Hogan for Maryland

Governor Hogan’s Washington Times Op-Ed: Do Not Let Politicians Continue to Ignore What I Saw at the Border

Read online here.

Traveling across Maryland, I’ve heard from Republicans, Democrats and independents who do not see the crisis at the border as just another partisan issue. They rightly see it as a tragic humanitarian issue that is devastating our communities. Unfortunately, far too many partisan politicians haven’t gotten the message.

Both of my potential opponents in the race to serve Maryland in the U.S. Senate have supported sanctuary policies that prevent law enforcement from doing their jobs. One of these candidates even recently said, “Forget about the border,” claiming it’s just a “Republican talking point and a distraction.”

On Thursday, I traveled to McAllen, Texas, to meet with local, state and federal law enforcement at the border. The human toll of the realities we saw and heard should shock every American. Our law enforcement and immigration systems are completely overwhelmed.

The immigration court backlog is at a record high of nearly 3.5 million cases, with an average wait time for an asylum hearing of four years. As a result, many migrants crossing the border illegally simply claim asylum and are let into the country for years, regardless of whether they qualify. This included more than 85,000 unaccompanied children who are now unaccounted for.

We are on pace this year for more than 2 million migrant encounters for the third consecutive fiscal year. Since President Biden took office, there have been more than 10 million illegal border crossings. This rate of entry is unprecedented in U.S. history. The humanitarian crisis at the border has become a perfect storm of chaos for criminal cartels that are profiting from a surge in human trafficking and the smuggling of fentanyl and other illicit drugs.

Even more disturbing, the crisis at the border is not only a regional challenge but also a global security threat. Last year was the first time that a majority of border encounters were migrants from outside Mexico and the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras). More and more illegal immigrants are coming from other continents, including from the Middle East and especially China.

The crisis at the border is a major vulnerability that those who wish our nation harm are likely already exploiting. This is a national security threat that leaders in both parties have failed to take seriously.

As a result of Washington’s inaction, every state in America is now effectively a border state. Maryland, like so many other states, has been devastated by the fentanyl epidemic. More than 2,000 people die in Maryland each year from fentanyl overdoses. The failure to enforce immigration law also produces unfathomable tragedies that should have never happened. Earlier this year, officials in Montgomery County twice released an illegal immigrant who was later arrested in the killing of a 2-year-old.

As governor, I fought to stop Maryland from being a sanctuary state, but this crisis ultimately requires federal action. The solutions are not complicated: Fix the asylum process, send more resources to law enforcement on the border with more Customs and Border Protection agents, increase the number of immigration judges, and dismantle the criminal cartel networks.

Leaders in both parties need to come together and get the job done. That won’t happen if we keep sending partisan politicians to Congress. Earlier this year, when I saw a bipartisan compromise that would have helped secure the border fail because of politics, I decided I needed to step up and do something about it by running for the Senate.

For far too long, Washington politicians have cared more about keeping the border a campaign issue than finding actual solutions. I share the frustration of tens of thousands of Marylanders who waited years to come to our country legally and are now wondering why millions of migrants can break the law and stay.

This is far bigger than the failures of one president or one Congress. The failures are decades in the making. Of course, we can and should also fix the broken immigration system. There are countless issues that must be addressed, but we are sick and tired of the gridlock and the partisan nonsense.

From deep-blue Maryland to blazing-red Texas, Americans are demanding Washington finally take action. It’s time politicians stopped trying to score political points and started recognizing the urgent need for bipartisan, commonsense solutions.

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