In his address to a joint session of Congress, President Joe Biden proposed massive spending on new social programs and amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, but it was his failure to discuss what many view as the most pressing dilemma currently facing the country that prompted swift criticism from one prominent Democrat lawmaker.
As Breitbart reports, Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) slammed Biden for omitting from his Wednesday speech any plan to tackle the border crisis that has been worsening since he took office and pledged to “continue holding this administration accountable” over the increasingly untenable situation.
In a statement following the address, Sen. Kelly declared, “While I share President Biden’s urgency in fixing our broken immigration system, what I didn’t hear tonight was a plan to address the immediate crisis at the border,” suggesting that the administration needed to do more “to deliver the resources and staffing necessary for a humane, orderly process as we work to improve border security, support local economies, and fix our immigration system.”
Kelly’s observations are well-taken, given the startling facts on the ground at the southern border and the Biden administration’s lack of coordinated response plan. As Breitbart noted, last month alone, roughly 170,000 border crossers were apprehended by authorities – including over 18,600 unaccompanied minors. The president’s decisions to reinstate the Catch and Release system and to reverse Trump-era remain-in-Mexico policies are the key driver of the migrant influx, according to a recent study from the Center for Immigration Studies.
Despite having tapped Vice President Kamala Harris back in March to lead the administration’s response to the border crisis, Republicans have blasted her lack of action, noting that Harris has yet to even visit the region or hold a press conference to discuss a response plan. The administration has instead attempted to downplay the vice president’s true role, suggesting that she is focusing on the root causes of mass migration and that the problem is “not going to be solved overnight.”
While Biden has far-reaching plans when it comes to offering citizenship to millions living here illegally, GOP leaders including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have made it clear that unless the administration begins taking real action with regard to the border surge, those initiatives will face very real opposition, according to The Hill.
McConnell stated on Tuesday that “everybody is sympathetic with the [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] issue,” an indication that Republicans may be willing to consider citizenship for the discrete group of individuals known as “Dreamers.” However, he also cautioned, “I can’t imagine we wold take up an immigration-related bill, no matter how worthy it might be…without insistence on our part that we address the obvious crisis at the border.”
Last month, the House of Representatives passed a pair of bills intended to facilitate pathways to citizenship for roughly half of the illegal immigrants in the country, though success in the Senate is far from certain. Republican leaders, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) suggested that the House proposals were ill-timed in that the legislation “ignores the problem, but will actually worsen the situation,” according to the New York Post.
Though the administration seems determined to see just how long it can get away with neglecting the self-inflicted crisis at the southern border, it is at least encouraging to see Republican lawmakers – joined now by at least one Senate Democrat – demanding the accountability American citizens deserve.