PLATTSMOUTH - During a town hall meeting in Plattsmouth today, U.S. Sen. Pete Ricketts sounded the alarm about the surge of undocumented immigrants coming to the United States through its southern border states.

An estimated 1.7-million immigrants came across the border in November of 2021, he said.

Ricketts: “That number increased to 2.4 million in 2022 and was up to 2.5 million in 2023. This year, that number has increased to 9.2 million, and that’s bigger than the population of New York City.

His information is not only based on estimates from the border security system, but also from personal visits he made as former governor of Nebraska and now U.S. senator to southern states bordering Mexico.

Ricketts: “There is very little vetting going on and that is part of the incentive for people coming in. They know they can get into the country.”

Former President Donald Trump brought the number crossing at the border to a 40-year low.

Ricketts: “President Biden has the same tools as Trump. He just chooses not to do anything.”

Ricketts said Biden has stated people crossing the border “should not be subject to deportation.”

Ricketts said the Mexican cartel trains people on what to tell the border patrol they are seeking asylum because they are not safe in their native country.

Ricketts: “People who fear for their lives are processed quickly and their hearing is scheduled for four years in the future. Almost no one shows up for their hearing. If you do show up, the judge says you’ve got 60 days to sell your house and then you’ll be deported. That’s part of the system.”

Initially, parole for immigrants was granted to those who cannot find a safe place to live in their native country. It’s not like parole that’s granted for prisoners in jail."

When asked, most immigrants are looking for better jobs, Ricketts said finding a better job is not a reason for granting asylum.

 

He said the lack of border control has significantly increased crime rates, sex trafficking, child trafficking and illegal drug smuggling.

Ricketts: “If they have a child with them, they can only be detained for a while. So, the cartel finds children and puts them with an adult."

On one of his visits, Ricketts said he thinks he witnessed  suspicious behavior involving a 10-year or 11-year-old girl.

Ricketts: “The guy claimed she was his daughter, but she didn’t look comfortable being around him. She didn’t want him to put his arm around her. Then he admitted, she wasn’t his daughter and said he was her uncle.”

When Trump was president, Ricketts said, they tested people for DNA.

Ricketts: “They found 30 percent of the kids were not related to the adults with them. Now that’s something like 50 percent and the Biden administration ended DNA testing. Now, they can’t prove this girl didn’t belong to him. If an adult is caught with a child not belonging to him or her, the child is sent back to Mexico where they are recycled and brought back with another adult.”

Fentanyl and methamphetamine smuggling has reached an all-time high. “Fentanyl is the leading killer of people ages 18 to 45,” Ricketts said. “More than 100,000 people are dying every year from fentanyl.”

Not all of those crossing the border are Mexicans. “A number of people are coming from Islamic countries, eastern Europe and China.

Ricketts: “Our open border is a national security threat. There is a huge number of terrorists on our watch list coming in. When Trump was president, there were 11 in a year. Last year, that number rose to 169.”

Customs border protection patrols have started seizing and downloading phones carried by Chinese nationals.

Ricketts: “We don’t know what kind of terrorists we may be letting in."

Rickets shared an outline of 11 bills in a legislative package that, he said, would end the crisis at the border.

The bills include the Secure the Border act aimed at stopping the abuse of the immigration parole system and increase the number of border agents; The End Child Trafficking Now Act, requiring DNA testing for children who attempt to cross the border with an adult; and the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, financially targeting drug cartels that are profiting from smuggling drugs into the U.S.

The best way to solve these problems is voting in the next election. “If we have a different president, we can end these problems. Go tell your friends to get registered and get out and vote. This country has an amazing ability to right itself,” he said.