well. While the Administration continues to call this humane, and leadership CBP calls this orderly this week, I don't think it's humane or orderly for us to open up our borders to individuals being trafficked into our own country, to pay cartels $10,000 a person that then they come into this country and work their debt off in labor camps for the cartel.

By the way, for Amelia and for her sister, Rosa, this story can be repeated all over again with multiple individuals who pay off their debt to the cartels by trafficking in illicit materials, because the cartel will say if you took the loan out from us, you pay us back our way. That's what we're facilitating in America, and all we're asking the Biden Administration to do is enforce the law. That's what it means to be President of the United States.

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