EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., will introduce a measure that would force Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas to enhance border security — and let state attorneys general sue DHS if it fails to fulfill its duties.
Tuberville's introduction of the measure, named the Border Safety and Security Act, comes just two months before the May 11 end of Title 42, an order invoked by both the Biden and Trump administrations to expel a majority of migrants at the southern border due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The measure would authorize the Homeland Security secretary to suspend the entry of illegal immigrants at the U.S. border should the secretary determine it is necessary to do so in order to regain operational control of the border and requires the DHS secretary to suspend the entry of illegal immigrants during any period of time in which the department cannot detain such individuals or place them in Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) or a similar program.
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Additionally, the bill, should it pass, authorize to state attorneys general to bring legal action against DHS should the secretary not follow the guidelines set forth by the measure.
"Since President Biden took office, 4.8 million illegal immigrants – nearly equal to Alabama’s entire population – have entered our country," Tuberville told Fox News Digital. "The Biden administration refuses to secure our southern border, despite record numbers of deadly drugs, terrorist watch-listers, and other bad actors pouring into the U.S. unobstructed."
"Americans are tired of feeling unsafe in their communities and losing loved ones to drug overdoses," he added. "I’m proud to introduce the Border Safety and Security Act to regain control of our southern border, hold this administration accountable, and put Americans’ safety first."
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Co-sponsors of Tuberville's measure include Sens. Katie Britt, R-Ala., and J.D. Vance, R-Ohio.
"The unprecedented national security and humanitarian disaster at the southern border is stealing lives, devastating families, and destroying communities in every corner of our country," Britt said in a statement. "It is clear that the Biden Administration is a dangerous combination of unable and unwilling to get control of this crisis. This Fiscal Year alone, there have already been more than 354,000 known gotaways, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of migrants caught and then released into our nation’s interior."
"I’d like to thank Senator Tuberville for introducing this piece of legislation to hold the Secretary of Homeland Security accountable and keep hardworking Americans safe," she added. "We must seal and secure the border and end the incentives that are fueling illegal immigration."
Tuberville's measure has received support from several border security advocacy groups, including the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s States Trust, and NumbersUSA.
A companion piece of legislation, which included 67 co-sponsors, was introduced in the House by GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas in January.
Numbers at the border rocketed up shortly after the Biden administration took office and remained high since then. There were over 1.7 million encounters of migrants at the border in FY 21 and more than 2.3 million in FY 22. So far in FY 2023, which began in October, there have been more than a million encounters.
Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this article.