October 27, 2023

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: Senate Solutions to Secure Our Southern Border

October 27, 2023

We are living in the worst border crisis on record. It is a humanitarian and security crisis. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported yet another record with 269,735 encounters at the southern border last month. There have now been over 8 million encounters with individuals at the border since Joe Biden became President. To put it in perspective, that’s more encounters in less than three years than the 12 years while both Donald Trump and Barack Obama were president combined. Unfortunately, that number doesn’t even include the over 1.7 million known gotaways – individuals CBP saw but were unable to apprehend – during the Biden administration.

Last month, border officials arrested 18 people on the FBI’s terror watchlist. The total of people on the watchlist encountered at the border this year is now 172. Those 172 encounters not only smashed the previous record of 98, set last year, but is larger than the number of such encounters the previous six fiscal years combined. This number used to be in the single digits every year. 

This week, I visited the border with a group of Senators led by Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas to get an update on the crisis. I also unveiled a comprehensive package of Senate solutions to secure the border. These solutions attack Biden’s border security failures head on – from building the wall to stopping sanctuary cities policies in liberal states and cities to going after cartels and reforming our broken asylum process.

My Ensure Uniform Border Inspection Practices Act, introduced with Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, would require annual comprehensive reviews of how people and fentanyl are being transported across ports of entry. These reviews would identify areas where the implementation of inspection practices is weak and help us hold accountable those responsible for failures.

Further, this week I re-affirmed my support for 10 additional pieces of legislation to address the illegal immigration crisis and enforce existing laws. One major priority is the Secure the Border Act. The bill would tighten asylum standards, resume construction of the border wall, and criminalize visa overstays. In addition, it would increase the number of Border Patrol Agents and crack down on entities assisting illegal immigrants. I’m also supporting the Stopping Border Surges Act to close immigration loopholes, eliminate incentives for sending children to the border, and disrupt the power of human traffickers and cartels.

I’m working to stop dangerous sanctuary cities and attack the income streams of those who traffic deadly drugs like fentanyl. One of the bills gives the Department of Homeland Security powers similar to those under Title 42 to combat the fentanyl-related health emergency. We also need to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances as Schedule 1 drugs and make the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death punishable by federal felony charges. 

The Biden administration’s failed policies created this crisis. Only smarter, more effective policies will guide us out of it. I promised Nebraskans I would fight to secure the border in the Senate. Each of the bills I’m supporting will make our state and country safer. I will fight tirelessly to get illegal immigration and the border crisis under control.

My team and I are here to serve you. Contact us anytime by phone at 202-224-4224 or on my website at www.ricketts.senate.gov/contact. I am honored to serve our great state and will continue to work to protect the Good Life from Washington overreach.