Lankford Calls Out White House for Welcoming Illegal Immigration, Calls Out National Security Risks Caused by Open Border Policies

CLICK HERE to view the remarks on YouTube.

CLICK HERE to view the remarks on Rumble. 

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) delivered remarks on the Senate floor to call out the White House for welcoming in illegal immigration and sound the alarm on how the Biden Administration’s open border policies endanger national security. These remarks come on the heels of the Biden Administration’s announcement of another Executive Order to encourage more illegal immigration.

Lankford serves as lead Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management, and he pushed back on President Biden for his sudden attempt to change the narrative on the border just six months before an election. 


Mr. President, there’s a difference between a refugee that is fully vetted that America has welcomed historically and should continue to and we will. We’ve worked for decades to be able to honor refugees and to be able to do our part in what’s happening around the world. That same standard for refugees, where an individual is identified, their family is vetted, they goes through a process both through the UN and through the United States, to be able to identify how to be able to help that family, that same definition for refugee is also used as a definition for asylee. It’s the same definition, but there’s a dramatic difference between the two. The refugee has been fully vetted. We know who they are. We know the situation. We know the crisis that their family has gone through and our nation, like multiple other nations around the world, engage us to see what we can do to be able to help that family and trauma. That’s who we are as Americans, and it’s who we will continue to be. The challenge is when we have thousands of people across our southern border requesting asylum, who we don’t know who they are…they are not vettedthat begin to take advantage of American generosity.

And it becomes a challenge for us to be able to filter who really qualifies as a refugee asylee, as they’re crossing the border and who’s just taking advantage of our system. That’s a challenge. It’s been a challenge for us for years, but it’s dramatically accelerated in the last three years. This year, we’ll have 2.5 million people that will cross our southern border.

The vast majority of those will ask for asylum, and they’ll be released into the United States awaiting a hearing, sometimes eight to 10 years in advance, to be able to make their case that they qualify. In the meantime, we don’t know who they are. They’ve not been vetted. We don’t have background information for those individuals. Last week, the FBI picked up eight individuals with direct ties to ISIS that were in our country.

That in the last two years had crossed our southern border, had blended in with the rest of the folks who requested asylum, requested asylum, and then disappeared into our country. Thankfully, our FBI was able to pick up that these eight individuals were in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia preparing to be able to carry out acts of violence in our country. We’re grateful for the work of the FBI to be able to do that. But why aren’t we filtering these individuals at the border? We’re not evaluating criminal history even in the country they’re coming from. How do I know that? I know that because I work with DHS, and I’m fully aware of what their process is. We fingerprint individuals and we see if they are on the terror watch list—that is, we know them, we’ve been tracking them internationally—or if they’re on the Interpol international criminal list. But if they’re on a list in their own country, we don’t know that. 

Last week, Victor Antonio Martinez was picked up in my state of Tulsa, Oklahoma, sitting in a sports bar in Tulsa, where we he had left out from Maryland after murdering Rachel Morin, a mother of five. Now, he had fled to Maryland because he’d carried out acts of violence in Los Angeles, in a violent home invasion in Los Angeles. So he carried out an act of violence in Los Angeles, went to Maryland, murdered a mom there, then was headed to Tulsa. What do you think was about to happen in Tulsa? Oh, by the way, did I mention he fled from El Salvador because he murdered someone in El Salvador? So he fled El Salvador, came to our southern border, requested asylum, came into the United States, attacked a family in Los Angeles, murdered a mom in Maryland, and then was arrested in my state of Tulsa.

Please don’t tell my folks in Tulsa there’s nothing to worry about on legal immigration—[that] this is all going fine at the border. We don’t believe it because a violent multi-person murderer was on a national crime spree and my state was next before he was picked up and arrested. Now extradited back to Maryland for the crime there. 

In New York earlier this year, Raul Castro Mata from Venezuela shot at two New York police officers. He’s one of those folks from Venezuela that had come across asking for asylum. Earlier this month in Texas, illegal immigrant was arrested when he’d broken into a private business and committed a pretty large robbery there. In Florida, a SWAT team got into a shootout with an illegal alien who had killed a police officer just a few months ago. In Washington State an illegal alien from Mexico, was driving. He killed a Washington State police officer. The car was going 107 miles an hour. He was under the influence of marijuana at the time.

Listen, I’m fully aware that not everyone that crosses the border is going to carry out actual criminal activity. I’m fully aware of that. All I’m doing is asking a simple question: are we checking criminal history at the border for the thousands of people that are coming across the border? And the answer is no. For the eight people that were picked up last week that were ISIS terrorists connected, those eight are individuals that were listed as Special Interest Aliens. They’re eight of the 53,000 Special Interest Aliens that have entered our country this year across the southern border.

Oh, and if you think that number is big—last year, the number was 70,000 Special Interest Aliens were released into our country last year. These are individuals that this DHS has declared at the border a potential national security risk. Yet instead of detaining them, the vast majority of them have been released on their own recognizance around the country somewhere.

This body knows full well, I’m willing to work with anyone on either side of the aisle to be able to solve this issue. Between now and the election, we’re going to have another million and a half people illegally cross into our country—between now and the end of the year.

We’ve had 10 million people illegally cross in the last three-and-a-half years. 10 million. If we don’t stop this every day, we have folks that are coming in to find work, to connect with families and folks that are also coming in to commit criminal acts. They’re not fleeing from poverty. They’re fleeing from the law in their own country, and they’re carrying out acts of violence in ours. And when we can’t tell the difference between the two, why are we defaulting to open rather than defaulting to closed? Why are we literally telling the people in my state, that guy sitting next to you at the sports bar, we didn’t know if he was a criminal or not so we just let him in. We didn’t know if he’d committed murder in his own country, so we just let him in. Why are we doing that? Why is that happening today on our southern border? And what are we going to do to stop it? I’m going to continue to come to this floor to bring this up, because it’s not getting better.

The executive action the President took two weeks ago to declare they’re going to put new limits in place, everybody here should check the facts on it. We have the same number of crossings yesterday that we had four weeks ago, before that executive action went into place. That executive action hasn’t changed the numbers. What has changed is the way they’re counting the numbers. They’re now not including in the count the people who come to the port of entry who are not legally present. They’re now not being included. So the numbers look smaller but look at the asterisk in the fine print of who’s now no longer being counted in the publicly released numbers. The numbers haven’t changed the way they’re publishing, the numbers have changed.

And then this week, the President announced a new amnesty program for folks here in the country. That is now his 95th executive action, announcing to the world that if you get across our border, you can stay. It’s inviting people to be able to come into our country illegally. That’s the wrong message to the world, and it’s a message that we need to address. And we shouldn’t just wait around until it gets better on its own.