Chairman Green Op-Ed Pre-empts Likely Biden Claims About Border Crisis in SOTU: Americans Must “Hold the President Accountable” to the Facts


Chairman Green Op-Ed Pre-empts Likely Biden Claims About Border Crisis in SOTU: Americans Must “Hold the President Accountable” to the Facts

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) published an op-ed in The Epoch Times pre-empting several of the false and misleading claims President Joe Biden is likely to make tonight in his State of the Union address about the unprecedented border crisis. 

Three Key Border Issues to Watch for in Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address 

Chairman Mark Green

March 7, 2024

This evening, President Joe Biden will make what could be his final State of the Union address. Expect a great deal of blame-shifting about the border. 

The first excuse President Biden is likely to deploy is that only Congress can clean up the mess he and his now-impeached Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas have made. This is nonsense. 

It is true that America’s legal immigration system is in much need of reform and repair. However, the laws in place to deal with border security work—when they’re enforced, as demonstrated by previous administrations of both parties. The Biden administration is the historical anomaly. 

Upon taking office, the president immediately issued dozens of executive orders essentially undoing effective border security policies. In their place, Secretary Mayorkas instituted an agenda of mass catch-and-release, created numerous unlawful mass-parole programs, and made it harder for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to detain and remove illegal aliens. These actions have created perverse incentives for individuals across the world to enter our country illegally.

All of this could be undone with the stroke of a pen. 

It is also worth noting the president’s own inconsistency on this issue. He infamously said on Jan. 30, 2024, “I’ve done all I can do” to secure the border, only to later be reportedly considering new executive actions to address the crisis. 

His rhetoric is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. If the president wants a solution, however, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the “Secure the Border Act,” in May of last year, which would effectively end this crisis if the Democrat-led Senate would send it to his desk. 

The second excuse will be to blame Congress for the level of resources it has provided. This claim falls apart on the most cursory inspection. Consider first that Congress has increased CBP’s funding for operations and support, as well as procurement and construction, by $2.98 billion since Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, while increasing ICE operations and support funding by $860 million. 

The president’s rhetoric often fails to match his actions. For example, H.R. 2 would fund a Border Patrol force of roughly 22,000 agents—the number Border Patrol officials say they need, and around 3,000 more than they currently have. Meanwhile, the president’s own supplemental request only funds around 1,300 new agents. 

In his FY2024 budget, President Biden requested a 10% cut, roughly $1.8 billion, to Customs and Border Protection’s Operations and Support budget compared to what Congress enacted in FY2023. ICE operations also went on the chopping block, with President Biden slashing the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations budget nearly $700 million—a 15% reduction from FY2023 enacted levels. 

Secretary Mayorkas’ abuse of detention is another easy argument against President Biden’s claims. In its FY2021 budget, the Trump administration requested 60,000 ICE beds. However, in the Biden administration’s first budget (FY2022), DHS asked for only 32,500 beds, then 25,000 in FY2023 and FY2024. As increasing numbers of illegal aliens have crossed the border, President Biden and his DHS secretary have asked for less detention space. 

Secretary Mayorkas has further refused to use all the beds Congress has funded. Contractors who manage detention facilities have consistently provided data to my Committee showing thousands of beds going unused—a massive waste of taxpayer resources.

Perhaps Oklahoma Senator James Lankford put it best to Secretary Mayorkas during a May 2022 hearing, saying, “It’s hard for me to process when you’re saying, ‘We’re limited on space,’ but literally your budget asks for even less space.” 

Even the call for more money for Non-Intrusive Inspection technology at ports of entry to catch fentanyl coming across the border is nothing more than a Band-Aid on a sucking chest wound. Since FY2018, Congress has spent almost $2 billion on this technology, but as of early 2023, only around two percent of passenger vehicles and 17% of commercial vehicles were being inspected with it. 

This is a crisis of leadership, not of resources. 

Lastly, expect President Biden to push for the Senate border bill that failed on a bipartisan basis last month. Among other drawbacks, this bill would have effectively legitimized tens of thousands of illegal border crossings every month before DHS could choose to invoke certain “emergency” measures. It would have failed to close a loophole used by criminal cartels to exploit unaccompanied minors. It would have redefined legally mandated detention of illegal aliens as “noncustodial detention,” meaning everyone is released—unaccompanied minors and families without any supervision. The bill would have expanded the definition of parole and used taxpayer funds to pay for legal representation of unaccompanied minors. 

This bill was not the answer to the crisis—and President Biden knows it. 

When he steps into the well Thursday night, it is important the American people know the facts, and hold the president accountable to them. 


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at