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Lankford Votes ‘No’ on Dems Attempt to Use the Border as Political Prop

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) spoke on the Senate floor ahead of a vote on the Senate Democrats’ partisan push on the border security package. The bill failed on a vote of 43-50. Lankford called attention to the growing national security crisis amid the 1,520,502 million illegal crossings in 2024 and urged his colleagues to prioritize securing the border instead of pushing political messaging.

Lankford serves as the 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. Lankford delivered a floor speech when Democrats announced plans to vote on the border package again and to call out President Biden’s refusal to use executive authority to address the national security crisis he created at the US-Mexico border.


Three Senators started about eight months ago, now, working to try to get some solutions on border security. It’s for obvious reasons, because we have record high numbers over and over and over again at our southern border. We had a record high number in October, record high number in November, record high number in December. In fact, December had the…highest number of illegal crossings ever in the history of the country in a single day.

Yesterday, we had about 5,200 people that illegally crossed… In fact, almost every day this year we’ve had more than 5,000 people illegally crossing day after day after day. This is a very big issue that the American people want solved. It is a frustrating issue that we’ve not been able to get a resolution on. It is an issue that people have been frustrated with President Biden because President Biden has not enforced the border the same way President Trump did, or the same way President Obama did.

To be clear, this year, we will have 2.5 million people illegally crossed the border with the same law in place under President Obama, we had half-a-million people that illegally crossed that year. And as I’ve raised over and over again with this Administration, if they would just enforce the border the same way President Obama did, things would be very different. But they’ve chosen not to. They’ve chosen not to enforce it the same way President Trump did. And instead, we have absolutely been overrun with people from literally all over the world. 

To put this in perspective, in the last three months, we’ve had more people illegally cross than any full year under President Obama.

They need to do what they can do, but Congress needs to do what we can do. We’ve got to change the definition of asylum. We’ve got to change the appeal process. We’ve got to be able to speed up the process. We’ve got to provide more clarity so that we don’t have people waiting around eight years for a hearing.

We can’t just release people at the border as what has happened day after day after day for years now. We can’t have a brand new parole program that the Biden Administration literally invented, that no other president has ever used to release thousands of people a day. We can’t have that. We need to solve this in the Administration; we need to solve this in Congress. I wish that’s what we were doing today, but we’re not. 

When Senator Murphy and Senator Sinema and I started working on this months ago, we were working to solve it. We were not able to get that done.

But today is not a bill; today is a prop. Today is a political messaging exercise. Today is an opportunity to be able to have a vote that’s sitting out there so people can send fundraising emails out later tonight and say, look, I tried to do something when no work was actually done to try to get something done and completed and passed today.

In fact, I anticipate there’ll be fewer votes today than there were two months ago when this came up on both sides of the aisle. Because everyone sees this for what it is. It is not an effort to actually make law, it is an effort to do political messaging. That doesn’t help us as a country. We still have people that are illegally present here that need attention, and we’re not getting it.

Now, we can say Democrats can bring this bill up and say, look, we tried to do something well, so what? Republicans could do the same thing. We brought House Resolution 2 twice to this body that’s passed the House with a broad, sweeping piece of approval in the House to come over here to be able to change the way that actually asylum is done—the entire process. That’s been voted down twice on a strictly partisan vote. 

So, we can have this vote today and people can say, well, “Republicans vote against this, so it didn’t pass.” Republicans can say, “Democrats didn’t vote for HR2, so that didn’t pass.” That still doesn’t solve the problem. 

At the end of the day, the people in my state say, “There’s another 5,000 people that illegally cross the border, why aren’t we sitting down and resolving that?”

So, today I’m going to vote “no” on a bill that I think should pass, but there’s been no effort to really get this to pass. Let’s get us back to the table. Let’s actually resolve this issue as we need to get done. With that, I yield the floor.