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Joe Wilson, Republican

I am pleased that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally allowed the House to vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan humanitarian aid package last week. Prior to this, House Republicans had tried over 17 times to address the humanitarian and national security crisis at our border. The $4.6 billion emergency spending bill passed 305-to-102 and will provide necessary funding, resources and flexibility to allow the Trump Administration to respond to the crisis at our southern border. But, there is still more to be done.

While Congress is supposed to be focused on keeping the American people safe, some are only focused on their own political gain with their sights set on impeaching President Donald Trump.

The attacks on our president are baseless and destructive for our country. Meanwhile, illegal immigration is surging to new heights – the number of people apprehended in this fiscal year surpasses any fiscal year total since 2009.

So far, the U.S. Border Patrol has reached close to 600,000 apprehensions in fiscal year 2019. A total of 396,000 were apprehended in fiscal year 2018. Last month, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) apprehended an average of 4,500 people per day. These numbers are staggering, but keep in mind these numbers do not include those who are not caught at ports of entry. On a typical day for the U.S. Border Patrol during fiscal year 2018, over 4,500 pounds of narcotics were seized. These are the same narcotics that may fall in to the hands of family members and loved ones.

The headlines hardly share the truth about children that are brought on the dangerous journey to the border. CBP has discovered more than 3,000 fraudulent family claims. Dangerous criminals are taking advantage of loopholes in our broken immigration system, and, perhaps worst of all, it is at the expense of innocent children.

House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are working tirelessly to cooperate with counterparts and entities that have a firsthand understanding of what it takes to fix the humanitarian crisis – all while ensuring that American citizens are safe. Some of these measures include restoring integrity to the asylum system and working to make sure the Department of Homeland Security keeps parents and children together during immigration proceedings. Additionally, there are measures to increase protections for those who unfortunately fall victim to trafficking to make sure they see a judge within 14 days of their arrival at the border.

It is imperative that we continue to address the current crisis taking place along the southern border. Vacuous attempts to introduce immigration legislation that does nothing to secure the border or end the crisis won’t cut it. It is past time for Congress to move forward with real solutions and support President Donald Trump’s resolve to protect our great country.

Lindsey Hodges is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. Follow her on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges.