Katie Britt, Senate Republicans Unveil Sweeping Border Security Package

By Sean Moran

Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) led a coalition of Senate Republicans in introducing a comprehensive border security package to curb the border crisis, crack down on asylum abuse, and protect American families.

“There is an unprecedented humanitarian and national security crisis at our southern border,” Britt said in a statement Thursday. “This is a direct, avoidable result of the Biden Administration’s dangerously weak policies. Hardworking parents across our nation want their children to grow up in safe, strong communities, so that they can reach their full potential and live their American Dream. This legislation would help secure that dream for families in every corner of our country.”

The first of the legislative package is a resolution calling on the Biden administration to acknowledge that there is a crisis on America’s southern border. Since the beginning of Biden’s presidency, there have been over 4.5 million illegal immigrant border encounters, and since March 2022, there have been over 200,000 encounters each month.

The resolution states:

Expressing the sense of the Senate that the current influx of migrants is causing a crisis at the Southern border. Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the current influx of migrants at the Southern land border of the United States constitutes a crisis.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Lankford (R-OK), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) cosponsored the resolution.

“Let’s be clear: The record level of illegal immigration we have seen is the result of failed policies throughout the first two years of the Biden administration. It took too long for the administration to act on the border, and it took too long for the president to go and see the crisis he created. It’s past time we establish what this truly is — a sustained crisis on our southern border,” Capito said in a written statement about the resolution.

The second part of the package is the Keep Our Communities Safe Act, which would close the federal government’s Obama-Biden catch-and-release policy to release illegal aliens after detaining them for six months if no other country accepts them for deportation.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tom Cotton (R-AK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), John Thune (R-SD), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) cosponsored the resolution.

“Keeping American communities and families safe starts with empowering the Department of Homeland Security to keep criminals off of our streets,” Britt said in a statement.

Tuberville explained in a statement:

"The Biden administration’s open-border, catch-and-release policies have created a crisis that threatens the safety of local communities and our national security. The Keep Our Communities Safe Act addresses the deliberate enforcement void created by President Biden by giving the Department of Homeland Security the discretion to detain illegal immigrants awaiting deportation and barring criminals from being released into the country. This bill closes loopholes that overwhelm law enforcement and endanger Americans."

“The crisis at our southern border escalates by the day, putting American families at risk. Yet, the Biden Administration continues to do nothing to secure our border, and instead, releases illegal aliens into our communities. Congress has to take common-sense steps to restore order and prevent violent crime,” Rubio said in a statement.

The Asylum Abuse Reduction Act is the third part of the immigration platform, which would fix many of the issues facing America’s asylum system. The bill would require migrants to declare asylum at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico or Canada before entering the United States. The legislation would also:

  • Create a criminal bench warrant for immigrants that have failed to appear for immigration court.
  • Codifies the Trump administration’s third country asylum rule, which prohibited asylum claims unless the immigrant had already applied for asylum from persecution or torture in at least another country outside the alien’s country of citizenship and was denied by that country.
  • Establishes the Fix the Settlement Agreement, which would fix the family separation issue, as well as catch and release, by ensuring that the Flores agreement does not apply to children who are traveling in family units.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tom Cotton (R-AK), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Thune (R-SD), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) cosponsored the bill.

Hyde-Smith said in a statement about the bill:

"President Biden’s weakness when it comes to enforcing the law has led to the worst border crisis in our nation’s history. It’s bad enough that we have an overwhelming amount of illegal immigrants, drugs, and sex trafficking victims streaming into our nation, but it’s even worse that it is preventable. This legislation will add to the growing list of available solutions to force the Biden administration to do its job and keep our nation and its border secure."

Mullin said in a statement about the bill:

"On his first day in office, Joe Biden recklessly eliminated all of President Trump’s common-sense border policies that kept America safe. Two years later, over four million illegal aliens have flooded across our border, along with thousands of pounds of deadly fentanyl and other drugs. I’ve seen this crisis firsthand, and the situation is worse than ever before. I’m proud to join Senator Britt’s strong border security measures to end Obama-era ‘catch-and-release, reinstate the ‘Remain-in-Mexico’ policy, and protect our communities from the worst border disaster in American history."

The fourth and final part of the package is the WALL Act, which would fund former President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall to the tune of $25 billion. The legislation would pay for the funding by axing at least $25 billion of entitlement benefits and tax credits for illegal immigrants, a $3,000 minimum fine placed on every illegal entry into the United States, and a $300 fee placed on every illegal immigrant working and filing taxes in the U.S.

Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Braun (R-IN), Ted Cruz (R-TX), James Risch (R-ID), and Mike Rounds (R-SD) cosponsored the bill.

“We need to seal and secure the border — at ports of entry and between them — through a combination of physical infrastructure, technology, equipment, and personnel,” Britt said about the WALL Act. “An invaluable piece of this equation is finishing the wall on our southern border. This is a commonsense measure that funds this construction without raising taxes on American citizens or adding to the national debt.”

Although Britt only recently joined Congress’s upper chamber, she has moved quickly to better understand the border crisis unfolding at America’s southern border. Britt traveled to the border multiple times to understand how migrants cross the border, how they migrant abuse asylum, and what resources America needs to curb the crisis.

In mid-January, Britt traveled with Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) to Del Rio, Texas, border area. She also traveled to border regions around San Diego, California, as well as Mexico City, Mexico, in a trip led by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA).

In her border trip with Blackburn and Hyde-Smith, she emphasized the need to reestablish Remain-in-Mexico and keep Title 42 to curb the border crisis.