Solution or Setup? Why the Senate Border Bill Tanked

For the sake of this article I am focused only on the border aspect of the The Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2024, which includes more than $20.2 billion for “border security.”

Given the crisis (yes, it is a crisis) at the border, one would think that Republicans and Democrats alike would jump at the opprtunity for any improvement over the status quo, but the bill could not even reach Cloture in the Senate, where it will likely die. So why did so many Republicans oppose the bill? Two reasons; it’s an unneccessary bill, and it’s a terrible bill.


Too understand why many Republicans are saying the border can be fixed without action by Congress, we need to go back in time, and go well South of the border.


Quite literally, as soon as President Biden was elected, the number of migrants headed to our borders began to increase. In February of 2021 we immediately saw a 28% increase month over month in migrant encounters, and a 174% increase over the same time in 2020. The numbers have only snowballed from there. CBP recently reported encountering a record one million migrants between October 2023 and February 2024. A million… That’s more than the population of all but nine American cities. Current estimates for the total known number of illegal border crossings range from 7-10 million just since President Biden took office. This massive influx is taking a serious toll in cities across the country. Cities like Chicago, New York, Denver, and many others are buckling under the weight of their “sanctuary city” status, and residents of these cities are becoming less tolerant as they see resources badly needed by their own citizens being diverted to provide for migrants.

So why does the increase in illegal border crossings correalate perfectlty with President Biden taking office? That’s not a hard question at all. It’s because he made it all possible with a few strokes of his Executive pen, which he had forecast during the 2020 campaign.

The day he was sworn in President Biden issued Executive Order 13993, titled Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities. The sole purpose of this Order was to revoke a previous Order issued by the former President in 2017. That order, EO 13768, titled Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, called for the “faithful execution of the immigration laws against all removable illegal immigrants and instructed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prioritize the removal of those who have committed crimes, pose a national security risk, engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation before the government, abused welfare programs, and are subject to a final order of removal. It also instructed the Attorney General to ensure sanctuary jurisdictions are not eligible to receive federal grants.

Subsequent actions by the adminsitration in their first month in office are numerous.

2 – Issued a proclamation terminating the national emergency declaration at the Southern border, and halting any and all wall construction.

3 – Next up was a memorandum for DHS halting all removals for 100 days, unless a migrant was suspected of terrorism.

4 – Rescinded Remain in Mexico policy, wherein an agreement had been made with Mexico for asylum seekers to remain in that country while awaiting adjudication of their request to enter the United States.

5 – Executive Order 14012, rescinding the former Administration’s reforms to the Refugee Admissions Program.

6 – ICE issued a memorandum reiterating the January 20th DHS priorities memorandum that limited the ability of ICE to enforce the law. Under the memorandum, unless an illegal immigrant is a national security threat, was not physically present in the United States before November 1, 2020, or has been convicted of an aggravate felony and released after January 20, 2021, an ICE officer must stand down or must seek pre-approval of any enforcement action before it can be carried out.

These are just the actions taken in February of 2021 which contributed greatly to the current disastrous situation, and actions which could be reversed immediately with no action by Congress.


In 2021 President Biden announced that Vice President Harris would be in charge of what a White House spokeperson described as “two tracks: both curbing the current flow of migrants and implementing a long-term strategy that addresses the root causes of migration.” Harris immediately began making trips to Northern Triangle countries and holding meetings with their leaders, but nothing notable, or at least helpful in curbing mass migration came from the millions of taxpayer dollars spent to fly the VP all over South and Central America. Notably (see below), she never visited Ecuador, and to my knowledge the closest she has come to the actuall border was a brief visit to a migrant housing facility in El Paso.

While the Adminstration appears content to do nothing to slow the flow or learn the “root causes,” a recently released short form documentary exposes a well organized, and well funded system of illegal migration that begins in Ecuador and ends up in cities all over the United States, at a current average rate of more than 250,000 per month. Everyone needs to see this film, in which two reporters go to Ecuador and join a group of migrants for the entire deadly journey. It’s available on YouTube and it’s called “United States Invasion Route Exposed | ENTIRE ILLEGAL ALIEN PIPELINE REVEALED.” The films depicts American and other Non-Governmental agencies, as well as the U.N. preparing migrants for their journey by handing out supplies, coaching them with legal langauge for seeking asylum, and even handing out maps and contacts for cartel members once they reach a certain point in their trek. Notably, one of the organizations involved in this process is the American Red Cross.

This elaborate system, desigend to work in conjunction with the administrative and enforcement policies of Biden and Mayorkas, is laregly responsible for the current crisis.


In short, this is bad legislation because many of the concessions made by Republicans result in the codifying of the terrible policies referenced earlier in this writing, as well as many other subsequently enacted by the Adminsitration. Here are a few examples:

1 – Current law mandates detention for any alien who illegally enters the U.S. while pursuing asylum protection. The Senate bill redefines “detention” to “noncustodial detention” and changes the law to only apply to single adults, while releasing familes.

2 – Greatly exapnds the “parole” langauge in Federal law that was designed to limit the circumstances in which Secretary of DHS can release migrants on unsupervised parole. Sec. Mayorkas is already stretching the interpretation of this law, but this new bill would codify his abuses, allowing him to legally release more migrants into the country.

3 -Secretary Mayorkas finalized a rule in which he removed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorneys and immigration judges from credible fear asylum cases. He replaced them with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asylum officers reviewing their fellow asylum officers, resulting in rubber stamping grants of asylum. Many believe this Rule was issued illegally, but the proposed bill would actually codify this rule.

4 – Some Republicans supportive of the bill have pointed to a new emergency declaration authority for the Secretary of DHS to “close” the border and other actions if encounters average more than 4,000 per day for seven days. For a little perspective, Former Obama DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said in 2019 that under the Obama administration, 1,000 apprehensions per day was a crisis. If this bill became law, it would normalize these unsustainable numbers of illegal entries.

I could go on with myriad issues with this bill, but suffice to say, any good measures buried in the bill are far outweighed by the codifying of all the bad policies that created this crisis, and normalizing the staggering numbers of illegal crossings we are now witnessing.

Final note: House Republicans previoously passed H.R. 2 Secure the Border Act of 2023. If Congress was working as it should, that bill would be the starting point for the House and COngressional leaders would sit down and meld the two into something that perhaps a majority could support.

Sadly, the additional legislative action Congress should be undertaking – reforming our outdated immigration system – cannot and will not be seriously addressed until the border is under operational control. Many legislators are rightly hesitant to move on to addressing internal issues while the flow of illegal migrants continues to break dangerous records.

Leave a Reply