U.S. border security at the center of Illinois congressional primary

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(The Center Square) – As thousands of migrants continue to arrive in Illinois, securing the nation’s border is front and center in one congressional primary race.

During the March 19 primary, Republican voters will be choosing between Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, who has represented the 12th Congressional District since 2015, or former state legislator Darren Bailey, R-Xenia. The district covers 34 southern Illinois counties, including Metro East, and stretches from Charleston to Cairo.

Bailey held a news conference at the Texas-Mexico border Monday, and called for the completion of a border wall.

“Failed radicals like [President] Joe Biden and his so-called Homeland Security Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas empower the cartels, turning human misery into a lucrative business, all while deadly fentanyl floods our streets,” Bailey said. “We designate the cartels what they truly are, they are terrorist organizations.”

The Texas state legislature designated Mexican cartels as terrorist organizations last year.

Bailey added that it is time to “clean house in the Republican Party and it’s time to stand united and stop this chaos at our doorstep.”

Bost issued a statement to The Center Square.

“I’ve been to Eagle Pass twice in the past 10 months, meeting with border patrol and reviewing security measures at one of our most targeted points of entry. I voted to build the wall, end catch and release, and hire more border agents. I introduced legislation to stop the Biden administration from facilitating healthcare for illegal migrants with money intended for American veterans. Unlike my opponent, who hastily planned a meaningless publicity stunt at the border because we’re one month from an election, I’ve always viewed border security as a top priority.”

The border situation is a hot topic around the country. The U.S. Senate released a $118 billion proposal late Sunday that would provide billions in emergency funding for cities, like Chicago, that are struggling to house millions of foreign nationals who have entered the country in the past three years. U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson said the Senate bill is “dead on arrival” in his chamber, arguing it wouldn’t actually secure the border.

Between October and January, it is estimated nearly 1 million non-citizens crossed the southern border, with a vast majority being allowed to enter and wait in the U.S. up to 10 years to see if they are granted asylum.

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