This week, I walked along the U.S.-Mexico border in Eagle Pass, Texas, a small town on the Rio Grande, and ground zero of President Joe Biden’s border crisis. One thing was clear: This administration has created an unprecedented national security and humanitarian crisis that jeopardizes the very fabric of our nation — and they don’t care.

Biden didn’t inherit the crisis at our border. He created it by rolling back successful Trump policies and refusing to enforce U.S. immigration laws. In his first 100 days, Biden took 94 executive actions on immigration, including halting border wall construction, ending the successful Remain in Mexico policy, dismantling border security, and more, resulting in 6.4 million illegal crossings since January 2021. That staggering number fails to include the over 1.7 million known “gotaways” who managed to evade U.S. Border Patrol agents. Because of Biden’s message to immigrants worldwide, people from over 150 countries, including Iran, Turkey and China, are flowing into every corner of the country.

I first visited the southern border back in 2021 and witnessed the disastrous impact of Biden’s open border policies firsthand. Our group met a 7-year-old girl with autism who had been separated from her family, trafficked by strangers and abandoned. She was crying inconsolably. Since 2021, over 100,000 kids just like her remain unaccounted for. Our open border guru, President Biden, and his border czar, Vice President Harris, must be held accountable for these tragedies.

This administration must also be taken to task for consistently shattering all the wrong records. In December 2023, 242,418 illegal migrants were encountered crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, marking the highest total ever for the month. U.S. Border Patrol agents have apprehended 312 people on the terrorist watchlist, more than the last six years combined.

Also breaking records are the cartels, who have enriched themselves to the tune of $13 billion a year by trafficking women, children and deadly fentanyl into our country. Over 100,000 Americans, predominantly between the ages of 18 and 48, have lost their lives to fentanyl, which is free-flowing across our porous border. We must take back operational control of our borders and put these evil cartels out of business.

Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, poses for a photo at the border in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. | The Office of Rep. Burgess Owens
Related
Rep. Burgess Owens calls border security ‘most important’ part of budget talks, as border crossings reach record high

Ahead of our visit, Biden, the would-be illusionist, was hard at work. Eagle Pass, which had been swamped with thousands the week prior, was eerily calm. It was like watching North Korea tidy up for the cameras or San Francisco while hosting Xi Jinping. The border crisis demands real action, not staged clean-ups. America needs truth, not illusions. 

Thankfully, we had a little glimpse of what the noble men and women of our U.S. Border Patrol face, with graphic pictures of dead children and babies floating in the Rio Grande. We heard of the collateral damage that is a result of the chaos and carnage occurring daily at this one sector of the U.S.-Mexico border. We are losing a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge, experience and lives through an overwhelming increase in resignations and suicides. For far too many, it is impossible to unsee what they witness daily.

Fortunately, the solution to Biden’s border crisis passed the House seven months ago. Unfortunately, the Democrat-controlled Senate refuses to bring it to the floor for a vote.

As Biden and his administration were gaslighting the American people and blaming “MAGA Republicans,” House Republicans put together the strongest and boldest border security package in history. Our Secure the Border Act of 2023 forces the Biden administration to finish the wall, end catch and release, increase the number of Border Patrol agents, halt the flow of deadly fentanyl, protect innocent children from human traffickers and put the safety of the American people first. The American people want a nation that’s safe, and they are sick and tired of inaction from Washington.

The state of our country’s borders has gone from chaos to catastrophe, and there is no time to waste. I urge the Senate to immediately pass HR2, send it to the president’s desk and stand up for the safety, security and sovereignty of our great nation.

Burgess Owens represents Utah’s 4th Congressional District.