Senator Lankford Helping Craft Border Security Provisions For Supplemental Aid Bill

The $100 billion package of aid for Israel and Ukraine that President Biden and Democrats want to pass also includes extra funding for border security, but Sen. Lankford and Republicans are saying they have to do more than just throw money at the problem—this is a true national security issue.

Wednesday, November 29th 2023, 5:42 pm



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A small, bipartisan group of United States Senators, including Oklahoma’s James Lankford, is working with quiet determination on legislation to better secure the southern border and reduce the flow of asylum-seeking migrants into the country.

The $100 billion package of aid for Israel and Ukraine that President Biden and Democrats want to pass also includes extra funding for border security, but Sen. Lankford and Republicans are saying they have to do more than just throw money at the problem—this is a true national security issue.

"We are not going to work on other people’s borders and continue to ignore ours," Lankford (R-OK) said in an interview Wednesday, "we’re just not gonna do that."

Immigration reform and border security have become Lankford's signature issue—he says something has to be done.

"In 2010, we had 21,000 people that requested asylum that year," Lankford explained, "we now have that every three days coming across our border."

The result, he says, is that communities and cities far from the border are now feeling the impact.

"Now we have the mayor of Chicago, the mayor of New York, the governors of all these blue states that are screaming and saying, make it stop."

Lankford says he and the administration know what needs to be done.

"The Department of Homeland Security knows what needs to be done; they’ve said it over and over again," Lankford recounted, "we have to have the ability to be able to turn people around at the border if they don’t qualify; If we have a delayed consequence, it is no consequence."

Lankford says on a typical day in October, approximately 8,000 migrants would illegally enter the country, each requesting asylum. He says, given current judicial capacity, about 500 would get hearings while the remaining 7,500 would be transported somewhere into the country to await a hearing sometime in the not very near future.

"[The solution] is actually doing the hearings at the border," Lankford stated. "This is not just releasing people into the country and asking them politely to show up at a hearing years from now."

Further, he says, the administration needs to enforce its own policy of refusing asylum to those who pass through another country to get to the U.S. -- the so-called 'safe third country' policy.

"You’ve got to have some way to have safe third country," Lankford said, "and you’ve got to have immediate consequences; if you can’t do those two things, you’ll never have control of your border."

Senator Lankford wouldn’t get into any of the specific areas of disagreement that have reportedly slowed the working group's progress on producing the proposed text; he just says they are all committed to solving the problem.

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