As a lifelong Arizonan, I can see with my own eyes that our border is in crisis.
It’s a fire for which then-candidate Joe Biden provided the kindling in 2019, when he raised his hand during a primary debate to indicate that, yes, his government-run health care plan would provide coverage to illegal immigrants. In that moment, the Democrat sent a message to foreigners across the world that, if he were elected and if they got into the country, he would ignore the nation’s laws and assume responsibility for their care at taxpayer expense.
Well, come they did. In droves. And his Administration has exacerbated the issue by refusing to call this crisis what it is.
In March, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked if the border was in ‘crisis.’ She responded that “I don’t think we need to sit here and put new labels on” it. Two days later, she deflected again, saying, “We don’t feel the need to … play games with what it’s called.”
The president’s refusal to acknowledge the problem culminated in a massive surge of Haitian immigrants in Texas that could not be ignored. While the nation’s eyes were on Del Rio, though, Arizonans like me knew that the problem was already at our own border. Unfortunately, we were right.
When I visited Yuma County two weeks ago, I saw firsthand the consequences of Biden’s weakness: The border is wide open, the half-built wall is neglected, and Border Patrol is understaffed. Soon after I left, reporter Julio Rosas was covering the region when he came across three adult men holding Uzbekistan passports trying to enter the country. The implications of this are frightening.
Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot recently said that “I’ve never seen it this bad” and that “it’s getting a lot worse,” while Chief Patrol Agent Chris T. Clem notified the community this month that agents in the Yuma Sector had luckily caught and “arrested a child rapist that illegally entered the U.S.” Indeed, the sector has seen a 2,000 percent increase in daily average illegal arrivals compared to one year earlier.
In the border county to Yuma’s west, Pima County, fentanyl overdoses are now the leading cause of death for young people. This is an unacceptable tragedy – and wholly avoidable.
Biden could not have mishandled this situation worse; first, by basically declaring the border open and next, assigning responsibility for our nation’s security to a gang of incompetents.
The president assigning his border portfolio to Vice President Kamala Harris, who believes that “an undocumented immigrant is not a criminal,” was just a start. He then sent Secretary Anthony Blinken, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to meet with officials from Mexico. It’s as if Biden held a contest to find the three wimpiest members of his Administration and then tasked them to the border. One can just imagine the cartel heads laughing to themselves at the image of these three stooges arriving on the scene.
Blinken hasn’t made a single good judgment call since getting the job. Garland – despite being endorsed by one of my primary opponents – has been focused on his un-American campaign against parents who oppose Critical Race Theory. And Mayorkas – who once bragged on TV that “we don’t use the term ‘illegal immigrants’” anymore – is a complete joke and should be walked out of DHS and sent home. There are no other words for it.
Here is what Biden would do if he cared about protecting Arizonans: First, he needs to fire Mayorkas for gross negligence. (If not, Congress should move forward on U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs’s resolution to impeach the secretary.) He needs to immediately recommence construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and stop fighting policies that were working under President Donald Trump, such as ‘Remain in Mexico.’ Then, he needs to designate these drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations so that law enforcement has the tools to take on the criminal enterprises that are pumping fentanyl into our neighborhoods.
I was proud to see governors travel to Texas this past week, to lay out a ten-point plan to teach the federal government how to get off its butt.
Governors can do more at the state level, too. Beefing up trespass laws and initiating the construction of a border wall on state land will help counteract Biden being asleep at the wheel until we elect a president who gives a damn. If the administration challenges us, we’ll see them at the U.S. Supreme Court with our U.S. Constitution open to Article IV Section 4.
We’re not going to ask for permission to protect our citizens, because a country without a border isn’t a country at all.
Biden threatened a few days ago that he is going to get Republicans “out of the way.” But he has it all wrong. When I’m elected governor, Arizona is going to get him out of ours.
By Matt Salmon
Matt Salmon, co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, is a Republican candidate for governor of Arizona.