Before Biden gives one more dime to Ukraine, he must first secure our border

December 6, 2023

Fox News
Sen. Ron Johnson and Sen. Rick Scott
December 6, 2023

President Biden’s open border policy is a clear and present danger to America.  We believe a U.S. president’s primary responsibility is to defend the country's citizens and our Constitution. When it comes to border security, he is doing neither. Rather than address and alleviate this clear and present danger, President Biden and his Democrat allies in Congress are the root cause.

Although the Biden administration and mainstream media are far from transparent when reporting on the current border crisis, what we do know paints a disturbing reality.   

Since Biden took office, approximately 9.5 million migrants have illegally entered America.  Approximately 3 million have been returned, mostly under the pandemic emergency provisions of Title 42. That leaves over 6 million that have taken up residence in America under Joe Biden.  To put that number in perspective, 31 states have a population less than 6 million.   

Even though New York City declared itself a sanctuary city, Mayor Eric Adam’s now asserts that the 100,000 migrants who accepted the invitation will destroy his city.  But the 100,000 migrants Mayor Adam claimed will destroy NYC represent less than 2% of the migrants Biden has allowed to enter.   The other 98% are dispersed all over America, creating enormous burdens for cities of all sizes.  

When the Biden administration took over, the border was largely secure. Once in office, the Biden administration claimed President Trump’s policies that had secured the border were "inhumane", and they abruptly reversed course. The very unfortunate result is that Biden’s open border policy is now facilitating the multi-billion dollar business model of some of the most evil people on the planet — sex, drug, and human traffickers. The depredations caused by this trafficking occur in the shadows and go largely unreported. Overdose deaths, largely from fentanyl coming through the southwest border topped 100,000 annually. There is nothing humane about Biden’s policies.   

In addition to its inhumanity, the open border represents a huge national and homeland security threat. Of the 6 million migrants who got in, 1.7 million were detected crossing the border and accounted for as "known gotaways." We obviously don’t "know" who these people are, or where they currently reside.      

In a recent hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, of which we are both members, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated in response to questioning by Senator Scott:

"What has now increased is the greater possibility of one of these Foreign Terrorist Organizations directing an attack in the United States…It is time to be concerned.  We are in a dangerous period…The terror threats have elevated…" since Joe Biden took office.  

With an open border, it’s obvious how and where foreign terrorists organizations would insert their fighters into our country. President Biden’s failure to secure the border means it’s up to Republicans to use any leverage we can — including his administration’s desire to provide foreign aid to Ukraine — to secure it once and for all.   Regardless of how anyone feels regarding support for Ukraine, and we are skeptical, we believe securing America’s border and protecting our citizens should take precedence.   

A recent column stated that support for Ukraine combined with "modest immigration reform" would be a "win/win".  With a president who actually wanted to secure the border and could be counted on to faithfully execute the laws Congress passes, that might be true.  But we have a lawless administration and a president who wants an open border. 

Remember when the Supreme Court ruled that an eviction moratorium was unconstitutional?  President Biden extended it anyway. SCOTUS also ruled that forgiving student loans was unconstitutional. President Biden continues to forgive them.

As a result, the strongest border security legislation probably won’t work under Biden. Republicans must insist not only on strong legislative language, but also making any Ukraine funding contingent on achieving benchmarks proving the border is being secured. 

The metric should be the number of migrants dispersed in America each month which would include, but not be limited to, migrants encountered, processed, and released (regardless of the waiver or program used), plus the detected gotaways.  Each month the administration would be forced to significantly reduce the number of migrants getting into American, and its ability to disperse U.S. taxpayer money to aid for Ukraine would be tied to achieving those monthly goals.  

Under existing law, President Trump went from peak to trough of illegal immigration in 12 months using "Remain in Mexico" and safe third country agreements in Central America.  Using that precedent, releasing aid to Ukraine only as we ramp down to a secure border over a twelve-month period, is a reasonable expectation.  

House Republicans should not consider, and Senate Republicans should deny cloture on, any Ukraine funding bill that falls short of this requirement.  

Republican Rick Scott represents Florida in the United States Senate. He is a member of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the former governor of Florida.