Blackburn: On the Border, Democrats Are Making Illegal Legal

January 19, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) called out the Biden administration and congressional Democrats for pushing open-border policies that undermine the rule of law and prioritize illegal immigrants over law-abiding citizens.


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Remarks as prepared:

Last week, House Republicans launched their impeachment proceedings against Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for a simple reason: the Secretary of Homeland Security does not believe in securing the homeland.

We all know the numbers.

Over 8.5 million illegal immigrants, including 1.7 million known “gotaways.”

Tens of thousands of pounds of lethal fentanyl trafficked into our country.

And hundreds of individuals on the terror watchlist caught at our border, including 30 since the start of fiscal year 2024.

These numbers alone justify the Secretary’s removal from office. But ultimately, the harm this administration is inflicting on our country with its open-border policies goes far beyond these stats. Their policies aren’t just failing—they are upending the foundation of our democracy: the rule of law.

At every opportunity, this administration has made illegal legal and put lawbreakers ahead of law-abiding Americans.

Under President Biden, illegally entering the country is no longer a crime. Just last week, Secretary Mayorkas admitted that over 85 percent of illegal immigrants apprehended at our border are released into our country.

With hundreds of thousands of migrants crossing into our country each month, you would think the Biden administration would use all the help it can get. But when states like Arizona and Texas constructed their own barriers along the Southern border, the Biden administration sued them. Under this administration, border agents don’t put up razor wire fences—they cut them down to make it easier for illegal immigrants to enter our country.

And once migrants illegally cross our border, the Biden administration doesn’t just resettle them into our country; they use taxpayer dollars to pay for their health care. In fiscal year 2022, taxpayers shouldered the cost for $94.3 million worth of medical expenses for detained migrants. In fiscal year 2021, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s health care arm budgeted more than $74 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist with outside referrals and medical claims processing.

While the VA is helping treat migrants, more than 1 million veterans are waiting for staff to process their claims.

With the record influx of illegal immigration, Democrats in New York City are now shutting down high schools and sending students back home to remote learning so their facilities can be used to house illegal immigrants.

This is wrong. But at every step, my Democratic colleagues have supported this administration’s disastrous open-border policies. And for more than seven months, they have refused to hold a vote on H.R. 2, House Republicans’ Secure the Border Act, which would help end this crisis. In fact, since the House passed H.R. 2, the Senate Judiciary Committee has held 83 hearings and meetings. But not one of these addressed the crisis at the Southern border.

Their inaction on this crucial issue reveals so much about their priorities. But I have to ask my Democratic colleagues:

Why do you support illegal entry?

Why do you continue to try to find ways to make illegal legal?

Why do you want to devalue what it means to be an American?

Why do you continue to prefer those who break our laws and come here illegally over hardworking tax-paying American citizens?

Why do you take actions that embolden cartels and human traffickers, who engage in a form of modern-day slavery?

What is compassionate about this?