Lankford Uncovers Biden’s Attempt to Incentivize More Illegal Immigration in Supplemental Funding Bill
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on YouTube.
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks on Rumble.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today spoke on the Senate floor about his concerns with the White House’s proposal for supplemental funding that currently includes funding for Ukraine, funding for natural disasters around the country, and funding for some very concerning changes in border security and immigration policies from the Biden Administration. With more than 6 million people crossing our southern border in the three years under President Biden, Lankford continued to take the Administration to task for their policies that are clearly incentivizing illegal immigration
Yesterday, Lankford co-led a Senate Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management hearing to continue to push Biden Administration officials on their broken immigration policies that are facilitating illegal immigration. The hearing gave Lankford an opportunity to press Administration officials on how they plan to secure the border and prevent those who pose national security risks from entering the country.
Lankford continues to push for bipartisan, common-sense solutions to secure the border, including efforts to strengthen Border Patrol and stop human and drug trafficking. Lankford visited the US-Mexico border in Nogales, Arizona earlier this year and recently exposed DHS for cutting down border wall materials.
Many Americans may not know and many in the Senate chamber may not know that this week we actually passed a milestone on immigration in the United States. This week, less than three years into President Biden’s term, we’ve now had more people illegally cross the border in the less than three years under the Biden Administration that we had under the eight years of the Obama Administration and the four years of the Trump Administration.
If you count both terms of the Obama Administration and the Trump Administration, that was six million people that illegally crossed the border. Under this President, in less than three, not 12, in less than three, we’ve had more than 6 million people illegally cross the border.
We had a hearing this week with DHS folks to talk about what is going on. We met not with the policymakers because the policymakers won’t meet with us. We met with the folks that are on the line to say what is the process? How are things actually working? What steps are actually taken and then what happens from here?
Also had the opportunity to be able to look at some of the budget issues and other things coming up, which I’ll explain later. But I want to be able to walk through where we are because since the expiration of Title 42 in the days that followed that in May, the Administration announced, look, the numbers are dramatically down and for a month the numbers were down some. But then they popped right back up, so much so that the Washington Post last week had a headline that read, ‘Highest Number of Illegal Family Crossings in the History of the Country was in August of This Year.’
Most folks just turned away and they heard the Administration say, ‘Look, the numbers went down,’ so they looked way from what’s happening at the border. But our numbers are at the highest ever and the complication of how they’re being treated is the highest ever.
So let me walk through some of the things that came up in the hearing because when you cross the border, there are lots of options and the options are designed by the Department of Homeland Security and by the White house, not to deter people from crossing the border but to facilitate a more rapid crossing. So, there’s multiple processes that have been set up that are entirely new.
Let me give you one, if you come to a port of entry, before you get to a port of entry, you can actually check in ahead of time to make your process of checking in faster. It is an app that you can get on your phone called the CBP One app. If you download where you’re from, then when you get to the border, you’ll be expedited through the process at the port of entry and then released into the country.
If you are one of those folks that have filled out the app and have gone through, you’ll be quickly screened—according to the testimony that we heard yesterday—90 percent of those folks are released almost immediately into the country, and within 30 days they have a work permit. Now, these are not folks that have applied for a visa. These are not folks that have gone through the H1B or H2B or any of those processes. These are not folks that have actually gone through the formal process of getting a work permit. These are folks that have come from all over the world, have filled out an app right before they came across the border, and then they were facilitated right into the country. And if you think these are folks that are coming in from Guatemala and Honduras and Mexico, more than 150 countries have crossed the border this year. And I’ll walk through some of those numbers in just is a minute.
One option that you have to be quickly expedited into the country without seeking prior approval is just to fill out the app ahead of time and then your paperwork is done and you’re across the border even faster when you get here.
Second option is, you actually don’t fill out the form. You just show up at the port of entry, and say ‘Oh I didn’t fill it out ahead of time.’ The response at that point is, ‘It’ll take you a little longer to process. Several hours longer to process, several hours more time to go through and fill the things out. You’ll still be released. You’ll still be given parole into the country. You’ll still get a work permit within 30 days to be in the country—not because you applied for a work permit early or went through the legal process, not because you’re any of the tens of thousands of people all over the world who want to work in the United States, so they legally approach the issue. These are folks that just cross at the port of entry either filling it out ahead of time or just filling it out when you get there, quickly expedited, unlimited numbers.
Third group. Third group are the folks that actually come before between the ports of entry. These are the folks that didn’t cross, these are the folks that came through the open desert or swam across the river in the Rio Grande. These are the folks that crossed, got into the country, some of them bolted and ran from Border Patrol, some of them turned themselves in. It kind of depends on where they are.
These individuals not between the ports of entry haven’t done anything ahead of time., they’re treated much different. These individuals are actually picked up between the ports of entry, taken to a Border Patrol station where they process their paperwork. They fill out all the information, and then they release them into the country. But the consequence is, because they didn’t come to a port of entry, it’s going to take them two months to get a work permit, two months—not one month.
So, let me review. If you come at a port of entry, no matter who you are, no matter where you’re from, they’ll check and see if you’re on a terror watchlist. And if you’re not on a terror watchlist, they’re just going to allow you in. They’ll set up a court hearing, whether you cross between the ports of entry or whether you cross at the port of entry. They’ll set up a court hearing for you to be able to plead for asylum or to be able to ask for your patrol extension or whatever what may be, or what’s called a change of status.
Well let’s do some of the court hearing dates to be able to walk through where we are. If you come between the ports of entry and you ask for asylum as soon as you cross the border and you’re caught somewhere in the desert, and you say, ‘I want to plead for asylum. I have fear in my country,’ they’ll line up a hearing after you’re released into the country. And let’s say you want to go to New York City. You can go anywhere you want to. If you say, ‘I want to go to New York City, and that’s where I want to land.’ Over 100,000 people recently have asked to go to New York City,
. so they transfer. They go to New York City. Right now, they’ll set up the next hearing date for you. And let me look at the list here. The next hearing date for you to get a hearing on your asylum claim and your notice to appear is in October of 2032. October 2032. That’s the next open hearing today that they have available.
So, let me run this past us. Right now on our southern border as of this exact instant, some people are checking in. They’re getting parole, within three days they’re released to get into the country with a work permit. They’re traveling anywhere they want to in the country. We have no background for these individuals, and they’re told to check in at a hearing nine years from now.
Anybody want to guess how many folks are going to show up at that hearing nine years from now? I mentioned before, many of these individuals are not from Central America. In fact, just this year, just this year we’ve had 15,000 people that have illegally crossed the border, many in the open desert area from China.
When I talk to the folks from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics back home, they tell me most of the criminal organizations that are growing illegal marijuana and facilitating drug trafficking in my state are Chinese nationals that have illegally crossed the border that are partnering with Mexican cartels and Chinese criminal organizations to be able to do business and drug trafficking in my state. Those folks crossed between ports of entry, were checked in at a Border Patrol station, and waved into my country, and they’re now running criminal operations in my state—15,000 Chinese nationals just this year.
We’re right at 10,000 citizens of Mauritania that have illegally crossed our border this year—that we know of. Bonus points to anyone in this room that can point out Mauritania without looking at a map right now—10,000 that have come in.
By the way, Mauritania is a fast-growing area in West Africa where Al Qaeda is quickly accelerating in that area. We have 10,000 individuals that are from Mauritania came from that country just this year across the southern border. We have exactly no criminal information exchange with Mauritania. We have know idea of these individuals, if they committed crimes in their own country, why they left. We have no information about them, in an area that is literally a hotbed for Al Qaeda, we have facilitated through a process set up by this White House, 10,000 individuals into our country.
Media reported this week that an ISIS-affiliate has been working with cartels in Mexico to facilitate citizens of Uzbekistan into our country across the border from Mexico into our country.
Those individuals have crossed into our country, and under this process, were released, and we currently don’t know where they are. Now, can someone explain to me why an ISIS-affiliate is working with Uzbek citizens to be able to traffic them across our southern border into the United States? And under the policy of this Administration, they are being released into this country unsupervised. Yesterday in the hearing, I asked several simple questions because I’ve heard over and over again, individuals that are being released into the country, some of them are giving what is called alternative to detention. That is a phone that’s not really a phone. It is a device, it’s a GPS device, that is able to track their whereabouts, it is great to say that we have a tracking device on these individuals released into the country, except when I followed up with a question saying, how long until their hearing, somewhere between five and 10 years. How long do they have the tracking device? And the answer is 130 days.
They’re tracked for the first 130 days, and then they turn that in, and after that, we have no idea where they are. We have no idea what they’re doing. But we gave them a work permit, and we released them into the country and they’re anywhere they want to go at this point. Interestingly enough, if you’re an individual right now anywhere in the world and you want to work in the greatest country in the world, that is the United States, and you’ve got a family member here or whatever it may be and they can line up a job for you and you’re going to apply for one of our work visas. If you go through the process of applying for a work visa, it will take you months to years to get it or you could just cross the border in the desert, across the river, at a port of entry or maybe fill out a form ahead of time, and you will have unlimited work permits immediately. Within 30 to 60 days, you will be given that and you can land anywhere with you want to in the United States, unchecked, unfettered, no background check, no criminal check for any individual.
I am a huge proponent for legal immigration. Our nation was built on legal immigration. It is one of the moments that I love to do as a United States Senator, and that’s go to naturalization ceremonies and be a part of watching individuals literally raise their right hand, denounce the country they were born in and become a citizen of the United States. It’s an absolutely beautiful experience to watch new Americans be born right in front of you. As I traveled around my state in August, not a single person said to me, not one, that they’re opposed to legal immigration. But I had person after person of all political perspectives, right, left, center, that said to me this makes them nervous. Six million people in less than three years that we know almost nothing about them are currently in our country going anywhere they want to, doing whatever they want to because this Administration is not focused on deterring people from coming into the country illegally. They’re focused on speeding up the process of people coming into the country illegally. This needs to stop.
This body has to have a serious conversation about defining asylum because this Administration is abusing the term asylum. They’re making it mean something no one’s ever meant it mean. We need to clarify what the word asylum means so this Administration can’t abuse that word asylum and no future Administration can. We need to increase the number of legal visas that we have as a nation so that people who want to work can come work in this country, can come work in this nation, can be a part of our economy, but we know who they are and they have been vetted. It is very different than this process [points to chart].
People in this room know that many of the folks who cross the border show up with no paperwork at all—at all. In fact, it’s very common for Chinese citizens, when they show up, they show up a photo copy of a passport, not the actual passport, they show up with a photo copy of the passport and say this is me. And we have no idea if that’s actually their passport photo, their details, how that photo copy has been doctored. Other folks show up with no birth certificate, no passport, no ID of any type. They say a name and country and they were told by the Department of Homeland Security just write down your name, write down the country they tell you, processes them into the country, hand them this new ID and they can travel anywhere in the country they want to go. We have lost our mind.
That’s not what it’s supposed to be like to do immigration in the United States.
So, what do we need to do about it? Fix the definition of asylum. I need colleagues on both sides of the aisle to actually talk to this Administration and to say, why is the Democrat Party becoming the party of illegal activity? This needs to be fixed… And…, we’ve got to fix a budget request. In the next few weeks we’re going to be dealing with a continuing resolution that will extend the budget to make sure the government stays open. I don’t like government shutdowns, in fact, I have a nonpartisan bill, many members of this party are on it right now that ends government shutdowns. Government shutdowns do not help us as a nation. I want to see an end to a government shutdown…and there is a practical, nonpartisan way to do that that Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are all on that bill right now. I’ll talk about that sometime next week.
There’s been a request from the White House, in the meantime, to say extend this, also add this little piece giving us flexibility on border funding, and I want to just read this to you the request that the White House has made for the border. They made this request. They want ‘flexibility for operations and support in this and any other act so that they can use funds that community-based residential facilities,’ (which they don’t define) ‘to provide services and support to refugees, asylum seekers, or other migrants, including,’… They want to allow this money to go to “refugees, asylum seekers, and others including the provision of medical care, treatment, legal orientation, programming, access to counsel, educational services, repatriation planning, counseling, referral for social services, and other related programs.”
What does this mean? They are asking to take DHS funds and for the first time ever to be able to give legal counsel to every person that crosses the border. They also want to give housing to every person who crosses the border that are community-based residential facilities, to be able provide housing and medical care for every person that crosses the border. We provide emergency medical care, we are a humanitarian nation, but this is open-ended for housing, open-ended for medical care, open-ended for occasional care, and open educational care and open-ended for legal counsel. This is a huge shift this Administration is looking for. They’re not only looking for a way to facilitate more people to come in. They are looking for flexibility to take DHS dollars, which were allocated to prevent people from illegally crossing the border to actually use those instead to help those who have actually illegally crossed the border to have long-term medical care, long-term educational issues, on and on and on. This is entirely new. This is not one just to slip into a bill. This is a huge change.
I’m not opposed to immigration. I’m opposed to illegal crossings. And I’m opposed to whatever it takes to move people fast across the border to get into the interior of the country. That’s not what we’re supposed to do. For our national security reasons, for the state of our economy, let’s do immigration right. Let’s honor what we’ve been as a nation and continue to welcome people from all over the world, but to actually do it the legal way.