Nesbitt Detroit News Op-Ed: It’s time to get serious about securing the border

Nesbitt Detroit News Op-Ed: It’s time to get serious about securing the border

The tidal wave of illegal crossings that have taken place along our nation’s southern border since President Joe Biden first took office is swelling to catastrophic proportions. It is imperative state leaders step up to protect our residents where the federal government is failing them.

It is estimated that more than 7.2 million immigrants have entered the United States through our southern border illegally since Biden took the oath of office, an amount larger than the population of 36 states.

It’s one thing to read and hear about this growing problem through news sources and statistics; it’s another thing to be on the front lines and see it with your own eyes. Last month, Republican House Leader Matt Hall and I had the opportunity to visit the front lines of this national crisis along the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, as guests of the state’s Operation Lone Star program.

Texas is spending billions of its own state resources — money that could otherwise be spent on infrastructure and education — to secure and protect its border with Mexico because the U.S. government has abandoned its duty under the failed leadership of Biden.

Operation Lone Star — now with support from National Guard units from several states — performs border surveillance to direct migrants toward legal points of entry as it works to reduce the number of illegal crossings and the need for dangerous search and rescue missions.

While it is important to continue opening the doors to the American dream, this cannot be achieved through lawlessness and chaos. Law and order must be observed and enforced to protect American citizens and U.S. sovereignty.

Since the dismantling of the “Remain in Mexico” policy, people caught crossing the border illegally often file asylum claims as a defense against deportation and are then released into the United States while their claim is pending — with hearings set for 6 to 10 years away because of the sheer volume of these cases — they can disappear into society virtually without a trace.

We now find these immigrants are taking refuge in self-proclaimed sanctuary cities, where they will not face deportation for wrongdoing and states where taxpayer-funded welfare programs are popping up to support them. In Michigan, our own governor has championed these dangerous open-border policies.

This open invasion has allowed unfathomable amounts of drugs, human trafficking and our nation’s enemies to flow into our country.

From March 2021 to April 2024, Operation Lone Star officers have seized more than 473 million lethal doses of fentanyl, 57,000 pounds of meth, and 10,000 firearms. They have apprehended hundreds of thousands of immigrants from U.S. adversaries, including Afghanistan, China, Iran and Russia.

Multiple immigrants who came here illegally have been arrested for violent crimes in Michigan in recent months, including the solicitation of sex with a minorsexual assault, a deadly hit-and-run, and murder.

These growing concerns call for urgent attention, and the Legislature has a duty to the people of Michigan to protect our communities.

Senate Republicans have already introduced plans to increase penalties against fentanyl trafficking and ban rogue sanctuary cities and counties, but the Democrat majority has refused to even hold hearings.

Senate Democrats also have blocked funding to send Michigan National Guard Troops to assist at the southern border and refused to put protections in place to keep tax dollars from being spent on rent and legal fees for those who are here illegally.

Defending our national security should not be a partisan issue.

It’s time for Democrats and our governor to listen to Michigan residents and get serious about securing our national border and keeping our local communities safe.

State Sen. Aric Nesbitt, R-Porter Township, serves as the Senate Republican Leader and represents Michigan’s 20th Senate District.  This op-ed appeared in the May 14, 2024 edition of The Detroit News.

Skip to content