“More must be done to protect our borders”: Tester Calls on President Biden to Raise Asylum Standards, Use Executive Authorities to Secure Southern Border

Senator to Biden: “take action immediately to address the ongoing issues we have at our southern border”

As part of his continued efforts to secure the southern border and keep Montana safe, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today called on President Biden to strengthen asylum screening standards and utilize the full extent of his executive authorities to get the border crisis under control.

In a new letter to President Biden, Tester specifically called on the Administration to raise the asylum screening standard to keep our country safe: “I have long called on the Administration to raise the asylum screening standard and ensure that those who do not have a valid asylum claim or who pose a threat to our security are not allowed to enter the country.”

Tester emphasized in his letter that the situation at the southern border is having a direct impact on Montana, and that law enforcement need additional support from the President: “We are seeing the direct impacts of this in Montana, where Mexican drug cartels are trafficking drugs like fentanyl into our communities and directly targeting rural states and Indian Country because they can make exorbitant profits and complex jurisdictional rules and under-resourced law enforcement agencies make it hard to put these folks where they belong – in jail. I meet regularly with local law enforcement officers, Tribal leaders, and mayors who all are struggling to keep up with the growing threats stemming from a lack of strong border security.  Our border patrol agents and law enforcement officers are doing everything they can to keep us safe, but we cannot continue to ask them to bear the weight of our broken immigration system.”

Tester concluded his letter by pledging to continue to fight for bipartisan border security legislation while stressing that Biden must take immediate action: “I urge you to take action immediately to address the ongoing issues we have at our southern border. I will continue to fight for the bipartisan border security bill in Congress, but its failure is not an excuse for lack of action from your Administration.”

Tester has led the charge to secure the southern border and stop the deadly flow of fentanyl that is wreaking havoc on Montana. He has repeatedly expressed to Secretary Mayorkas and President Biden that the Administration must do more and “use all of the remaining tools at your disposal” to secure our borders. 

Tester voted to secure the southern border in February – but politicians in Congress blocked the bipartisan border security legislation. Read a memo outlining the facts about the bipartisan border security proposal HEREwhich received the endorsement of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) and the Director of Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

In April, Tester’s FEND Off Fentanyl Act was signed into law. This bipartisan law imposes economic sanctions on those engaged in the international trafficking of illicit fentanyl, precursor chemicals used to make fentanyl, or other related opioids, gives law enforcement more resources to combat fentanyl trafficking, and declares international trafficking of fentanyl as a national emergency.

Through his role as a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester secured significant wins for border security and law enforcement in the FY2024 government funding appropriations package.

Read Tester’s full letter to President Biden HERE.