Washington, D.C.– “We need border security, not amnesty.”  That was the message from U.S. Representative Andy Barr (KY-06) as House Democrats held a vote tonight on two immigration bills that would give amnesty millions of illegal immigrants and provide a pathway to citizenship for guestworkers undercutting those waiting to legally enter our country, despite a mounting immigration crisis on our southern border. 

Just under two months into the Biden Administration, here is the state of our southern border: 

  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas during testimony in the U.S. House of Representatives that DHS is not testing migrants for COVID-19 before releasing them into communities in the U.S.
  • In February, more than 100,000 migrants tried to enter the country illegally, a 170% increase in border encounters from February of last year. 
  • More than 6,000 family units are attempting to cross the border per week.  Before President Biden took office, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) was encountering 1,000 family units per week at the border. 
  • Former Obama DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said that over 1,000 family units crossing per week is a crisis.
  • Four individuals currently on the U.S. terrorist watch list were apprehended at the border this week.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) describes these individuals as “people known to be or reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activities.”
  • Despite denying there is a crisis on the southern border, the Biden Administration has deployed Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) resources to the southern border.

President Biden and his Administration are directly responsible for this border surge.  Here are some of the policies they implemented that made the U.S. a magnet for illegal immigration:

  • Immediately announcing a 100-day deportation pause upon taking office.  This policy was blocked by a federal judge February 24. 
  • Immediately suspending further construction of the border wall, including portions already approved and funded for construction by Congress.
  • Reversed the Remain in Mexico policy.
  • Canceling asylum agreements with Central American countries negotiated under the Trump Administration to reduce illegal immigration and have migrants apply for asylum in other countries.  
  • Reimplemented Obama-era “catch and release” policies but did so without requiring any COVID-19 negative test prior to releasing illegal immigrants into American communities.
  • Refusing to acknowledge this border crisis for what it is, a crisis.

“We need border security, not amnesty,” said Representative Barr.  “The situation at our border is spiraling out of control.  Congress must send additional manpower, technology, and resources to our southern border to enforce our laws and keep our country safe. 

“Instead, House Democrats are prioritizing legislation that will give millions of illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship,” Barr added.  “While I am a strong supporter safe, legal immigration and strengthening guest worker programs upon which Kentucky farmers depend, these bills would increase costs and liability for our farmers and reinforce the open borders, pro-amnesty policies from the Biden Administration that created this most recent and severe crisis at the border.  

“Furthermore, I am deeply disturbed by Democrats’ vote to block legislation I supported requiring a negative COVID-19 test for every illegal immigrant as a condition of entry into the United States under the Administration’s misguided “catch and release” program.  It is outrageous that the Biden Administration would implement this policy at the same time Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is openly discussing a policy of requiring American citizens to get a negative COVID-19 test before flying on commercial aircraft,” Barr concluded.

House Democrats rejected an amendment Congressman Barr supported that was put forward by Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) requiring a negative COVID-19 test for illegal immigrants before being released into American communities.