WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) this week cosponsored legislation to give border states the freedom to establish temporary barriers or structures on federal lands in order to protect their border.

Hyde-Smith is an original cosponsor of the CONTAINER (Creating Obstructions Necessary to Address Illegal and Nefarious Entry Rapidly) Act, which was introduced by U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), to help states combat the chaos caused by the Biden administration’s failed border policies.

“The Biden administration’s unwillingness or, worse, inability to do anything to stop the crisis at the border means states should have the right to take action to protect their citizens.  This reasonable legislation would ensure states, particularly those directly on the border, can erect barriers to deter the never-ending violation of our borders,” said Hyde-Smith, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

“Since President Biden took office, there have been over 8.5 million apprehensions at our southern border, turning every state into a border state,” Blackburn said.  “Meanwhile, his administration has only exacerbated the problem by trying to stop the use of measures that will secure our border like shipping containers and razor wire.  Because Joe Biden refuses to do so, it’s clear Congress must act to give border states the explicit authority to protect their communities and the sovereignty of the United States.”

The CONTAINER Act (S.3576) would authorize border states to temporarily place movable, temporary structures on federal land for the purpose of securing the border without first seeking federal approval.  The bill also allows states to keep these structures on federal land for up to a year, subject to 90-day extensions.

The Biden administration last week asked the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the Border Patrol to cut razor wire placed on  the southern border in Texas, as the White House continues its assault on border states’ right to secure their communities.  The Biden Justice Department also filed a suit to stop Arizona, which like Texas, placed large shipping containers along parts of the southern border to fill gaps in the incomplete border wall and make illegal entry into the United States more difficult.

While the U.S. Constitution clearly says states have the inherent power to protect their borders (Article IV, Section 4 provides for the protection of states “against invasion,” and Article I, Section 10 reserves the right of states to defend themselves), current law prohibits states from placing structures on federal land without first obtaining authorization from the federal government.  The CONTAINER Act would waive that approval process.

Since President Biden took office, there have been over 8 million apprehensions at the southern border.  In fiscal year 2023 alone, there were over 3.2 million apprehensions—an all-time high.  Just as troubling, there were more than 276,000 migrant encounters in December 2023—the highest month ever recorded.  The crisis has been exacerbated by Biden’s termination of the successful Title 42 enforcement authority on May 11, 2023.

U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) also cosponsored the measure.