Senator Scott, Senate Colleagues Fight to Secure the Border
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his Senate colleagues in introducing the Secure the Border Act of 2023, which stands as the most comprehensive border security legislation in decades. The Secure the Border Act addresses the Biden administration’s open border crisis by increasing the number of Border Patrol Agents, resuming construction on the border wall, tightening asylum standards, criminalizing visa overstays and prohibiting the Department of Homeland Security from using its app to assist illegal immigrants.
“The numbers don’t lie: the border crisis is not going away,” said Senator Scott. “From fentanyl trafficking to human trafficking to known terrorists infiltrating our country, the Biden administration’s open border policy is anything but humane. It’s time we recognize that border security is national security and secure our country.”
Companion legislation, introduced by U.S. Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), has passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Republican National Committee’s data shows 7 million illegal immigrants have crossed the border under the Biden administration. This number includes 85,000 unaccompanied children whom the Biden administration is unable to account for – 60% of whom are likely to be exploited through child pornography and drug trafficking. Additionally, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl during FY 2022, fueled by Chinese suppliers and Mexican cartels targeting the open border and making fentanyl overdose the leading cause of death for young Americans. In addition to the humanitarian crisis and fentanyl crisis, the Biden administration’s open border policy has escalated a national security crisis, with record numbers of terrorists apprehended at the border.
Joining Senators Scott and Cruz are Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.), and Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio).
Summary of the Secure the Border Act:
- Requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resume border wall construction.
- Increases the number of Border Patrol Agents.
- Tightens asylum standards by restricting asylum to only aliens who present at ports of entry and by requiring aliens to prove they are “more likely than not” to qualify for their asylum claim.
- Narrows DHS’s power to unilaterally grant parole to illegal aliens.
- Criminalizes visa overstays by making the first offense a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and the second offense a felony punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and up to two years imprisonment.
- Stops NGOs from using tax dollars to transport or lodge illegal aliens andprovide illegal aliens with lawyers.
- Restricts DHS from using its CBP One app to welcome illegal aliens into the country.
- Requires employers to use E-Verify.
- Ensures CBP has access to the criminal history databases of all countries of origin and transit so that CBP is aware of the criminal history of illegal aliens encountered at the southern border.
Full text of the Secure the Border Act can be found here.
Senator Scott’s work to address the border and fentanyl crisis include:
- Championing his landmark Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill aimed at combating the country’s fentanyl crisis by targeting the illicit fentanyl supply chain, from the chemical suppliers in China to the cartels that traffic the drugs in from Mexico;
- Introducing the Alan T. Shao II Fentanyl Public Health Emergency and Overdose Prevention Act, which extends the powers of Title 42 to combat the fentanyl crisis; and
- Fighting for his Securing Our Border Act, which redirects $15 billion of funding passed by Democrats to hire 87,000 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents and utilizes it to bolster security measures along our southern border.