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Lankford Challenges President Biden to “Step Up and Do His Job,” Calls Out Admin’s Deliberate Decisions to Open Border

CLICK HERE to view the floor speech on YouTube.

CLICK HERE to view the floor speech on Rumble. 

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) delivered a floor speech challenging President Biden to “step up and do his job” following the deliberate decisions from the Biden Administration to make the southern border less secure. Lankford serves as the lead Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management.

Lankford joined Newsmax’s Wake Up America today to call out the Biden Administration’s 94 executive actions to weaken the southern border, and ahead of the release of the Executive Order yesterday, he shared a Facebook Live video calling on the Biden Administration to secure the wide-open southern border. Last month, Lankford pushed back on the Senate Democrats’ partisan push on the border security package. He called attention to the growing national security crisis and urged his colleagues to prioritize securing the border instead of pushing political messaging.


The President of the United States is today using clips of my speech on the floor of the Senate in his campaign ads talking about border security and immigration. Well, I would encourage him to use clips of this speech today instead, because President Biden created the problem at the border right now.

That’s not some theory. That’s not some political statement. That’s fact. And I can compare that to the two previous presidents who operated under the exact same law as President Biden is operating under now. We have 2.5 million people plus illegally crossing our southern border this year. Under President Obama we had half-a-million. There’s no difference in the law between President Obama, President Trump, and President Biden. The only difference is the executive that’s actually overseeing that law’s prosecution. That’s the only difference.

So why would we have half-a-million people illegally crossing the border under President Obama and 2.5 million people under President Biden? It is the executive and how they are carrying out the law.

Now, I’ve been very clear. That last half-a-million is Congress’s responsibility. We have a responsibility to change the definition of asylum, to change how the enforcement is done, increase the number of agents that are there, take away a lot of the appeals that are frivolous, and we all know it, to be able to allow people that qualify for asylum to get into the country, and people that do not get turned around so they can go through a legal pathway, not through an illegal pathway. That’s Congress’s responsibility. That last half-a-million. Those are changes in law we have got to get done, and I’ve been very outspoken on that. And will continue to get outspoken on that because we have not done our job here.

But the other 2 million people that are illegally crossing this year, last year, the year before that—that’s not on Congress. That’s on the President of the United States, because he created this. Why would I say that? Day one of this presidency, he walked in with an Executive Order day one and announced to the world, ‘We are no longer going to do a border wall construction. We’re going to stop border wall construction.’ Day one, this President announced that he’s no longer going to do the Executive Order that had been put in place under President Trump to ensure that there was a meaningful application of Border Patrol laws and immigration regulations. Literally, he took those regs and set them aside and said, ‘We’re not going to do that.’ Day one he announced a 100-day moratorium on deportations and on enforcement and then continued to be able to extend it out from there.

This wasn’t day one, but it was a week and a half later, DHS implemented a new policy saying that ‘We’re going to change the way we do removals of people that are illegally present in the country.’ The next day after that, he changed the way asylum processing is done at the border and removed what was called the Remain in Mexico program. That is something the Supreme Court actually came back and said, ‘You can’t just remove that, you have to re-implement that.’ So the Supreme Court actually required that to be implemented. This President put it in the mechanics to do it, but is not actually doing it. So as Americans were paying hundreds of millions of dollars to have the facility and the personnel actually there to fulfill what the Court has required them to do, but they’re not actually doing what’s called the MPP—the Remain in Mexico program. That is a decision that they made.

A week after that, in February of 2021, Antony Blinken announced that he was terminating the agreements with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador so that they would then enforce their borders more readily in that agreement that we have made with them, with the State Department, the State Department terminated that to be able to open up the pathways for more folks to go.

I could keep going on and on and on. You see, what’s happening now is not happenstance. It was a deliberate decision made in 2021 to open our borders to ‘not look so mean.’ But what has actually occurred is more than 10 million people have crossed our border illegally and the Administration has announced just in the last couple of weeks, 55,000 people have crossed just this year, that they designated as a ‘Special Interest Migrant.’ Their definition— 55,000 people.

Those individuals are coming from areas that they have defined as a terror risk. Those 55,000 individuals have all been labeled by this Administration as a potential risk to national security—55,000 in just the last year. You know what’s happened to those? The vast majority of them are in the United States right now because they were released by this Administration.

This is a border crisis of this Administration’s creation. They created this crisis. While Congress has a responsibility to do the things that we need to do, this Administration created this crisis with the decisions they made in Homeland Security, they made in the State Department, and they made at the Department of Justice.

Individuals that crossed the border multiple times—that is a felony in American law. Ask the Department of Justice how many of those folks have been prosecuted as a felony in the last three years? I dare you, ask them, and you’ll find out it’s zero. They’ve just stopped prosecutions. They’ve announced to the world, ‘We’re no longer enforcing American law.’ The world is taking the message, and they’re coming because we’re the United States of America. We’re the greatest country in the world. But, we’re also the top terrorism threat in the world, because people come here to do us harm, because they hate our freedom and who we are. We are not doing the most basic security that every nation does, and that is protect our border.

So the President announced an executive action this week, an executive action that he literally pulled from a section of a bipartisan bill that we worked on. But it was literally the bolt on section on the end of it. The heart of the bill was not what you do after thousands of people are crossing the border. The heart of the bill is what you do for the first person that illegally crosses. The bill was set up to say the very first person that illegally crosses, they are picked up at the border, they’re screened quickly, then they’re deported quickly. We changed the screening process. We changed the appeals process. We changed all the standards. We rapidly affected the first person. This Administration’s announced a new initiative that they’re going to do, not for the first person that illegally crosses, but for somewhere around the four thousandth.

Now, why do I say, 4,000 when they’ve announced 2,500? Well, you’ve got to read the fine print. They’ve said after 2,500 people come, then we’re going to add some new authorities, but the fine print is pretty important. They exclude the about 1,600 people a day they’re currently letting in at ports of entry using what they call the CBP One App. They’re giving those folks parole. They’ve not gone through any legal process, they’re just declaring them as legal when they come through. So they’re not including those folks that are illegally coming in the border under a parole program that they have created. That program could end tomorrow, illegal immigration would drop by 1,600 people tomorrow if they turned off the program they turned on.

They’re also not including what’s called the Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua program. There’s 1,000 people a day that are coming into that program. They’ve just excluded them as well from their 2,500 number. They’re excluding anyone who is an unaccompanied minor. They’re excluding them. And they’ve also list out a whole bunch of others—if they have a health issue, others. So this 2,500 number, I’ve had several folks say, well, that’s half of what y’all had proposed in your bill—it’s not. You’ve got to read the fine print of what’s actually in the Executive Order.

What could this Administration do? Pretty straightforward, here’s a few things they could do right now. They could—right now—they could actually start putting pressure on recalcitrant countries through the State Department to take back individuals back into their own country. The State Department has stopped putting pressure on recalcitrant countries. They could do that today. The law today allows the Administration to start doing direct hire for Border Patrol, and for ICE. They’re not using that authority they’re just saying we can’t hire enough agents. They have direct hire authority they’re choosing not to use. Right now, this Administration could speed up the way they handle all the appeals process, through all these frivolous regulations and some of the Executive Orders, they had to literally take away those things and make it more difficult to actually fight through the appeals. They could put those back in today.

Today, they could end the Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela Program, that they created to allow folks to be able to come in in greater number from those four countries. They started that program, they could end that today. They could end the catch and release that they have created at the southern border. They could end that today. They started it, they could turn that off on that. They could restart the cooperative agreements with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to stop the flow of migrants coming from Central America up, as they’re coming through those areas. They could do that today. They could reinstate the Remain in Mexico Program. All the structure is there, the Court required them to have it. They could actually use it, and that would make a huge difference today. They could actually start prosecuting border crossing cases from start to finish. What do I mean by that? This Administration is starting the process of prosecuting individuals, but halfway through, they’re just dropping the case. Well, it doesn’t take long for the word to get out to people that illegally cross that, even if you start the prosecution, this Administration will drop it and not finish it. They text family members back home and say ‘come’ and the next group actually comes from there.

This Administration is currently finding new ways to allow people to come in. And states like Oklahoma, my state, is currently being prosecuted by the Department of Justice because we’ve passed laws in our state to put greater requirements on people that are illegally present in the state, and have committed criminal acts. It used to be, under previous Administration, if someone was illegally present and they committed a criminal act, they were more active to remove those. Right now, the Department of Justice is actually, putting pressure on my state of Oklahoma for pressuring people that are illegally present and also have committed a criminal act. The Department of Justice could actually enforce our Southern Border, rather than actually go after states that are trying to actually enforce the law in our own states.

And quite frankly, one of the things this Administration could do today is to vet people coming across our border better, because they’re currently not coordinating all of the data points that we have for foreign individuals. They’re not checking against all of those systems when people are crossing our border illegally.

This Administration and this President needs to stop saying there’s nothing he can do until Congress acts. Congress does need to act, but there’s a lot he could do that would make a huge difference. And it’s not just my opinion, I can prove it with fact. Just compare this Democrat President and his numbers of illegal crossings against the last Democrat President and his number of illegal crossings. Biden—2.5 million a year. Obama—half-a-million a year. So I understand this President doesn’t want to enforce what President Trump did, though that was more effective than what President Obama did. But he should do at least what President Obama did.

Stop playing politics with this on all sides. Stop running a speech that I’ve given on this floor for his campaign purposes, unless he wants to run this speech. And to say this President needs to step up and do his job. With that, I yield the floor.