Former Vice President Mike Pence’s political advocacy group is calling for a declaration of an invasion at the southern border as part of a legislative agenda to tackle the ongoing migrant crisis.
Advancing American Freedom, which was founded by the 2024 presidential candidate, released its agenda Monday to secure the border and end illegal immigration.
It calls for legislation to declare an “invasion” in response to the crisis that has seen record numbers of migrants hit the southern border since 2021.
“The United States Constitution declares that the federal government shall protect states from invasion. So long as the Biden administration refuses to do this job, Congress should officially declare an invasion so that states have the legal authority to secure the border for themselves,” the agenda states.
The use of the term “invasion” has grown in Republican circles in recent years to describe the crisis. Both former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have used the term as part of their presidential campaigns – with DeSantis promising to “stop the invasion” as part of his border strategy.
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has cited the “invasion” clause to authorize the return of illegal immigrants to the border with Mexico. That comes after there were more than 1.7 million migrant encounters at the southern border in FY 2021 and 2.4 million in FY 2022.
Democrats have taken aim at the use of the term, saying it is dangerous and encourages anti-immigrant sentiment.
“The invasion narrative some members push in this hearing room is bigoted, fact-free and dangerous,” Jerry Nadler, House Judiciary Committee ranking member, said at a hearing last week.
The policy proposals put forward by Pence’s group also call for Congress to explore a possible impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas – something that has been called for by a number of House members.
DHS has responded to those calls by urging Congress to pass legislation to fix a “broken” immigration system and provide the funding requested by the Biden administration.
Separately, the AAF agenda calls for an end to “chain migration” – which allows for immigrants to sponsor relatives for green cards into the U.S. – and also for reforms to temporary visa programs like the controversial H-1B visa program. Critics have said such visas are used by companies to replace American workers with cheaper foreign nationals.
It also backs legislation already introduced in Congress – including the GOP House border security package passed earlier this year. Other bills supported are Kate’s Law, as well as measures to end the visa lottery, allow victims of illegal immigrant crime to sue sanctuary cities, reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols, and continue border wall construction at state level.
“Congress needs to hold President Biden, Secretary Mayorkas, and the Department of Homeland Security accountable for their dangerous failings at the border, while also passing legislation that gives our border agents the resources and restored powers they need to do their jobs and enforce the law, AAF Executive Director Paul Teller said in a statement. “Advancing American Freedom believes that a country without a secure border and the rule of law isn’t a country at all and will continue to call for decisive action from Congress and the administration to keep our country safe.”
The policy rollout, which will be followed by a visit by AAF staff this week, is the latest indicator of how the border crisis is likely to continue to be a top political and 2024 issue – even as the Biden administration has touted a recent drop in numbers at the border since the end of Title 42 in May.
Republicans have blamed the crisis on the Biden administration, with 2024 candidates rallying around calls to restore policies implemented when Pence was vice president. The Biden administration has said it is expanding lawful pathways while punishing illegal immigration as part of its post-Title 42 strategy.
However, the recent torpedoing of its asylum rule after a left-wing legal challenge has raised new fears that a potential new surge could be coming soon.