MGP calls on president to take additional action to secure southern border


Hours after President Joe Biden signed a foreign aid package worth $95 billion, Third Congressional District Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Washougal, called on the president to take additional action to protect the Southern border.

“We are also calling today on President Biden to use the authority given the executive by Congress to immediately reimplement 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(2)(C) and we are calling today on leaders in both the House and Senate to pass legislation to give Border Patrol back the expulsion authority that expired last year,” Gluesenkamp Perez said in a statement, signed by Reps. Jared Golden, D-Maine, Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, and Don Davis, D-North Carolina.

The statement comes after both chambers of Congress approved $61 billion in aid to Ukraine, $26 billion in aid to Israel, $8 billion in security funding to the Indo-Pacific Region and a potential ban on the social media app TikTok.

On Saturday, the five representatives were the only Democrats who voted in support of the End the Border Catastrophe Act, a proposal that would have reimplemented the “Remain in Mexico” policy and restarted construction of a wall along the southern border, among other immigration restrictions.

While the proposal received unanimous support among Republicans, and 215 representatives voted for its approval compared to 199 who voted against it, the legislation fell short of a two-thirds majority needed to pass.

“Our national security interests don’t stop at our physical borders. That is why we voted to send more weapons to Ukraine for its fight against Russia. The lesson of Pearl Harbor must not be forgotten: appeasement invites aggression against us. As Speaker Johnson stated last week, we would rather send 'bullets than American boys,’” the lawmakers said Wednesday. “Beyond defending our allies, we strongly agree with the National Border Patrol Council that Congress and the President must act and bring order to the Southern border.”

The statement notes that all five lawmakers voted to provide Border Patrol with $19.6 billion “so that it could ramp up its efforts to secure the border.”

The funding, which is $3 billion more than the president requested, includes $8.3 billion for U.S. Border Patrol operations and $850 million in procurement and construction.

In mid-February, Gluesenkamp Perez joined a bipartisan group of seven representatives in introducing the Defending Borders, Defending Democracies Act. While smaller in scope than the legislation that ultimately passed Saturday, the proposal would have provided defense-only spending to Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific.

The proposal would have also reimplemented a “remain in Mexico” policy for one year and required the secretary of homeland security to “suspend the entry of inadmissible aliens at a U.S. land or maritime border” if necessary for operational control.

In a statement Saturday, Gluesenkamp Perez noted a “worsening situation” at the southern border and said she is “committed to securing our border and halting the deadly flow of fentanyl into our communities.”

“President Biden has failed to end the crisis at our Southern Border, so I voted to do what he refuses to do: secure our border and stop the violent drug cartels pumping fentanyl into our country,” Gluesenkamp Perez said Saturday.

According to the Associated Press, the Border Patrol made 137,480 arrests of people crossing the southern border in March, a decrease from the 140,638 arrests the agency reported in February. The Associated Press noted that border crossings typically increase during warmer months.