By Rep. Gus Bilirakis
When I was in my district last week, I met with hundreds of constituents who made it quite clear that the number one issue they are concerned with is securing our border. Last week, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced 302,034 illegal immigrant encounters at our Southern Border in December - the highest month in American history. CBP also arrested 19 people on the FBI terror watchlist in December – bringing the total number to 331 since President Biden took office. God only knows how many bad actors illegally entered the country without encountering border officials.
Over the weekend, President Biden falsely claimed that he now needs Congress to act to give him the authority to take control over the southern border and he endorsed the watered-down agreement currently being considered in the Senate. Let me be perfectly clear – President Biden has the authority to close the border today – he can simply direct his staff to enforce the rule of law and reverse the 64 Executive Actions he has taken to worsen the border crisis since being sworn into office. The Immigration and Nationality Act, coupled with recent Supreme Court precedent, give President Biden ‘ample authority’ to ‘suspend the entry of all aliens and/or to impose restrictions on those entering as aliens.
The truth is President Biden and his Administration’s actions have revealed that he has no real intention of addressing the crisis at the border. If he did, he could have taken immediate action. This is why my colleagues and I passed HR 2 and why we are determined to use the power of the purse to secure many of the provisions of HR 2 during budget negotiations. It is also why I support impeachment of DHS Secretary Mayorkas.
Our national security is at stake – and this urgent matter warrants attention now! I implore the President stop talking and start acting before existential harm is done to our sovereignty. However, if he continues to fail to act, I will use every single tool at my disposal to force him to implement the critical border security measures contained in HR 2 - including:
- Forcing construction restart of the border wall.
- Deploying technology to the Southern and Northern borders.
- Increasing the number of Border Patrol agents and including bonus pay incentives.
- Requiring transparency regarding illegal crossings from the Department of Homeland Security.
- Strengthening current laws to protect unaccompanied children from human trafficking.
- Ending catch and release.
- Ending abuse of executive immigration authority,
- Strengthening and streamlining the asylum process.
My constituents and millions of Americans throughout the country are counting on us to do the right thing and enact meaningful border security reform. They know that if we are not safe, nothing else matters. Any action short of securing our border leaves our nation in peril and our citizens in jeopardy.
Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis
Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis is a Republican representing Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes all of Pasco and northern parts of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties. He was first elected to Congress on November 7, 2006. Gus serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee. He is the Ranking Member of Consumer Protection & Commerce Subcommittee and a Member of the Health Subcommittee and Communications and Technology Subcommittee.