Officials warn more trouble is brewing at the Southern border, not because of any sort of migrant surge in the immediate aftermath of Title 42 ending, but rather due to “business as usual.”
The normal influx of people at the southern U.S. border is creating an unsustainable strain on not only border agents, but the entire U.S. Immigration system.
On Tuesday, members of the House Judiciary Committee met to once again examine the Biden Administration’s immigration policies and management of the southern border. Republicans call the situation there a threat to national security.
“More than 1.5 million known illegal gotaways have successfully crossed the Southwest border undetected. These include gang members, drug dealers, and individuals on the terrorist watch list, that is not a secure border, that is not a closed border,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
“Please remember, the border is simply a transit location, it is not a destination. These people, and these things, are going to every city, town, and state across this nation,” testified Retired U.S. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott.
Lawmakers also heard testimony from Tammy Nobles. Last year police arrested an alleged MS-13 gang member for raping and killing her 20-year-old daughter Kayla. The 16-year-old suspect had been apprehended for illegally crossing into the U.S. and was then allowed to go live with his aunt in Maryland.
“When he was arrested for Kayla’s murder, he laughed and smirked. For me, this is not a political issue. This is a safety issue for everyone living in the United States. This could have been anyone’s daughter,” Nobles said.
She says she’s sharing the nightmare her family experienced because nothing will change if people don’t talk about the problem.
“The U.S. government has to secure our border. We need to properly vet all border crossers. The government could have placed a phone call to authorities in El Salvador and found out that he was a gang member but they didn’t. If we had stricter border policies, my daughter would still be alive today,” Nobles said.
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Meanwhile, two Hispanic lawmakers introduced a rare bipartisan immigration reform bill Tuesday.
“This bill represents a breakthrough. A true breakthrough and a compromise,” said Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX).
The legislation details a 12-year path to citizenship for immigrants in the U.S. illegally, it would provide funding for more Border Patrol agents, and proposes changes to streamline the asylum system.
“We’re going to treat you with humanitarian methods, but you’re not going to be able to game the system anymore. No gaming the asylum system, no more hiding somewhere. We’re going to treat you well. We’re going to determine your case in two months,” said Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL).
It’s been 12 years since Congress seriously addressed the immigration system, and despite the bipartisan nature of this bill, it’s unlikely to make it very far. The Republican-controlled House vows not to take up any immigration legislation besides bills aimed at securing the southern border.