January 12, 2024

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: The Human Cost of Biden’s Open Borders

January 12, 2023

President Biden’s open borders policies are a threat to American national security and sovereignty. They’re also a humanitarian disaster and embarrassment to anyone that values human dignity. Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11 was a reminder of the human costs of Biden’s failure to secure our border. 

Under President Biden’s watch, the U.S. southern border was named the deadliest migration land route in the world. U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Senators that 854 people died at the border in 2022. According to CBS News, that represents the deadliest fiscal year for migrants ever recorded by the government. Over 2,300 people have died at the border since Biden was sworn in as President in January of 2021. 

Those who survive the journey are forced to navigate a complex, criminal network of human trafficking. Criminal networks like cartels have capitalized on the chaos Biden has created at the border. Our southern border is a fertile environment where human traffickers flourish and profit. Biden’s policies have allowed these cartels to exploit the vulnerable and enabled their criminal activity.

In May of last year, the Biden administration ended all DNA familial testing at the border. This testing was originally implemented by the Trump administration to determine the relationship between illegal immigrants and any accompanying children. Human traffickers force children to pose as family members of single adults to improve the adults’ chances of asylum. I saw this firsthand during my trip to the border last October. One man was claiming to be the father of a 10-year-old girl who was terrified and clearly not his daughter. Border Patrol agents told us the Biden administration’s policies left them with no way to verify their suspicions. 

Familial DNA testing played a vital role in combatting trafficking. When I was on the border, Border Patrol agents told me 30-50% of DNA tests came back proving no familial match. In fiscal year 2019 alone, Border Patrol agents found more than 6,200 fraudulent family member claims. To put that in perspective, that’s more than double the number of students in Nebraska’s largest public school. Biden’s elimination of DNA testing took away a critical tool in preventing innocent children from being exploited. For the safety and security of migrants and citizens alike, we must restore this policy. 

Unfortunately, the fight against human trafficking isn’t new to me or Nebraska. When I was Governor, we had a four-part plan to combat human trafficking. First, I worked with then-Attorney General Doug Peterson and First Lady Susanne Shore to raise awareness in rest areas, emergency rooms, and other areas. Second, we passed laws to strengthen the penalties for human trafficking and increase our ability to prosecute cases. Third, we empowered law enforcement to apprehend criminals more effectively. Finally, we increased the support for survivors who need care and support. 

I’ve kept up that work as Senator. I’m working with  Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to pass the End Child Trafficking Now Act to require the Biden administration to restart DNA tests at the border. I’m also working with Senator Mike Lee to enact the Stopping Border Surges Act to close immigration loopholes and eliminate incentives for sending children to the border. In addition, I’m fighting for over a dozen pieces of legislation to attack the president’s open borders policies head on. These solutions include reforming our broken asylum process, building the wall, stopping sanctuary cities policies in liberal states and cities, and going after cartels. 

President Biden has direct responsibility for the humanitarian crisis on our southern border. Children are being trafficked, people are dying, and the cartels are profiting off all this. His failed open borders policies are responsible. Those policies must change. My Republican colleagues and I have put forward common-sense solutions on how to bring this crisis under control. President Biden should get on board and order his bureaucrats to enforce the laws already on the books.

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.