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Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (R) slammed the Biden administration’s open border policy Monday for allowing the crisis to spill into every state.
“Every town is a border town, every state is a border state,” Blackburn told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show.”
The Republican politician is putting forward a bill that would put in place former President Trump’s border policies so migrants seeking asylum would do so in their home country or in Mexico but not entering the U.S. illegally.
Nationally syndicated radio host Todd Starnes called Blackburn’s Make the Migrant Protection Protocols Mandatory Act of 2021 “commonsense legislation” to secure the border.
She pointed out Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 500,000 illegal aliens, from 160 different countries, since President Biden took office and the administration has placed them into communities across the country.
“The people in Tennessee are just astounded,” Blackburn added. “I hear from all of our local elected officials and sheriffs and police chiefs about the issues…communities are exploding with fentanyl and meth coming out of Mexico.”
Blackburn said the Chinese are partnering up with the cartels, noting that beyond drug trafficking the cartels are making more money trafficking people.
“The cartel has become so brazen, they are setting up their distribution centers on U.S. soil because our border is open and they’re taking full advantage of it,” she said.
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BEGINNING 80:33 ON THE TODDCAST PODCAST:
Below is a transcript of the interview:
STARNES: Senator, you have been fighting an incredible fight and raising awareness of what’s happening at the border. And you have a plan to start the solution to what’s happening, what’s going on.
BLACKBURN: What we know is that at our southern border, our Border Patrol has apprehended more than 500,000 illegal aliens since Joe Biden was sworn in as president. We also know that what they’re beginning to do is move these entrants, illegal entrants in our country, into communities across this country. So thereby every town is a border town, every state is a border state. And we do not know the purpose that these individuals are fighting here, coming to the country. And their asylum hearings are not going to take place for quite a while. We also have an issue at the border with what are called the ‘got aways’. If we know this, there are 500,000 that have been apprehended. We and people from 160 different countries have been apprehended so far this year. What we do not know is the ones that got away. And if there were those that are known on terrorist watch list, if there are other convicted murderers, if there are other MS 13 gang members that are in the got aways. And of course, this is something that is of concern. So my legislation would put in place the migrant protection protocols that President Trump had put in place so that we know who is going to be seeking asylum and, Todd, this means that they would remain in Mexico or they could apply for asylum in their home country, but they could not come to the U.S. illegally, enter the country and then make their asylum request. They would have to do it before they come to the country and thereby they would be coming in through the legal process, not the illegal process.
STARNES: I mean, this seems like a very common sense approach at securing the border and getting a clear understanding of who is trying to come into this country. I’m curious, you are back home in your state, so much of visiting your constituents. What are they telling you? What are the people in the Volunteer State telling you about the border?
BLACKBURN: The people in Tennessee are just astounded. You know, I hear from all of our local elected officials and sheriffs and police chiefs about the issues that are out there with meth and fentanyl that are coming back into our communities, you know, things had kind of tamped down a little bit. They felt like they had a handle on that, just like the Border Patrol said they had a handle on the border. And then all of a sudden in January, by the 1st of February, communities are exploding with fentanyl and meth coming out of Mexico. And, you know, the thing is, the Chinese are partnered up with these cartels that operate in Mexico and they have moved the labs out of China and into Mexico to actually produce the meth in the fentanyl. And it’s really cheap right now because of that. And then they have the drug runners moving it across the border. And, of course, the cartels right now are making more money on human trafficking than they are on drug trafficking. But, Todd, what we know that they are doing is the Border Patrol is stretched. You no longer have crews along the border building the border wall, which was the number one ask of the Border Patrol. So the crews are not there. So what does the cartel, their spies and surveillance operations that the cartels have that are overseeing the border on the Mexico side, they see where our border patrol are moving and then they are moving drugs the opposite direction and pushing them across the border and then into these safe houses and cartel operations. And I was talking with a former governor of one of our 50 states the other day, and he’s in the eastern part of the state. And he said, you know, we can tell you where the cartel is operating in our state. The cartel has become so brazen, they are setting up their distribution centers on U.S. soil because our border is open and they’re taking full advantage of it. And, you know, what we have to realize is cartels are big business and they’re making a lot of money moving people across the border. And as they’re doing that, they’re opening up pathways that their drug runners can carry the drugs across the border. And those drugs are ending up on the streets in the communities where your listeners live.
STARNES: Senator, I mean and by the way, folks, Senator Marsha Blackburn on the Liberty University newsmaker line. Senator, I’m curious, in the halls of Congress, are you finding any support at all among Democrats, even if it’s behind the scenes here? Do they understand what’s happening down on the border?
BLACKBURN: There are some Democrats who are beginning to say this is a crisis when they look at the southern border. That’s a good thing. That’s a positive step to have them say, yes, indeed. This is a crisis. That shows that they are moving a little bit on this issue. We need them to move a lot on this issue. I need them to support my legislation that would put these Trump administration migrant protection protocols back on the books. You know, when you talk to our local law enforcement and our Border Patrol and our ICE agents that are working on the border, they will tell you that during President Trump’s time, 2019, 2020, they had a handle on that border. They could actually do their job. But now when you have two, three and four times as many people every single day coming across that border as were coming across that border last year, at this time, it is impossible for them to do their job and Todd, one other thing. When you had these construction crews working on the border, building that wall, that’s like having another set of hands or another pair of eyes that are helping to watch out. The cartels are not going to be running people where those crews are building that wall.
So we need to go back to building that wall. We need to secure that border. Our Border Patrol has said three things. The wall, they need surveillance equipment because it is amazing, the cartel’s spy networks that are in place overlooking the mountains there on our border. And the third thing they need are more agents and officers on the ground doing patrols.
STARNES: Good stuff. It’s a terrific plan. Senator, we’re going to have to leave it there. We’re going to follow this story. And let’s just hope that some Democrats see the light here and join you in this fight to secure our borders. Senator, thank you. And by the way, folks, you got to get a copy of her book, “The Mind of a Conservative Woman: Seeking the Best for Family and Country.” Wherever you get your books. Senator, always a pleasure to have you on the program.
BLACKBURN: Good to be with you. Thank you. All right.
STARNES: Senator Marsha Blackburn, ladies and gentlemen, from the Volunteer State. And I’m telling you some of the stories that we are hearing from south of the border and along those border counties, it’s horrifying. I mean, it’s almost a war zone down there, especially for ranchers on our side of the border who are having to protect and defend their property every single day. And we’re not talking about the families coming across looking for a better life. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about very dangerous thugs, drug cartels, terrorists, people who want to harm Americans. And we’ve got to secure that border.