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What is Happening at the Border?

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“Record-breaking migrant encounters” is an all too familiar headline these days. It seems like we are living in a perpetual Groundhog Day where every month the record is broken for the most immigrant encounters on the southern border. That feeling is not divorced from reality. The record was recently broken in September 2023, but December 2023 brought a staggering new record with 302,000 encounters– a number that does not even account for those that snuck over the border. In 2023, the United States saw 3.2 million illegal immigrant entries nationwide. That number is hard to imagine, so instead, think of it as the populations of Wyoming, Delaware, Vermont, and Rhode Island combined.

Understandably, Texas faces the brunt of the consequences of illegal immigration. Because the Biden Administration has thus far been unwilling to manage the border chaos, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) has had to make the tough decisions to protect his citizens.

Texas simply does not have the capacity or infrastructure to take care of the millions of illegal immigrants that are coming into the country. So, Gov. Abbott has had to be creative in how he can best manage the crisis. He has been sending immigrants to states and cities that vocally express their support of illegal immigration, places like Chicago and New York City. As Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Florida) has often said, “Every town is a border town,” but many Democrat mayors and governors had never truly understood that quote until the past year or so. It was easy for progressive cities to declare themselves “sanctuary cities” until the results started to affect them. New York City Mayor Eric Adams (Democrat) has changed his song towards immigration policy as of late as he has faced the practical realities of this crisis. New York City has had over 150,000 illegal immigrants arrive since Spring 2023. Ironically, Mayor Adams has even implemented new rules for when migrants can be dropped off in the city. Sounds like he cares about that border.

While Gov. Abbott continues to wield state power to the best of his ability, like assigning Texas funds to continue border wall construction and signing a law that, starting in March 2024, allows state law enforcement agencies to arrest illegal immigrants, the Biden Administration is doing everything in its power to frustrate the efforts, going as far as suing the state of Texas for its efforts.

Some federal lawmakers are sounding the alarm and trying to help control the border. Last week, 60 House Republicans, led by Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana), visited Eagle Pass, Texas, to see the chaos themselves. This trip is taking place as a bipartisan group of Senators and the White House have been deliberating legislation that would include border policy and aid for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan.

At first glance, it might seem odd that this bill would include such a seemingly random assortment of issues, but the Democrat-controlled Senate insists that Ukraine funding needs to pass. Their persistence paved the path for Republican senators to stand up and say that if we are funding another country’s borders, we must first protect our own. By tying these two issues together, both “non-negotiables” for the parties, there is hope that they can garner the votes necessary to pass and sign a compromise into law.

Let us pray for the situation at the border and for lawmakers trying to address the numerous humanitarian, cultural, social, economic, and even national security issues involved in the matter.