When I arrived in Washington, the government was shut down due to the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border. Six months later, as Democrats refuse to address this emergency, the crisis has deteriorated to the point that even the New York Times is urging Congress to take action before we run out of money to address this humanitarian disaster at the border.
This week, the Senate will work on legislation that allocates $4.5 billion for our southern border, which includes $3.3 billion to address the dire humanitarian crisis. The Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for providing care and shelter to unaccompanied migrant children, is out of money and without an emergency funding supplemental will be unable to provide shelter, food, and medicine for the 13,000 unaccompanied migrant children at the border.
In a letter to Congress this week, the heads of HHS and the Department of Homeland Security shared that Border Patrol agents are spending over half of their time caring for families and children instead of carrying out their law enforcement responsibilities, with agents making an average of 70 trips to hospitals each day to provide urgent care to these immigrants. By replenishing HHS, specifically the Office of Refugee Resettlement, we can expand shelter facilities and increase dedicated care for unaccompanied children.
Top Trump administration officials have told me these additional funds are desperately needed, as nearly 170,000 children have surrendered at our southern border in the last seven months — more than half of whom are under the age of 12. Their journey is incredibly dangerous: for example, DHS mandates that all girls arriving at the border over the age of 10 be given a pregnancy test due to the high risk of sexual assault on the trek. These funds would directly improve living conditions for these children.
If Congress truly wants to address the humanitarian crisis on our southern border, there is no better solution than ensuring the Office of Refugee Resettlement is adequately funded to handle this crisis. This should not be a partisan issue, but for those Democrats who claim to be concerned with the living conditions of children on our southern border, they will have no one to blame but themselves if they block this legislation that is even supported by the New York Times’ editorial board.
In addition to the humanitarian crisis, we have a security crisis. In the past year, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol apprehended over 460,000 immigrants who were caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, the highest number since 2009. Just in the month of May, Border Patrol encountered the highest monthly number of illegal immigrants in 13 years, and as the Washington Post reported, drug traffickers and human smugglers are taking advantage of our strained resources at the border. That’s why this legislation sets aside over $1 billion that will begin to address these concerns, because fixing the security crisis on our southern border means keeping drugs and dangerous criminals out of our country.
As a former entrepreneur, I’ve spent my entire life working on solutions, compromises, putting together deals, and delivering real results, which is exactly what this legislation does in terms of addressing the humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border. It’s my hope that Congress can come together this week and pass this desperately needed legislation to relieve some of the strain on our southern border.
Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican, is the junior senator from Indiana. He is a member of the Aging Committee, Agriculture Committee, Budget Committee, Environment & Public Works Committee, and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Before his election to the Senate in 2018, he was the founder and CEO of Meyer Distributing, a company he built in his hometown of Jasper that employs hundreds of Americans across the country.