February 13, 2024

Senate Failed U.S. By Blocking Immigration Bill

History had its eyes on the United States Senate last week.

Illegal immigration across our southern border is the greatest threat facing our country today, and it has been a growing problem across both Democratic and Republican administrations for years.

Last week, we finally had a chance to address it, but instead, I watched the U.S. Senate vote to block one of the strongest border security bills in decades.

I have always said, “If I can go back home and explain it, I can vote for it.”

I can explain to West Virginians that this bill had the support of the 18,000 Border Patrol agents who are on the ground fighting like hell every day to secure our country.

This is not political for them. They have opposed President Joe Biden’s border policies since day one, but they strongly supported this bill and urged Congress to quickly pass it. They realized that this was our best chance to make things better.

It would have hired 2,700 new U.S. Border Patrol agents and ICE officers and given them new authority, codified in law, that would allow them to remove single adults without a lengthy judicial review.

It would have ended catch and release, so individuals could not simply claim asylum and be released into the country for seven to 10 years.

It would have increased deportations, raised the threshold for asylum, and ended parole at the border.

Let me be clear: Just raising the asylum threshold and ending catch and release would have prevented about 1 million migrants with weak claims from being released into our country since Biden took office.

Just ending parole at the border would have prevented at least another 1 million migrants from entering the country since Biden took office.

These are major, much-needed reforms that the brave men and women who fight to secure our border every day believed to be a step in the right direction, and far better than the status quo.

Here is a reminder of what our current border policies have produced:

2.5 million migrant encounters in a single year, including 300,000 in December 2023 alone.

An average of 10,000 encounters per day at the southern border in December, the vast majority of whom are quickly released into the country.

26,700 pounds of fentanyl seized at the border in 2023 alone.

12,000 encounters at the border in a single day, which also occurred in December.

Last week, the Senate sacrificed critical, commonsense solutions at the altar of vitriolic party politics and it reaffirmed my decision not to run for reelection to the Senate.

In the public service that I practice, any step that makes tomorrow better than yesterday is worth taking. Unfortunately, too many of my colleagues don’t see it this way. It’s clear that our nation’s problems will not be fixed in Washington.

Until my last day as a U.S. Senator, I will not give up on trying to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to solve our greatest challenges. I can think of no larger priority than securing our homeland, and I remain absolutely resolute in delivering on that promise.

History will hold us accountable.

By:  Senator Joe Manchin
Source: Charleston Gazette Mail