President Biden may have mentioned the border crisis in his State of the Union (SOTU) address, but his remarks indicate he doesn’t understand the role he played in creating it.

In her SOTU response for the Republicans, Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) said:

“President Biden inherited the most secure border of all-time. But minutes after taking office, he suspended all deportations, halted construction of the border wall, and announced a plan to give amnesty to millions.”

“We know that President Biden didn’t just create this border crisis. He invited it with 94 executive actions in his first 100 days.”

The head of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd, also blames Biden for the border crisis:

“He has put us in the situation that we’ve never thought that we would ever be in. We’re apprehending seven times more people than what we normally apprehend. We have more than 10 times the got-aways. We’ve got more fentanyl coming into this country than we’ve ever seen before. We’ve got more dangerous criminals coming into this country than we’ve ever seen before.” 

Illegal immigration recently surged to the top of the most important problem list, but it has been a concern for a long time. Former President Bill Clinton expressed his concern about it in a SOTU address he gave 29 years ago:

“All Americans, not only in the States most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public service they use imposes burdens on our taxpayers. … We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.”

Instead of acknowledging his role in creating the border crisis and offering a way to turn the situation around, Biden offered partisan political talking points and complained that the Republicans won’t work with him to pass the Senate Border Act of 2024 (Border Act).

Although the Border Act does offer some superficial fixes, it would have little, if any, impact on the factors that attract illegal immigration: it’s too easy for migrants without a visa to get into the United States, and they are safe from deportation once they have reached the interior of the country. 


Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him at: