Everywhere I go in Texas’ twenty-seventh district, border security is the first and last topic that comes up. CBP has reported over 8 million border encounters since 2021. Given this doesn’t include ‘gotaways,’ the real number is likely much higher. The vast majority of these cases involve cartels running drugs, trafficking victims, or criminal aliens flooding our streets. This is a total disaster, and unfortunately, Texas has been left to bear many of the consequences on our own.

I am gravely concerned and continue relentlessly pushing Congress to use the power of the purse strings and force change. At the same time, it is important for Texans to understand what specific choices led to the chaos we’re seeing at the border. Who is standing in the way of solving the problem? Sadly, that person is President Biden.

To be clear, blame is not enough. Congressional conservatives have taken a number of steps to force Joe Biden’s hand on border security, as we should. We passed H.R. 2, by far the strongest border security package in decades, that would close dozens of existing security loopholes. My team and I have fought for (and passed) multiple policy riders within spending bills, including funds for the southern border wall, defunding Homeland Security policies that encourage open borders, and reducing Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ salary to $0. The House also recently impeached Secretary Mayorkas, in only the second impeachment of a cabinet official in history.

But these steps, while positive, are not the fix-all, nor is the terrible “border bill in name only” that recently came out of the Senate which sends three times more money to Ukraine than it does to the border while failing to implement any serious security measures. The true fix and responsibility lies with President Biden. He has every tool he needs at his disposal to secure our border – the same tools President Trump had when our southern border was exponentially more secure than it is now.

The sad truth is, through his own actions, Biden has demonstrated he does not want a secure border.

Two days after his swearing-in, Joe Biden made the explicit choice to halt border wall construction. He signed an executive order that left billions of dollars worth of construction unfinished and left millions worth of materials unused, collecting dust on the border. It took Biden nearly three years to resume a meager dozen miles of wall construction, but even today, it is a half-hearted effort not designed for any real security. Secretary Mayorkas has even stated that they would not be building those sections if they weren’t required to by existing law.

Biden also spent his first days in the White House making specific choices to reverse successful border policies from President Trump. He ended Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy which required migrants claiming asylum to stay in Mexico until their case could be processed. Worse, Biden reinstated the dangerous ‘catch-and-release’ policy, releasing migrants into the country while awaiting a court hearing vs. holding them in detention facilities. Beyond just flooding our streets with unvetted migrants with no guarantee they even return for their court date, these policies have deadly consequences. This includes as recently as this week the tragedy of 22-year-old nursing student Lakyn Riley in Georgia who was murdered by a migrant who had twice entered the country illegally in April 2023, through Eagle Pass and El Paso, and was released both times – even with multiple assault charges on his record. Our own district suffered a similar tragedy late last year when an illegal immigrant murdered Lizbeth Medina, a 16-year-old high school student from Edna. Laykn and Lizbeth’s killers should never have been in the country, let alone on our streets free to hurt innocent people.

That Biden allows these policies to continue, while refusing to give border patrol personnel the resources and authority they need, is completely outrageous. He is putting Texas and the American people at risk each and every day with his choices.

Congress can – and should – do everything they possibly can to right his wrongs, including using the power of the purse to defund his detrimental policies. But the President must make the choice that only he can make, to reverse his devastating choices that have damaged the country and put innocent lives at risk.

Every day Joe Biden fails to change amounts to a dereliction of his duty. 

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.

Michael Cloud

Michael Cloud is a Constitutional Conservative who represents the 27th District of Texas in the United States Congress.