Sen. Marsha Blackburn: Biden can end our border crisis. My plan will kick start the solution

My legislation, the Make the Migrant Protection Protocols Mandatory Act of 2021, would change the law and require border officials to apply the Protocols

During his first press conference as president, Joe Biden claimed that border officials were "sending back the vast majority of the families" arriving at our southern border. Unfortunately, as every outlet that covered the issue has since reported, Biden’s statement has proven false.

Before he took the oath of office, then-candidate Biden was on the campaign trail promising amnesty and open borders. Now, Biden’s refusal to enforce the law is allowing thousands of migrants to cross the border illegally every day, even as overworked Customs and Border Patrol agents collect, transport, and process thousands more. Illegal entrants are coming from across the globe.

Our CBP has apprehended people from 55 different countries this year; this group includes known terrorists, a convicted murderer, and a group of Chinese scientists. Sadly, these are the ones we know of—thousands more got away.

To make matters worse, the migrants themselves are very well aware of loopholes in our newly-gutted border policies.

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"I had to use him like a passport to get here," Honduran migrant Edgar Mejia told the Associated Press as he crossed into Brownsville, Texas this April with his 3-year-old son. "I am here because of him."

Mejia paid a smuggler $6,000 to get him from Honduras, across Mexico, and to the U.S. border. There, Mejia did not need to evade border agents to gain access to our country. He simply turned himself in. President Biden’s open borders policies did the rest. 

It didn’t have to be this way. Our southern border was largely secure under President Trump until 2018, when Mexican President López Obrador signaled a soft approach toward migrant caravans. The mad rush that followed overwhelmed border officials and stretched the courts past the breaking point.

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President Trump solved this problem in part by creating the Migrant Protection Protocols, which ended the failed policies of "catch and release" and restored order to processing procedures. 

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The Protocols directed CBP officers to return Central American migrants to Mexico to await adjudication of their asylum claims. To stave off the impending humanitarian crisis, Trump also persuaded Mexican officials to provide aid.

The MPP program was a success because, with the asylum loophole closed, migrants no longer expected to freely enter the U.S. When Biden took office, however, he stopped following the Protocols. 

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The results were catastrophic. Our overburdened CBP officers are now reporting that nearly 1,000 migrants enter the country without apprehension every day. Fentanyl and other deadly drugs flow freely through gaps in the unfinished border wall. 

Sex trafficking has outpaced drugs as the number one source of cartel revenue, and coyotes charge migrants like Mejia thousands of dollars for an escort from Central America to the border.

Fortunately, President Biden has all the tools he needs to end this border security crisis. My legislation, the Make the Migrant Protection Protocols Mandatory Act of 2021, would change the law and require border officials to apply the Protocols. All the president has to do is sign on the dotted line and put power back in the hands of CBP.

When I speak to folks back home in Tennessee, they are baffled by the administration’s refusal to secure the border. The knowledge that most migrants taking advantage of these loopholes will simply disappear into overcrowded classrooms and jobs in the labor sector has led to an increased sense of uncertainty in small town America—and still, Biden is nowhere to be found. 

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One thing remains clear: we cannot achieve compromise on this issue while the White House continues to be dishonest about the chaos they have caused. 

If undoing Trump’s legacy was the sole benchmark of success for Biden’s first 100 days in office, then consider the tragedy unfolding along our southern border as the White House’s crowning achievement thus far.   

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