Nebraska lawmakers blame Biden for border influx

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — The U.S. is seeing a major surge in crossings at the southern border.

Border Patrol officials told CNN that about 2,400 migrants crossed into the U.S. near El Paso each day last weekend.

It’s being described as one of the largest mass migrations in decades, with thousands fleeing Central America before the end of the Title 42 policy on Dec. 21.

The policy was invoked back in 2020 to swiftly expel migrants at the border and close ports of entry to millions of asylum-seekers during the pandemic.

But last month, a federal judge ruled that the current use of Title 42 violates the law.

Now lawmakers from across the country, including right here in Nebraska, are weighing in.

Nebraska Rep. Mike Flood said that the problem is border security and that the Biden administration’s “open borders” have sent a message to other countries that the U.S. is welcoming whoever shows up.

“We need to put in place commonsense policies … and enforcing the laws that are already on the books,” he said. “The Biden administration needs to use every tool in the toolbox to unwind the crisis they’ve created.”

Flood, who visited the border earlier this year, said Nebraska is being affected by drugs brought in by people entering the country illegally.

He says Biden should be tightening restrictions on the border and sending a message to migrants that the U.S. will enforce its laws.

“It’s time to stop the drug and human trafficking,” Flood said last week on the Senate floor. “And it’s time, Mr. President, to finish the wall and reinstate the policies to remain in Mexico.”

Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska agreed, saying a secure border is important to keeping drugs such as fentanyl from getting into the state.

“When we can’t control who is entering our country and what they are bringing – that’s a serious national security risk,” she said in a statement.

Fischer also said that towns along the border simply can’t handle the number of people coming over and that if migrants continue to come into the U.S., they’ll only be homeless.

“We’re talking about people that are entering this country illegally at a pace that we cannot handle, that we cannot take care of these people in a humane manner,” she told Channel 8.

Fischer said that while security at the border is the top priority, reassessing legal immigration into U.S. could be beneficial in bringing in workers to areas like agriculture and tech in Nebraska.

“I’ve talked to roofers in Omaha and Lincoln who have summer help, seasonal help come in.” she said. “We have a visa system that’s not sufficient to meet the needs of the workforce … We need to look at our legal immigration policy and what we can do to bring in the workers that we need.”

The White House is responding to claims made by Republicans about the border, saying more resources are needed to handle the situation.

“If Republicans in Congress are serious about border security, they would ensure that the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security have the resources they need to secure our border and build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system,” spokesman Abdullah Hasan said in a statement.

Right now, the Biden administration is asking Congress for more than $3 billion for more resources to help manage the border.

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who recently announced her switch from Democrat to an independent, said the immigration crisis is a top priority for Arizona.

She said she wants to focus on both protecting the border and providing paths to citizenship for over 2 million dreamers.

“These are kids who were brought here through no fault of their own, are American in everything but paperwork and deserve to have the right to be American citizens, she said. “I was really proud that Arizona voters just a few weeks ago said that ‘Dreamers’ could now get in state tuition at college, but I want to make sure that when they finish school they can get jobs, build families and live the American dream, just like we have.”

“Dreamers” are people who were brough into the country illegally as children.

In California, shelters at the border have been overwhelmed as they process hundreds of asylum-seekers every day.

Gov. Gavin Newson said that state resources are being strained and that there will be kids left out on sidewalks if something doesn’t change.

“It’s an immigration system that has to be reformed,” he said. “And yet there’s no discussion of it in Congress because the Republican Congress wants nothing to do with it.”

The Nebraska Democratic Party said Republicans have been using immigrants for political stunts to spread misinformation.

Chair Jane Kleeb said immigrants who come to the U.S. can help fill the need for workers here.

“Treating immigration as a political football is not a solution,” she said. “Treating immigration as a problem to solve, as an ability to bring more folks to Nebraska so we have more folks to bring life to our rural communities — that’s something we want to see done.”

Kleeb said both undocumented and documented immigrants are a benefit to the agricultural industry in Nebraska and have helped to grow rural towns in the state.

“That is the way that our rural communities are gonna be revived,” she said. “So taking that head on and not treating immigrants and migrants as villains, but as future Americans, future Nebraskans, is the stance we should be taking.

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