The Democrats’ promises of free health care, education and citizenship have thrust our southern border into chaos. Even after illegal crossings reached their highest rate in two decades, border czar and Vice President Kamala Harris still refuses to visit the U.S.-Mexico border. The Biden administration’s deliberate inaction on this surge in illegal entry has turned every state into a border state. The Biden border policy is inept and an embarrassment to our nation.

Tennesseans know all too well how quickly the chaos on the border transformed into chaos in their communities. Last month we discovered that the Biden administration used chartered flights to secretly transport migrant children into Tennessee via an airport in Chattanooga. Officials involved in the scheme failed to make state and local officials aware of their plans, compounding issues concerning the balance of state and federal authority. Perhaps even worse, the White House issued a vague acknowledgment of the midnight flights only after I sent a letter demanding answers from Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Biden’s attempt to push the border crisis onto well-managed states like Tennessee indicates just how unprepared the administration was to take control. Border officials have apprehended more than half a million illegal aliens since Biden took office. Compared to May of last year, the rate of migrant encounters is nearly eight times higher, accounting for over 180,000 illegal immigrants stopped in May alone. As staggering as these statistics are, we know that the number of migrants able to evade detection, the got-aways, remains even larger.

Rather than bolstering our border security efforts, Biden all but handed over control of the U.S.-Mexico border to cartels. These violent drug runners and human traffickers don’t share Biden’s compassionate facade; they are ruthlessly profit-driven. Cartels willingly exploit and jeopardize the lives of women, children and families and make millions of dollars every week. No one and nothing crosses the border without paying the cartel.

Last week FBI Director Christopher Wray warned there is “no question” that Mexican cartel activity is “spilling over” into the U.S. Along with inviting increased crime and drug trafficking, Biden’s border policies have already overloaded shelters and left schools across America scrambling to stretch funds and find enough bilingual teachers for the incoming class.

Biden can’t continue to sweep the border crisis under the rug. Tennesseans have a constitutional right to know what is happening in their communities, which is why I introduced the Migrant Resettlement Transparency Act along with Sen. Bill Hagerty and Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. The bill would require federal agencies to involve state and local officials in the process of taxpayer-funded migrant resettlement. It would ensure local communities have the tools they need to manage large resettlement groups and require full transparency to eliminate the current culture of secrecy.

Ultimately, the border crisis will escalate, and in the face of Biden’s woefully inept leadership, states like ours will be left picking up the pieces and the cost. As Biden continues down his path of impossible promises, I remain focused on my promise to protect Tennessee communities and put an end to this administration’s dangerous open-borders policies.

Marsha Blackburn is the senior senator from Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.

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