Securing southern border still a political issue


Over the last 16 months, we have seen a steady deterioration in our border security as President Joe Biden’s disastrous policies have not only weakened our ability to stop illegal immigration but actually poured fuel on an already raging fire by encouraging millions of illegal immigrants to cross our border.
As Republican Leader of the House Budget Committee, I led a group of 12 members of Congress to the Rio Grande Valley to meet and tour with officials from Border Patrol, the state of Texas, and the City of McAllen, Texas, this past week. While there, I was taken aback when I saw the seemingly endless rows of rusted, steel border fencing stacked pile after pile, 20 feet high each on the ground. The steel was purchased by the federal government with your tax dollars to build President Trump’s border wall. However, because of President Biden’s decision to halt border wall construction, the steel – which cost hundreds of millions of dollars – has laid rusting on the ground while illegal immigrants and deadly drugs flow across the numerous gaps in the border wall at historically high rates.
On his first day in office, President Biden violated the Budget Control Act of 1974 when he illegally froze resources that Congress provided in a bipartisan government funding bill for the construction of President Trump’s border wall.
As a result, $350 million worth of border wall materials are sitting unused, and the costs of Biden’s failed immigration agenda continue to pile up. From illegal immigrant housing, transportation, processing, hygiene products and childcare items to cancelled border wall contracts, legal and settlement fees, and unused border wall materials, the crisis at our southern border is costing Americans tens of billions of dollars.
Securing the border is a national security issue. Officials I talked with described the significant challenges they face patrolling such a large area and shared that the massive increase in illegal border crossings is only making their job harder.
They told me that migrants from more than 174 different countries have been apprehended crossing our southern border alone. According to the Department of Homeland Security, since 2021 Border Patrol agents have had at least 131 encounters with migrants whose names are on the terror watch list. The federal government’s primary responsibility is to keep Americans safe. Unfortunately, President Biden’s disastrous immigration policies are making it easier for dangerous people to cross our border undetected.
President Biden’s reckless determination to get rid of President Trump’s Title 42 policy sounded the alarm bells with officials I met with. Title 42 is a Trump administration policy that gives border security personnel additional tools to stem the flow of illegal immigrants across the southern border.
At one illegal immigrant detainment facility we visited, Border Patrol officials told us that Title 42 allows them to deport at least half of the thousand or so occupants of that facility back to their home countries in Central America, but without Title 42, all would be released inside the United States. Unfortunately, reports indicate that there are already tens of thousands of people waiting in northern Mexico, ready to cross the border as soon as Title 42 is lifted.
Officials additionally told us that the real “Stay in Mexico” policy under President Trump - which held illegals seeking asylum on the other side of the border versus being released in the U.S. - was one of the most effective deterrents in curbing the incentives to cross into our nation illegally.
While my trip to the border was incredibly alarming, I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet with – and say thank you to – the brave Missouri members of the Army National Guard who were down there on deployment.
It was a highlight of my trip, and I’m very grateful for their sacrifice and service to our nation.
If l learned anything from my visit to the Rio Grande Valley it is that President Biden has no one but himself to blame for the crisis at the southern border.
If Washington Democrats have their way, they will let drug cartels, terrorists and human traffickers operate freely across an open southern border.
Missouri families are fed up with the administration’s disastrous handling of this crisis. As your voice in Congress, I will continue fighting to secure the border and will do everything in my power to protect families from President Biden’s radical agenda.
Congressman Jason Smith (R-Salem) represents Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District. He can be reached by email at


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