(The Center Square) — More than half of all U.S. governors have called on President Joe Biden to end what they describe as a national security and public health crisis at the southern border. The 26 governors also requested a meeting with the president at the White House to “bring an end to the national security crisis created by eight months of unenforced borders.”
“The months-long surge in illegal crossings has instigated an international humanitarian crisis, spurred a spike in international criminal activity, and opened the floodgates to human traffickers and drug smugglers endangering public health and safety in our states,” the governors, led by Republicans Doug Ducey of Arizona and Greg Abbott of Texas, wrote in a letter.
“A crisis that began at our southern border now extends beyond to every state and requires immediate action before the situation worsens,” they argue. “The negative impacts of an unenforced border policy on the American people can no longer be ignored.”
Compared to the same time last year, border apprehensions have increased by nearly 500%, with August’s numbers surpassing over 209,000 people entering the U.S. illegally. To date this year, more than 1.3 million people have entered the U.S. illegally, a number greater than the populations of nine states. These numbers exclude the hundreds of thousands of “got-aways,” those who evade capture.
Among those being apprehended, 9,700 were found to have prior criminal convictions, including registered sex offenders who were previously convicted and served time in U.S. prisons. Many were released and deported only to reenter the U.S. again illegally this year. Because Border Patrol agents do not have access to criminal records from other countries, they rely on information reported in the National Crime Information Center database. These individuals were already in the U.S. NCIC database.
According to Sept. 15 CBP data, nearly 209,000 people (208,887) crossed the southwest border illegally.
The number of family units apprehended increased by 4% to nearly 80,000 — the second-highest recorded number ever, and more than three times higher than in August 2020.
Another record set in August was the third-highest monthly total ever recorded of unaccompanied minor children apprehended: 18,534. Before this year, the number of unaccompanied children never exceeded 11,500 per month. Yet, since March, the number has never fallen below 13,800.
In addition to the illegal entry of people, the illegal entry of drugs has also escalated this year.
More fentanyl was seized this fiscal year than the last three years combined — nearly 10,500 pounds. Just two milligrams can be fatal. The amount of fentanyl that has come in through the southern border because of Biden’s policies, the governors argue, is enough to kill seven times the entire U.S. population.
Because Biden has abdicated his responsibility to secure the border, the governors say, states have had to take action.
Ducey and Abbott earlier this year formed an interstate compact, calling on law enforcement officials to help with apprehensions.
“While governors are doing what we can, our Constitution requires that the President must faithfully execute the immigration laws passed by Congress. Not only has the federal government created a crisis, but it has also left our states to deal with challenges that only the federal government has a duty to solve,” they write.
The governors urge Biden to convene the meeting as soon as possible and no longer than two weeks after receiving the letter, suggesting that they will take legal action if they receive no response.
The president has not yet officially replied.