Last week, President Joe Biden took a victory lap following news that our southern border had “only” 156,274 illegal encounters in January. Not only does his spin ignore the fact that last month was the worst January on record in over 20 years for illegal encounters at our southern border; it ignores the worsening cost at our northern border.
My district in upstate New York includes six counties in the Swanton Sector, the most active sector of our northern border. In just the first three months of this fiscal year, Biden’s failure to secure the southern border has increased illegal encounters in the Swanton Sector by over 700%.
And it’s getting worse. Last month, this sector had more illegal encounters than the previous 12 Januarys combined, a direct result of Biden and New York Democrats’ policies, which have incentivized illegal immigrants to pour into the state.
Northern Border Patrol agents, including many from my district, who were deployed with no advance notice to the southern border have found themselves understaffed and overworked throughout Biden’s first term. Even many who were allowed to remain at the northern border were forced to work remotely, processing migrants in Texas — meaning less attention to the north.
Bottom line: Reckless Biden policies have jeopardized national security at the US-Canada border and the operational readiness of its Border Patrol agents there. With the northern border more vulnerable, migrants from Mexico have begun flying to Canada in the hopes of illegally crossing into the United States — even amid freezing temperatures. For many, the cost to be illegally smuggled in this way is significantly less than at our southern border, a tragic business that has brought in $13 billion for violent criminal cartels in Mexico.
On Biden’s watch, Mexico’s cartels are thriving in New York. Over the past two years, Democrats’ open-border policies have let record amounts of illicit fentanyl flood our communities and create a deadly epidemic across the country.
As of 2022, the majority of Empire State overdose deaths involve fentanyl. Federal officials reported seizing enough doses statewide last year to take the life of every single person in my district — 100 times over.
Sadly, last year was not New York’s first experience with Joe Biden’s border crisis. In 2021, I led the charge against Biden’s taxpayer-funded flights relocating migrants from the southern border to New York in the dark of night, which the president used to cover up the humanitarian crisis at the border.
Last month, reports surfaced that the Biden administration had resettled more than 30 of these migrants in Jamestown, NY, a community of only 28,393 people without adequate resources to address an influx of migrants.
Instead of calling for an end to these failed far-left policies, Mayor Eric Adams has now spent half a billion taxpayer dollars on migrant-associated costs, including housing in hotels, and has doubled down by unlawfully abusing his power to hand out taxpayer-funded bus tickets for illegal immigrants. Some of the buses are traveling right through my district.
In the midst of this crisis, Gov. Kathy Hochul is allowing illegal immigrants to qualify for free health care, tuition and drivers licenses. These policies only incentivize more illegal immigrants to pour into upstate New York.
In Congress, I’m working with my New York Republican colleagues to demand answers for New Yorkers on why their hard-earned taxpayer dollars are being spent to help illegal immigrants violate the law and the whereabouts of every migrant relocated to New York.
Instead of ending his open-border policies and working with Republicans to secure the border, Biden has chosen to pass the buck and shift his crisis across New York — with Hochul and Adams enabling this failed far-left agenda.
Following two years of one-party Democratic rule in Washington, accountability is coming. House Republicans are laser-focused on fulfilling our commitment to making the nation safe by working to secure our borders, fully fund strong border enforcement, end reckless catch-and-release loopholes and permanently criminalize illicit fentanyl.
I’m fighting to hold the Biden administration accountable for this border crisis on behalf of New York families. Our upstate communities simply cannot bear this burden, and our taxpayers should not have to pay the price.
Over the past two years, Democrats’ open-border policies have let record amounts of illicit fentanyl create a deadly epidemic in the US.US Border Patrol Swanton Sector/Facebook
Rep. Elise Stefanik represents New York’s 21st Congressional District, which borders Canada, and is the House Republican conference chairwoman and co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus.