Op-ED: Biden’s failed border security policy has effects well beyond the border

Pennsylvania is over 2,000 miles away from border towns like El Paso, Texas and one may assume that an unsecure southwest border does not affect their distant community. That assumption couldn’t be farther from the truth.

It was recently discovered that the Biden Administration has been covertly chartering flights of over 100 illegal aliens into Northeast Pennsylvania. These “ghost” flights are done under the cover of darkness without a flight manifest. No information is available to show if there was vetting and medical checks before the flights. The deliberate lack of transparency is astounding.

Predictably, Governor Wolf and Attorney General Shapiro have refused to answer questions about the flights and their allies in the corporate media choose to look the other way; just as they have with this administration’s failed Covid policies, unconstitutional edicts, shut downs of businesses, and the reckless and deadly decision to send Covid positive patients back into long term care facilities.

It is only thanks to a whistleblower that we know about the flights to Scranton. Earlier this summer, there was a news report of at least one busload of illegals being dropped off in Erie. How many more flights have landed in PA towns in the middle of the night? How many buses have arrived at bus stations?  Have they been vetted?  Have they been medically screened for Covid?  Where will they live?  Where will they work?  Who will cover the added costs for the community and increases in taxes resulting from this?

President Biden promised to reverse much of President Trump’s successful border and immigration policies upon entering the White House. Sadly, this is one campaign promise that he kept.

During the first hours of his Presidency, Biden stopped construction of the southern border wall. Despite what pundits claim, walls actually work. That’s evidenced by the fact that illegal crossings have historically dropped instantly in sectors of the border where wall has been completed.

Biden also did away with perhaps the most effective tool used by the Trump Administration to curtail mass illegal crossings. Migrants know to say the magic words of “credible fear” upon being apprehended by Border Patrol. This allows them to be released into the interior of the U.S while they await court proceedings for their initial asylum claim. According to Department of Justice, almost 50% of those migrants do not even attend their final court hearing. By that time, they are already in the shadows and integrated into American society.

“Remain in Mexico” was a Trump Administration program that forced migrants to wait in Mexican border towns until their court proceedings were finalized. This program was highly effective at allowing the Border Patrol to regain operational control of the border and weeding out fraud claims of asylum. By January 2020, illegal crossings fell to a monthly historic low of 36,679.

Biden’s cancellation of successful policies had predictable results. Just this past November, there were over 173,600 illegal crossings. The Biden administration is on pace for over 2 million illegal crossings for the year.

With numbers like that, it’s no wonder that illegal aliens are being resettled in states as far north as Pennsylvania. Public resources are already stretched thin here in the Keystone State. Our public assistance programs are overburdened. Many PA residents still have not even received unemployment payments over a year after making their initial claim. Adding thousands of illegal immigrants to the rolls of social assistance programs is the last thing our state needs right now.

An unsecure border also leads to more drugs winding up in communities across Pennsylvania. Mexican cartels have shifted to fentanyl as the drug of choice to smuggle into the U.S. Mass illegal crossings divert border patrol agents and port officers from the critical duties of drug interdiction.

According to the CDC, Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45. How many more will die as cartels continue to take advantage of our weak southern border?

While border and immigration policy falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government, there are steps that Pennsylvania can take to ensure that we are not a magnet state for illegal immigration.

We can start by placing fees on international wire transfers. International remittances are sums of money electronically sent out of Pennsylvania and into the economies of international destinations. These are primarily utilized by illegals to send money to their home countries. A fee could deter illegals from settling in PA and would also generate new revenue to be spent to help American citizens.

Another action to take is preventing municipalities from becoming sanctuary cities. Municipalities who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials should no longer be eligible for state grants. These municipalities should also be fair game to be sued for negligence for releasing individuals with a detainer who subsequently commit another crime.

PA must also resist adopting the policy of neighboring states that allow for illegal immigrants to obtain drivers licenses. This policy rewards bad behavior and incentivizes illegal aliens to settle in the state.

In just under a year, the Biden Administration’s handling of the border has been a catastrophic failure. Pennsylvania is not immune to the effects of this failure. Every town in America is now a “border town”. We must remain vigilant. If Governor Wolf and Attorney General Shapiro continue to allow our state to become a sanctuary, the legislature must step in to fortify the sovereignty of our Commonwealth.

Our own citizens across the state have serious needs and it is irresponsible to divert resources when so many need help now.  There are over 40,000 homeless veterans in our nation, with about 1,000 of those living on the streets in Pennsylvania.  There are 14,000 kids in the child welfare system waiting for homes and families.  Should we not help them before bringing in hundreds or thousands of illegal aliens?

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