Michigan House Republicans

House Republican Leader Matt Hall and Senate Republican Leader Aric Nesbitt discuss the border crisis with Texas law enforcement involved in Operation Lone Star on stand in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Friday, April 12.

Hall, Nesbitt witness border crisis firsthand in visit to southern border
RELEASE|April 15, 2024
Contact: Matt Hall

House Republican Leader Matt Hall and Senate Republican Leader Aric Nesbitt last week visited the United States’ southern border with Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, where they observed National Guard units from Texas and other states combat the border crisis that has surged on Joe Biden’s watch.

Joined by officials from other states, the legislative leaders met with Texas officials and witnessed illegal aliens attempting to cross the border away from ports of entry. The work in Eagle Pass is part of Texas’ Operation Lone Star, which Gov. Greg Abbott launched in 2021 to fill the void in border security created by the Biden administration’s failures and crack down on illegal drugs that are trafficked across the border. Operation Lone Star builds fencing and other physical barriers to reduce illegal crossings, performs border surveillance, and conducts search and rescue along the border. The operation has seized more than 57,000 pounds of meth, 10,000 firearms, and 473 million lethal doses of fentanyl.

Aliens who get caught after crossing the border illegally often file asylum claims as a defense against deportation, and Biden’s ongoing dismantling of former President Donald Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy has allowed more asylum seekers to stay in the United States while their asylum claim is pending, many asylum cases remain pending without a hearing for more than 10 years. At the same time, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Newcomer Rental Subsidy program offers rent assistance to these illegal entrants with pending asylum applications, and she’s proposing taxpayer-funded legal representation for asylum seekers. More than 97% of asylum claims filed in fiscal year 2023 are defensive, and a minority of asylum seekers have their claims granted.

Hall, R-Richland Township, said: “In Texas, I witnessed the immigration crisis firsthand. Illegal aliens are pouring over our borders since Biden undid the successful Remain in Mexico policy, and his mistake is now letting illegal aliens exploit the asylum process to stay in the country for years on end. In Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer is trying to talk tough while using taxpayer-funded aid to encourage these very illegal aliens. First she offered them rent assistance, and now she’s hoping to pay attorneys to help them obstruct deportation. Vigilant National Guard troops from other states are tirelessly confronting the illegal immigration crisis even as Joe Biden refuses to keep our country safe. It’s time for Democrats to listen to the American people — including legal immigrants — and get serious about securing our border and protecting our communities. Gov. Whitmer should stop trying to dole out taxpayer dollars to reward illegal immigrants and start sending our troops to help stop the crisis on the frontlines.”

The dangers of the border crisis reach far beyond southwest border communities. Multiple illegal aliens have been arrested for violent crimes in Michigan in recent months, including murder, soliciting sex with a minor, and sexual assault. The visit also comes as the Whitmer administration pushes policies and proposals to offer taxpayer-funded assistance to people who entered the country illegally.

Nesbitt, R-Porter Township, said: “We’ve all heard about the Biden border crisis; it’s even more shocking to witness the chaos unfold before your own eyes. The Biden administration’s failure to protect our nation’s borders has created a national crisis that is endangering the lives and livelihoods of Americans from Texas to Michigan. Deadly fentanyl trafficking is killing thousands, and criminals taking advantage of self-proclaimed sanctuary communities are harming our loved ones right here in our home state. Republicans have introduced plans to combat this crisis on both fronts here in Michigan, but the Democrat majority has refused to even hold hearings. When will they stop playing political theater to protect their party’s president and start protecting the people of Michigan?”

Hall and Nesbitt have led efforts in the Michigan Legislature to combat the illegal immigration crisis where it affects Michigan policy. Both have called for a ban on local sanctuary policies that inhibit local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration officers. They are also working to crack down on the distribution of deadly fentanyl, which international gangs have proliferated, and to hold the Whitmer administration accountable for her “Newcomer Rental Subsidy” program criteria that are so sweeping that they offer rent assistance to illegal aliens who got arrested and then claimed asylum to avoid deportation. Whitmer is proposing $8 million in her budget for “New Michigander Immigration and Legal Services,” which would subsidize legal services for asylum seekers, even though more than 97% of asylum seekers in fiscal year 2023 claimed asylum defensively after they were facing deportation and most asylum claims get denied. Whitmer on Monday claimed to the press that she believes people here illegally should not have access to state benefits, but the fact that her rent program and proposed legal aid program include individuals with a pending defensive asylum application belie the claim.

As of 2023, Biden’s failed immigration enforcement has resulted in more than 1.7 million gotaways — illegal crossers who were not apprehended — at the southwest border.

House Republican Leader Matt Hall and Senate Republican Leader Aric Nesbitt stand on an airboat on the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Friday, April 12, as they discuss the border crisis with Texas law enforcement involved in Operation Lone Star.
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