I’ve written several times this year about the crisis at our southern border, and it seems like the crisis is even worse each time I write about it. Since day one in office, fixing the illegal immigration crisis has been a top priority for me. I’ve cosponsored countless pieces of legislation to address the problem, and I’ve been to the border to see the crisis firsthand. Despite my efforts and the efforts from so many of my colleagues, our pleas to address the crisis have been totally ignored by House Democrats and the Biden administration.
One of my biggest concerns with the border crisis – and something I frequently talk about – is the flow of illegal drugs across the border. Fentanyl is easier to produce than cocaine or heroin, takes just a few hours to make, and is close to 20 times more profitable for drug dealers than cocaine or heroin. Fentanyl is extremely lethal in small doses, so it’s incredibly easy to smuggle small batches across the border. I keep an artificial sweetener packet in my wallet as an illustration to show folks everywhere I go just how lethal this drug is. If the average sweetener packet was filled with fentanyl, it could kill about 500 people. Just imagine how much damage a several-pound block could do. This is what’s coming across our southern border and pouring into our communities every single day.
When I visited the border, I asked law enforcement officials what Congress could do to help them address this crisis. One of the first things they told me is they are overwhelmed with processing thousands of asylum applications at the border. With no capacity to hold these large numbers, they are forced to release these asylum seekers into the United States with the hopes they return for their court date to determine if they are eligible for asylum. Often, these asylum seekers never return and get lost in the interior of the United States. While there are good people coming to the United States through the asylum-seeking process, criminals and drug traffickers are abusing this system every single day.
A few weeks ago, I introduced legislation to address this problem. H.R. 5969 – The Border Security is National Security Act of 2021 would direct the attorney general to appoint 200 immigration judges to serve in courts along the border. These judges would significantly speed up the process of asylum applications so we can quickly and effectively separate the good folks with a legitimate asylum claim from the criminals, drug traffickers, and any others looking to abuse the system. I’m proud of this legislation, and I know this is one way to significantly improve our broken immigration system.
We’ve got to get control of this crisis at the border. The numbers don’t lie – what’s going on at our southern border is a national security issue. In October alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended 164,303 illegal immigrants at our southern border. To put this in perspective, that’s nearly enough people to fill both Bryant-Denny Stadium and Jordan-Hare Stadium every month. This is more than double the number of illegal encounters we saw during the same time last year. To make matters worse, U.S. Border Patrol released more than 17,000 immigrants into the United States last month alone. The bottom line is the number of illegal crossings at the southern border has risen at a faster rate under President Biden than at any time in recent history, so it’s way past time for this Administration and my colleagues across the aisle to get serious about finally fixing this crisis.
Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.