by Steve Fair, Fair and Biased

Up until the early 20th century, the United States had nearly open borders. Between 1890 and 1924, only about 1% of those trying to immigrate to America were rejected, usually because they failed a mental or health test. Until The Naturalization Act of 1906 was passed, individual states determined what constituted American citizenship with standards varied state by state. The federal bill standardized requirements to be a citizen and established the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to manage immigration.
Illegal immigration started to became an issue in the 1950s when the U.S. economy was booming and immigrates were drawn to America for a better life. Quotas (visas and citizenship) established by Congress and enforced by the INS created bottlenecks for immigrants trying to achieve legal status. Because the legal process was long and cumbersome, many abandoned trying to achieve citizenship, but stayed in the U.S. anyway.
In 1986, President Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act which allowed illegal immigrants to apply for legal status, provided they paid fines and back taxes. Three million illegals paid $185, vowed to learn to speak English and demonstrate good moral character. In exchange, they were given a path to citizenship. The unintended consequence of Reagan’s action was it encouraged more illegals to come to America. The population of illegals has risen from 5 million in 1986 to an estimated 11.1 million today. Three observations:
First, America is under invasion. What is happening at the southern border is not immigration, it’s invasion. At least two million people are illegally entering the United States annually at the southern border. The storming was triggered by President Biden. In his first 100 days in office, Biden stopped the construction of the border wall, halted deportations, and cut border security funding. The action resulted in a marked increase in illegal border crossings, creating not only a security crisis, but a health one as well.
Fentanyl is coming into the U.S. in record amounts. According to the DEA, fentanyl is made by cartels in Mexico with chemicals from China. Last year, the Border Patrol seized over 11,000 lbs of fentanyl at the border, which is equivalent to ½ million lethal doses. Overdoses of fentanyl are now the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18-45.
Second, President Biden should immediately secure the border. He opened it with an Executive Order (EO) and it can be closed with an EO. On Friday, Biden promoted a bipartisan Senate bill, authored by U.S. Senator James Lankford, (R-OK), that pairs southern border enforcement with Ukraine aid. If the bill makes it through the Senate, it is not likely to go anywhere in the House. Lankford has taken a lot of heat from Republicans for championing the bill. He has urged lawmakers to refrain from passing final judgment on the bill until they see the actual text of the bill. Lankford claims some conservative media are ‘spinning’ what is in the bill. Former President Trump has attacked the bill and claims it is a gift to the Democrats. Biden’s support of the Senate bill does raise a red flag since he ignored Congress back in 2021 when he created the current chaos by signing the EO.
Third, Texas isn’t waiting on the feds. The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled 5-4 last week Texas had to remove razor wire from Shelby Park in Eagle Pass. The park is a popular crossing spot for illegals from Mexico. Governor Greg Abbott says Texas has a right to defend itself from invasion and defied the ruling. Texas National Guard and state troopers continue to roll out wire and prevent federal agents from accessing the park. Abbott has vowed to ‘hold the line.’ He has been applauded by every Republican governor in the country, including Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt.
Kicking the illegal immigration issue down the road has been a bi-partisan practice. Congress has been relucent to take on the hot button issue, so each president, from both Parties – via Executive Orders – has dictated America’s immigration policy. It is past time for Congress to address immigration. It’s a matter of national security.
Steve Fair is Vice Chairman of the 4th district of the Oklahoma Republican Party. He can be reached by email at steve.fair@ymail.com. His blog is stevefair.blogspot.com.