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THE MIGRANT caravan that made headlines last week for its march across Mexico has disbanded—but about 80 percent of the participants are still headed for the United States. No matter what the legacy media tells you, another 9,000 migrants marching toward our border is not okay.
The White House must respond in a way that protects American citizens and secures the U.S. national interest. President Joe Biden and the other heads of state at the Summit of the Americas made rhetorical progress with the Los Angeles Declaration. But simply calling on Latin American and Caribbean nations to work together with the U.S. and Canada to address mass migration is not enough. Actions speak louder than words —and so far, President Biden’s actions have harmed, not helped, America.
Before he was elected, Biden encouraged illegal immigration by promising widespread amnesty. Even then, his rhetoric caused migration rates to rise. Once in office, President Biden relaxed border security and tried to stop enforcing Title 42. That was a recipe for disaster.
Border encounters are up roughly 70 percent since January 2021, and our agents are overwhelmed. Drug cartels and smugglers are taking advantage of the situation to expand their power and influence, and they are flooding our communities with more and more fentanyl—now the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18–45. Meanwhile, thousands of prisoners released from Afghanistan after Biden’s botched troop withdrawal, some of whom are tied to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, may be entering the U.S. illegally through our southern border.
I understand the desire to come to America. It remains the greatest country in the world. But there is a legal way to enter the U.S., and allowing drug dealers, violent criminals, and radical Islamic terrorists across the border is not good for the stability of our nation. In fact, it does a grave injustice to the American citizens President Biden is obliged to protect.
At a minimum, President Biden must stop undermining the rule of law at the southern border. That means enforcing existing laws, abiding by court rulings, and supporting border officials in their efforts to curb illegal immigration.
In addition, President Biden’s messaging must change to reflect the U.S. national interest, not his own, partisan agenda. Biden Administration insiders claim disinformation is a cause of the migration crisis. There is no doubt cartels and smugglers are spreading lies and half-truths, but it is a situation made worse by the president’s own rhetoric. That needs to change.
Finally, President Biden must expand American investment in Latin American and Caribbean economies. The most lasting solution to illegal immigration is to create opportunities in the countries people are emigrating from, so they do not have to leave home to make a good life—a process that only leaves those countries worse off. Again, the Los Angeles Declaration makes promises on this, but the real test will be whether we can move our supply chains out of Communist China and back into our region.
This is something I have advocated for a long time. COVID-19 proved that our supply chains are fragile and that we are too dependent on our greatest adversary. We need to bring American industry back to the U.S.—and when that is not feasible, we need to relocate supply chains to Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Biden Administration has a role to play in making that happen, all the more so because we cannot afford to let Beijing (or Moscow) gain power in our region at our expense. It’s why the administration should support my bipartisan Western Hemisphere Security Strategy Act and the bicameral Medical Manufacturing, Economic Development, and Sustainability (MMEDS) Act, both of which would strengthen our region and protect it from the malicious influence of the Chinese Communist Party and other exporters of authoritarianism.
President Biden has a lot of work to do. So far, he has done nothing to ease the migration crisis—and has quite frankly made it a lot worse. Every day, thousands of people slip into our nation illegally. The latest caravan trekking across Mexico only highlights the fact that this administration is failing. If President Biden wants to turn things around, he needs to deliver action, not just nice-sounding words and declarations.