U.S. Sen. Pete Ricketts: Our southern border is the most pressing national security issue

Pete Ricketts

YORK – U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts was in York Monday afternoon to talk with residents about the grave concerns over the security of the country’s southern border, calling it “the most pressing national security issue” faced by America, as well as saying the immigration issue there is “catastrophic.”

Sen. Ricketts spoke for an hour at the Kilgore Library, after being introduced by York Mayor Barry Redfern.

“Biden promised a path to citizenship and said he would stop locking people up who tried to enter illegally, he would not deport them, he said we would keep them safe until they became citizens. He changed, on day one, the Trump policies that had been successful in keeping down illegal crossings. Biden stopped building the wall, he suspended deportations and all those things sent a message, all over the world, that our southern border is now open,” Ricketts said Monday.

The numbers are staggering, as far as how many people tried to cross the southern border during the Trump Administration – 500,000 – compared to the number of people who actually crossed over during the Biden Administration. Ricketts presented figures as high as 1.7 million in Biden’s first year of presidency, 2.4 million in his second year, 2.5 million in his third year. And they continue to grow.

“And these figures don’t include the get-aways,” Senator Ricketts said, adding, “nine million have crossed or attempted to cross since the Biden Administration began.”

Sen. Ricketts said states like Nebraska don’t have to be on the border to see the effects.

“When I was governor, we saw this impact on our state right away,” Ricketts told the crowd. “I, along with other Republican governors, asked President Biden to help us and he refused. We met, with the governor of Texas, and our plan included how those seeking asylum would need to stay in Mexico while being processed,” as just one aspect of solving this problem.

He said they presented their solutions and asked for help from the administration, “but he would do none of those things.”

“Part of what Biden is doing is abuse the system,” Ricketts said, referring to the parole system (not the same as court paroles) in which individuals are granted asylum. He said during both the Obama and Trump administrations, only 5,000 people were given paroles. Sen. Ricketts said Biden has already done it 1.2 million times.

And included in blanket paroles have been those for individuals who ended up being murderers, drug dealers, human traffickers.

“The parole system is being abused and the cartels are coaching people as to what to say as they ask for asylum,” Sen. Ricketts said.

He also noted how individuals are just being released into the country – they are just allowed to enter while their citizenship court dates loom four years or more into the future, court dates most don’t attend anyway.

“The system has completely broken down, this system encourages people to come into the United States illegally, from all over the world,” Ricketts said. As an example, he said in San Diego, in a 3-day timeframe, “more Chinese nationals entered the country than they had through the rest of the southern border.

“Biden also ended the required DNA testing of children, which was used to prove they were with the people who were actually their parents, their family members,” Ricketts said. “The Trump Administration required this, which cut down, drastically, on the trafficking of children. Biden ended the DNA testing of children, which has led to a catastrophic situation in which children are being trafficked.”

Sen. Ricketts also focused on the drug trafficking situation that has escalated since the border crisis started – noting fentanyl has become a leading killer of American citizens. He explained how the deadly drug is made in China, shipped to Mexico and then brought across the border.

“In Nebraska alone, in 2019, law enforcement officers recovered 46 fentanyl pills,” Sen. Ricketts said. “But in 2021, Nebraska law enforcement officers seized 151,000.” And the number continues to grow.

The discovery and seizure of fentanyl, just here in York County, has grown exponentially, as seen by arrests made by the Nebraska State Patrol, the York County Sheriff’s Department and the York Police Department.

“Every state is a border state at this point,” Ricketts said. “What we have at our southern border is a catastrophe.”

He also added that 160 people, who are on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist watch list, entered the country through the southern border.

Those are the ones they know about.

He called the situation a humanitarian crisis, a national security crisis. “And yet, Biden will do nothing to secure the border. I’ve been at the southern border four times and our border patrol say they need people, they need equipment, but mostly they need a change in policy.”

Ricketts noted that he and fellow Republicans have introduced bills to address this situation, but none of them have been addressed. He also said he hasn’t been able to get on board with any other bills (which also included aid for Ukraine and Israel) because they didn’t do near enough to address the situation at this country’s southern border.

“I also opposed the bill’s taxpayer-funded bailout of sanctuary cities,” Ricketts said. “These cities refuse to enforce our immigration laws. Nebraska taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for the failed policies of Democrat-run cities and states like Chicago, New York and California.”

As far as Democrats alleging Republicans are holding out on approving legislation, per requests from Donald Trump, Ricketts was quick to say, “That legislation was bad enough not to pass without any pushes from Donald Trump.”

“As you saw, Biden went down there, he saw what was happening and yet nothing has changed,” Sen. Ricketts said. “We do not have control of our southern border. President Biden has all the authorities President Trump did when Trump reduced the illegal crossings, as he did – yet, Biden does nothing.”

“President Biden claims he needs new legislation to secure our southern border,” Ricketts said. “That’s just not true. President Trump brought border crossings to a 45-year low. He used the same laws currently available to Biden. Biden is just playing politics and refusing to do his job. He has not been serious about negotiating real solutions to keep America safe.”

Pete Ricketts & Barry Redfern



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