Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

Sen. Roger Marshall, M.D.

 By Sen. Roger Marshall, M.D. | Fox News | Published May 19, 2023 6:00am EDT


“The border is not open,” a lie repeatedly told to the American people by the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.  But that isn’t what I witnessed last week in Brownsville, TX, the epicenter of this crisis the night that Title 42 was lifted. The scene was bleak, morale was low, and there was no sign of this crisis ending anytime soon.  

Across the Rio Grande Valley intake centers there’s room for 4,500 migrants. However, when we arrived the number of migrants at the RGV facilities had already hit 7,300 and was steadily rising. The day before the border patrol had recorded 11,000 illegal migrants crossing the southern border, with more than 3,000 “got-a-ways.”   

We visited ‘Camp Monument,’ a small makeshift intake center that is completely overwhelmed. According to border patrol, the cartels know exactly how to exploit this weakness. Quickly after processing, these migrants will communicate back to those waiting across the border when to make their move. A cycle that never ends. 

El Paso border crossing
Migrants stand across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, in December 2022. (Border Patrol)

To my shock, the Mexican officials, and I assume the cartels indirectly, are in communication with our border patrol and are notified when CBP has room and space for the next wave to be processed. 

Brownsville is a hot spot for illegal crossings; thousands continue to pour into our country – unvetted – given shelter, supplies, food and, in many ways, freedom. There is no fear of the consequences from crossings. Our systems are so backed up that our court orders are largely a joke, and the smugglers know this. We’re telling migrants to show up for a court date five years later, in 2028, to assess their crime. By then, they will be long gone.  

Border patrol officers shared with us the harsh realities of this crisis and how they feel abandoned by this administration. They have lost all operational control and are forced into an impossible situation.  


Officers admitted to us only 10% of the agents are tasked with securing the border – while 90% are running the refugee camp, acting as nurses and social workers, processing and transporting migrants to their next destination.  

The magnitude of this crisis at our border should concern every American. The data we received, and the briefings given to us by border patrol, law enforcement and CBP do not reflect a border that’s “closed” but rather a border that has been erased by failed leadership in the White House. 

We heard the heartbreaking stories of repeated sexual assaults young women are enduring to come here, the massive drug smuggling operations the cartels are running with lethal fentanyl and confirmed our biggest fear – the cartels are calling the shots.  

The situation in Brownsville, the Rio Grande Valley and beyond is dire. A fifth-generation rancher told us the border crisis is the worst he has ever seen. A local Marine told us he was safer fighting in Afghanistan than living in Brownsville. 

Officers admitted to us only 10% of the agents are tasked with securing the border – while 90% are running the refugee camp, acting as nurses and social workers, processing and transporting migrants to their next destination.  

Each day that this crisis continues, the national security threat grows. In the Rio Grande Valley alone, they are averaging 90 Chinese military-aged nationals crossings every day. The largest number of Chinese nationals we’ve ever seen.  

As we saw this week, with the arrest of an Afghani on the terror watchlist in California and CBP announcing that 16 people on the FBI’s terror watchlist were arrested by border patrol at the southern border in April alone, these “got-aways” undoubtedly include terrorists, convicted criminals and the cartel’s drug smugglers.  

At what point does President Joe Biden look in the mirror and address the mess he’s created? Biden’s policies have created a draw for people worldwide to risk their own lives and their families as they put their care and safety into the hands of the cartels. We witnessed the impacts of a 3,000-mile journey for many: dehydration, malnutrition, injuries, disease and pestilence.   

Is this the America they were promised by this administration? Advertising freedom but instead living in the shadows owned by the cartel for years to come, even after they arrive?   

Yuma Arizona migrants released by Border Patrol
Migrants who have been processed by U.S. Border Patrol and have been released from their center, are given assistance from the Regional Center for Border Health to relocate to areas outside of Yuma, on Friday, May 12, 2023, in Somerton, AZ. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

On the night of our visit, as the clock ran out on Title 42, across the river thousands of migrants waited for their turn to cross the Rio Grande. We heard music, laughing, singing and cheering from these campsites. To me, that’s an obvious indication of how little they think of our border security measures – these migrants thought the worst part of their journey was over, and now, they just wait for their turn to cross.   

For our country to continue to be the best in the world, we must prioritize our safety, security, and restore law and order. That requires secure borders. 

But there is a solution. Every time I have visited the border, I asked the border patrol officers what they needed to keep our border secure. In the past, they have said more resources. This time their tone was different; they said very deliberately they do not need more resources; they need policies that we know work reinstated by this White House. Our agents on the front lines of this crisis need the president to reinstate the Remain in Mexico policy and eliminate the catch-and-release policies. 

This could all be accomplished quickly. Biden created this crisis, and he could end it with a stroke of his pen. 


Republican Roger Marshall, M.D., represents Kansas in the U.S. Senate. Previously he was the congressman for Kansas’ 1st District. Prior to Congress, Dr. Marshall was a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist in Great Bend, Kansas. He received his M.D. at the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine in 1987.


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