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Biden's self-inflicted crisis

April 22, 2021

Biden's self-inflicted crisis
The Hill
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
April 22, 2021

87 days.

That’s how long it took for President Biden to acknowledge that our nation’s border situation is a “crisis.” But Americans have known this tragic fact for months.

Since Jan. 20, 2021, the newly-elected administration has done everything short of addressing this humanitarian tragedy. The president’s newfound acceptance is a little too late.

As Biden reversed and halted many immigration policies which largely have kept the border in-check, surge after surge of refugees began flooding towards America, with some even wearing Biden campaign shirts.

In March alone, more than 172,000 migrants were stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — the highest amount in over 20 years. When former President Barack Obama experienced 1,000 border encounters per day during his time in office, his Department of Homeland Security secretary said it was a “bad number.”

What would he say in 2021 as Team Biden is currently experiencing 5,500 individuals a day?

Even worse, this administration has been quick with excuses to criticize and blame the old guard for their own missteps. Let’s be clear: No one is to blame except President Biden and Vice President Harris. Even Democrats such as West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin have called this administration’s situation a “crisis” long before the leader of the free world admitted it this past weekend.

That is not to say the Trump administration’s days were without issues on the border, as well. But instead of our current state of ineptitude and silence, these issues were always met with action and visibility.

Contrary to the White House’s accusations, former President Trump instituted a strong immigration agenda to alleviate the stress at our border through the construction of a border wall, the "Remain in Mexico" policy, and asylum cooperative agreements with our Central American partners. Sadly, all of these policies were either reversed or halted altogether by the Biden administration at its inception.

A few years ago, I heard how drug cartels were exploiting outdated U.S. laws flying drugs across the border with drones and our CBP agents couldn’t do anything about it. As a result, I passed legislation giving DHS and DOJ certain authorities to take out the drones and protect our country.

When I traveled to the border to review our CBP’s progress, I saw firsthand the strenuous work these border patrol agents undergo each day securing our nation.

At the border is where I first envisioned my recently introduced legislation, the EXIT Act, after learning of the burdensome environmental regulations which needlessly delay and prevent illegal drug-smuggling tunnels from being filled in and destroyed. Through this bill, we can combat the almost 6,000 lbs of fentanyl which has crossed our border in this fiscal year alone (and that’s only the amount our brave CBP officials have seized).

Without my visit, I wouldn’t have been as aware of the difficulties in combating drug trafficking at our border as I am today. Now, I wonder how much Vice President Harris, who has been put in charge of handling this crisis, could learn from taking a single trip to see this catastrophe.

In the month since her appointment as border czar, she has traveled to North Carolina, California, Connecticut and Illinois — to name a few. But at the border? Nowhere to be found.

It is both frustrating and maddening to see such a blatant disregard for not only our hardworking CBP agents, but also our nation’s immigration system as a whole.

This crisis must end. The path starts with President Biden and Vice President Harris stepping up to the plate to address this catastrophe and seeing it firsthand.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Republican, represents Missouri's 4th District. She is a senior member of the House Armed Services and Agriculture committees.