Oklahoma GOP Senator James Lankford painted a frightening picture of what is happening at the southern border, during a debate on the Senate floor over a proposed omnibus spending package.
Lankford began by noting the lassitude of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in reporting the massive numbers of illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S.
“It’s the 21st of December, and we don’t have information from the Department of Homeland Security on how many people illegally crossed out border in November,” he stated.
Lankford pointed out that former head of DHS Jeh Johnson said that during his tenure he got a report every day as to how many people had illegally crossed the border the day before. He noted that Johnson had said when he was head of DHS that he knew it was going to be a very bad day when 1,000 people crossed the border illegally the day before.
“Best guess over the last 24 hours?” Lankford said. “9,000 people illegally crossed our border in the last 24 hours. … The Secretary does know because they keep records to the hour but they don’t let Congress know that because they don’t want the American people to know what’s really happening on the border right now.”
“To put it in perspective, what’s going on on our southern border, even before the Title 42 authority goes away … the Obama administration, the big year of the largest surge that happened on our southern border during the Obama administration was just over half a million people illegally crossed that year,” he declared. “The best we can tell, we’ve had half a million people illegally cross our border in the last two months. This is full-on crisis.”
Lankford pointed out that in 2022, “1.3 million people have crossed our border illegally, less than 70,000 have actually been deported this year. That is a record-low number.”
“I’ve asked the Secretary how many individuals have had criminal vetting from the country of origin, and his answer was, ‘I’ll get back to you on that,’” Lankford charged. “He knows the same answer that I do. The answer’s zero.”
Then Lankford warned that Americans had no idea of just who they were letting in the country.
“The American people believe there’s some kind of vetting happening coming across the border, there’s not. They’re checked to see if they’re on the terror watch list; they’re checked to see if they’ve committed a crime in the United States, but we literally don’t know the individuals crossing the border — from over 150 countries so far this year — we literally don’t know if they’re fleeing poverty or fleeing justice. We have no idea because no one’s checked,” he said.
Lankford said that the vast majority of the immigrants are given parole, enabling them to get a work permit their first day, then they are set up for a hearing with ICE, which could take five years, then 10 years after that “for the next time.”
“So they’re currently up to 15 years that they’re in the country with a work permit,” he noted.