There is a very real crisis happening on our southern border. In contrast to the four years of the Trump Administration, the last two years has been an unmitigated disaster. The U.S. Border Patrol reported a sharp increase in encounters with illegal immigrants, with the number growing from just over 400,000 in 2020 to over 1.6 million encounters in 2021 under the new administration. That makes 2021 the highest year on record and 2022 is on pace to shatter that record as there have been about 1.06 million encounters already in the first half of FY 2022. To make matters worse, the Department of Homeland Security released more than 80,000 of those illegal immigrants into the country last month, bringing the total of illegal releases under the current president to 836,225, and deportations are at the lowest levels in Immigration and Customs Enforcement history.

This may be the worst condition the southern border has ever been in. For all intents and purposes, we have a wide open border and it’s being done with the full knowledge of and complicity of the federal government. If you thought it couldn’t get worse, well hold on a second. The president is trying to turn a bad problem into a catastrophe.

The president and his administration is doing everything it can to lift Title 42 – a public health order put in place during the Trump Administration to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from illegals crossing the border. If it doesn’t make sense for the current president to continue to use COVID-19 to try to force us to continue wearing masks on planes and ask for billions of dollars for emergency COVID spending – it’s because it doesn’t make sense. The president is talking out of both sides of his mouth and is trying to convince the American people there isn’t a crisis occurring at the border. First, he put the woefully unprepared vice-president in charge of the border. Then, he fought the Remain in Mexico policy. Now, he is trying to spike Title 42 when it is really the last line of defense against an open border policy.

Missouri isn’t backing down in this fight. Our attorney general just won a temporary restraining order over the president’s planned suspension of Title 42, meaning the policy will remain in place until further court proceedings can take place. On top of that, the attorney general also successfully fought in court to reinstate the Remain in Mexico policy, which requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their asylum is considered.

That’s not all. I’ve personally introduced legislation, Senate Bill 1227, to combat illegal immigration. This bill would strengthen Missouri’s sanctuary city law with daily fines of $25,500 for any city or county harboring criminals and blatantly breaking the law, and expand the E-Verify program public employers are required to use to verify employees can legally work, to include all employers in Missouri. The bill also expands the current offense of transportation of an illegal alien to include concealment and inducement.

As a country, we’ve always been welcoming and encouraging to those who want to come to our land to improve their lives. But we have laws and those laws must be followed. Ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away is not an effective strategy. We need to enforce our laws and we need to take practical steps to enforce that law, like building a wall along the southern border and increasing the number of border patrol agents. That’s a real solution to the border crisis and it’s one the administration is refusing to do because I don’t believe they really want to solve the problem. Nevertheless, we are going to keep doing everything in our power in Missouri to fight this problem – someone has to.

If you have any ideas, questions and concern, please feel free to contact me at the State Capitol: (573) 751-2108, rick.brattin@senate.mo.gov or by writing to Sen. Rick Brattin, Missouri State Capitol, Room 331, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

God bless and thank you for the opportunity to work for you in the Missouri Senate.

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