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Carl: President Biden needs to wake up and address the border crisis

Several colleagues and I visited the U.S.-Mexico border to see firsthand the situation at the border. For many months, I’ve seen and heard countless reports about how bad the situation is, but I did not even come close to realizing the full extent of the crisis until I saw it with my own eyes.

On the trip, we met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who gave us a tour of the San Ysidro Port of Entry and different portions of the nearby border. They briefed us on what an average day is like at the border, and what we heard was unbelievable. Just that morning alone, more than 140 pounds of meth from smugglers attempting to cross the border had been seized by agents at this one port of entry. Agents told us they are absolutely overwhelmed and are unable to stop the flow of drugs, so all they can do is attempt to slow it down and stop some of the trafficking.

After spending time in San Diego, my colleagues and I visited Yuma, Arizona, where border patrol agents at Yuma Station informed us they seized 519 pounds of meth last week alone. Meanwhile, they are seeing a 600% increase in the number of illegal border crossings this year. Many of the people attempting to cross the border are not from Mexico or anywhere in Central or South America – in fact, they are seeing attempted crossings by people from more than 140 different countries.

I also saw firsthand how important it is to finish the wall on the southern border. The wall is extremely effective, but President Biden stopped construction of it as soon as he took office. We already have materials on the ground to build more of the wall, but they are all just sitting in piles not being used. Border patrol agents told us they are having to move agents around to plug these gaps in the wall, which is putting a critical strain on their manpower.

People from all over the world are flying into Mexico and are getting bussed to the border so they can take advantage of President Biden’s leadership failures and seek asylum in America. Even worse, many Democrats are calling to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is the only agency with the authority to hold people for more than 72 hours. Without ICE fully funded and operational, cartels can flood a particular spot on the border for days at a time and overwhelm border patrol agents, who do not have the authority to hold people for more than 72 hours. As a result, border patrol agents are left with no option other than bussing migrants into the United States and relocating them wherever they can find room. This is unacceptable, and it needs to stop now.

When people think of Alabama, they think of community, family, strong American values, and of course football, but unfortunately our way of life is being threatened by the horrific situation at the border. Although Alabama does not share a border with Mexico, drugs are being trafficked into the United States and transported right into my district in south Alabama. The cartels are able to haul drugs from the southern border to Alabama within 24 hours, where they end up in the hands of our children and our grandchildren. This is unacceptable and despite the incredible work being done by border patrol and law enforcement agencies, drugs are flowing all over America and are crippling our communities.

Without a serious change in policy from this Administration, there is no end in sight to this crisis. Even before taking office, President Biden’s rhetoric encouraged people to come to the United States illegally, and since being in office he has failed to enforce our immigration laws and continue building the wall. I am urging the president and vice president to visit the border and finally take this crisis serious. Let’s build the wall, secure our border, and make the health and safety of American citizens our top priority. President Biden and Vice President Harris can no longer ignore this crisis. The time to act is now.

Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.