WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) joined Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and nine other GOP colleagues in sending a letter to President Joe Biden requesting that he replace Vice President Kamala Harris with a new Border Czar in light of her failure to stem the flow of illegal migrants to the United States and work with our neighbors to secure the border. Due to the Administration’s actions, over the past year, there has been a 317 percent increase in encounters at the border.
The full text of the letter can be found here and below.
Dear Mr. President:
We write to ask that you appoint a new Border Czar to replace Vice President Harris, who completely failed to work with neighboring countries to stem the flow of illegal migrants into our country and secure the border. In fact, things have only gotten worse since her appointment as Border Czar.
As we have mentioned repeatedly, your administration’s rhetoric caused a surge in illegal immigration into our country. From August 2020 to August 2021, there has been a 317 percent increase in encounters at the border. The current surge is the largest in 20 years as illegal border crossings have increased substantially since you took office. For example, migrant encounters at the border have increased for six consecutive months. In August 2021, there were nearly 209,000 migrant encounters as compared to August 2020 when the number was only 50,000. Additionally, since January, your administration has released at least 225,000 migrants into the United States who illegally crossed the border. Finally, and most concerning, encounters with unaccompanied children are also rising; up 24 percent from June to July of this year alone.
Despite these alarming numbers, the Vice President only visited the southern border once, and that visit was hundreds of miles from the epicenter of the surge. Even her trip to Guatemala and Mexico intended to address the “root causes” of illegal immigration into America was a public relations disaster with absolutely no substantive policy commitments from neighboring countries.
As if to prove the point, last month, Panama’s foreign minister suggested your administration ignored early warnings as thousands of Haitian migrants made their way north, and eventually crossed the southern border near Del Rio, Texas. At one point, media reports indicated there were more than 14,000 migrants camped under a bridge near the border. Many of these migrants—despite originally being from Haiti—reported they came from South and Central America. Many stated that they made the dangerous journey because you, and Vice President Harris, promised to open America’s borders.
Over the past six months, Vice President Harris has done absolutely nothing to help secure our border, develop a strategy to partner with our neighbors, or even talk to the American people about the border crisis. It is stunning that America’s Border Czar was silent as thousands of Haitian migrants illegally crossed the border, and set up a de facto refugee camp in America. Now, with estimates that tens of thousands of additional migrants are headed toward the southern border, it is essential you replace Vice President Harris as Border Czar with someone more qualified and engaged for this important role.
The situation at the southern border is an unmitigated disaster and your administration is doing nothing to gain control of the situation; in fact, many of your policies are making the situation worse. You can begin correcting course by immediately replacing Vice President Kamala Harris with a Border Czar who is prepared, and willing to engage, to address the crisis at the southern border. America’s national security and health are at stake.