Biden’s Open Border Is Fueling Violent Crime

March 11, 2024

During his State of the Union Address last week, President Biden tried to do an impossible task: defending his record in office to the American people.

No doubt, he had a tough audience: For three years, Tennesseans and Americans have suffered immensely from the President’s record of failure on the border, the economy, national security, and so much more.

But for 68 minutes, President Biden deflected, distorted, or ignored the most pressing issues facing our nation—including the wave of migrant crime affecting communities across the country.

I can understand why President Biden doesn’t want to talk about this issue.

Under his watch, more than 9 million illegal immigrants, including 1.7 million known “gotaways,” have entered our country because of the President’s border crisis. Among them are more than 30,000 illegal immigrants with prior criminal convictions, including homicide, domestic violence, and sexual assault.

As a direct result of this open-border agenda, gang members from around the world are entering America and setting up their operations, endangering police officers, families, and public safety.

Just last month, the New York Post reported that the violent Venezuelan gang Tren de Aragua is directing members to come to our southern border, apply for asylum, and—once waived into the country by the Biden administration—establish robbery rings in major U.S. cities.

Now, gang members are reportedly recruiting migrants at NYC shelters into their operations, in which they steal phones from innocent bystanders to resell in Colombia. And in Chicago, authorities are tracking the gang’s growing crime network, which includes human trafficking, drug smuggling, and sexual exploitation.

It is no coincidence that migrant gangs are setting up shop in New York and Chicago. For years, both Democrat-run cities have been self-declared migrant sanctuaries, refusing to work with federal law enforcement to track, arrest, and deport illegal immigrants within their jurisdiction.

With the explosion in migrant crime, one thing should be clear: Sanctuary laws are just another way for Democrats to make illegal immigration legal and put lawbreakers ahead of law-abiding citizens—often with tragic consequences.

Last month, an illegal immigrant from Venezuela—who was paroled into our country by the Biden administration—was arrested for allegedly murdering 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley while she went for a jog on the University of Georgia campus.

The suspect, 26-year-old Jose Ibarra, was arrested multiple times by local police before committing his heinous crime. Last year, in New York City, he was arrested for reckless endangerment of a child, but city officials released him before Immigration and Customs and Enforcement could request his custody. And just one month later, police in Athens, Georgia—whose city government passed a resolution in 2019 welcoming illegal immigrants “of all statuses”—released Ibarra after he shoplifted hundreds of dollars in goods.

Local officials in New York and Georgia failed Laken Riley. And we cannot allow this tragedy to ever happen again.

That’s why last week I introduced the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act, which would ensure state and local law enforcement officials work with federal law enforcement to deport criminal illegal immigrants from the United States.

Among its provisions, this crucial legislation would require states and localities to provide the Department of Homeland Security with information about every alien apprehended in their state, including their name, address, physical description, and the reason for their arrest. At the same time, the bill would ensure their compliance by denying federal funds to any jurisdiction that refuses to work with federal immigration law enforcement.

This legislation would also require the Department of Homeland Security to take illegal aliens into custody within 48 hours after receiving a request from a state or local government, provide essential information about illegal immigrants to the Justice Department, and supply resources to help localities enforce immigration law, including grants and increased space for detention facilities.

Any person who is in our country illegally should be immediately deported—especially if they are committing crimes. The CLEAR Act would ensure that happens.