Biden’s mandate will bring ‘order to the border’


Last week, President Biden signed an executive order shutting off asylum requests and automatically denying migrants entry to the United States when the number of people encountered by American border officials exceeds a new daily threshold.

I was honored to attend the White House ceremony announcing the new executive action to fix the asylum system and speed up deportations.

In May, together with my Republican colleague Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, of Pennsylvania, I urged the president to consider issuing an executive order to help “bring order to the border” by restricting the abuse of the asylum process by cartels guiding migrants between ports of entry, and raising the credible fear standard to a higher threshold.

I was buoyed by a article highlighting my message of bringing order to the border and calling me “the Democratic avatar of reclaiming the immigration issue from the GOP.”

The president has taken action — and now the GOP needs to stop acting out. No more excuses. To those Republicans who now say it’s too little, too late: Voters won’t be fooled. The Republicans in Congress failed to act on the bipartisan Senate bill proposed earlier this year, and their failure to act now is a cynical act of harming the country for their own political gain.

It’s time to stop the rhetoric and call a vote. Let’s secure the border and modernize legal immigration.

I have visited the southern border three times, meeting with border patrol agents, local law enforcement officials, mayors, businesses and nonprofits. I have seen the chaos there.

We cannot and will not solve complicated border and immigration problems simply by issuing executive orders. In Congress, Democrats and Republicans must work together. Only a bipartisan legislative solution will end the crisis.

For too many years, too many politicians have spent their time weaponizing immigration policy, but haven’t done a thing to fix it. The last immigration reform legislation was passed almost 40 years ago, in 1986. These laws are hopelessly outdated, and do not consider what’s happening today. Crime organizations and cartel “coyotes” are ruthlessly bringing people to our borders under false pretenses, teaching them how to scam the system, how to say the “right words” to claim asylum. The present border system was designed for fewer than 400,000 people, and now we are forced to deal with more than 2 million.

Asylum cases are taking up to eight years, and the fact is that during the first quarter of 2024, only 9 percent of asylum applications were accepted.

According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, immigration courts have a backlog of nearly 3.6 million cases. Of those, just under 1.3 million immigrants are awaiting asylum hearings.

The data indicate that courts are failing to keep up with cases. As of last month, 1,305,443 new cases had been filed in 2024, while 517,675 cases had been completed.

We need more border agents, more border officials and many more border judges.

Senators Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut; James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma; and Kyrsten Sinema, an independent from Arizona, negotiated a bipartisan compromise to hire more border agents, appoint more immigration judges, build more walls, ease the asylum backlog, and send money to states and cities crushed by the economic burden of migrants.

The bipartisan Senate compromise legislation would strengthen border security and legislatively repair the outdated asylum system. It was thwarted when former President Donald Trump demanded that Republican members of the House and Senate refuse to give President Biden “a win.”

This is partisan politics at its worst. Republicans seem more interested in scoring political points than solving the border crisis. As Sen. Mitt Romney said, “It’s appalling.”

For the good of our country, Congress must find common ground and pass legislation. I’ll work across the aisle to do what our leaders haven’t — secure our border. Close the routes used for illegal immigration, but open paths to citizenship for those willing to follow the rules and pay a fee to help finance it all.

Tom Suozzi represents the 3rd Congressional District.