By U.S. Congresswoman
It was great to be able to visit with so many people across the district over the last few weeks. I was able to visit businesses, farms, and chambers of commerce from Marshall to Detroit Lakes. I was also able to have several honest conversations with law enforcement at the local and national levels. Seeing the facilities and meeting the officers on the ground helps me go back to D.C. armed with the best information to effectively support law enforcement and promote policies that will ease the many challenges they face.
I had the opportunity to meet with both Swift and Clay County law enforcement officials recently. I toured their facilities, heard about the challenges they are facing, and discussed their thoughts on legislative solutions. Unfortunately, the Left has been villainizing law enforcement for years, particularly in the last two years. They continue to try to pass anti-police legislation to keep officers from effectively doing their jobs. We are seeing an increase in violence against police, and yet Democrats have done nothing to dissuade it. They even held a hearing this year to eliminate qualified immunity for police officers, a protection that empowers law enforcement to enter into dangerous situations civilians are not equipped to enter. This war on police has caused many officers to retire early and has kept even more from choosing law enforcement as a career. The decrease in effective law enforcement makes our communities less safe. Minnesota has seen an increase in crime in the past two years, and not just in Minneapolis: greater Minnesota has seen a 16% increase. The state is now above the national average for crimes like murder, assault, and carjacking. We need to protect law enforcement for the sake of our communities. I am humbled by and grateful for our law enforcement and will do everything I can to support them. Earlier this year, I introduced the Law Enforcement Grant Program Act to provide education grants to encourage those seeking a degree in law enforcement or criminal justice-related field. I also co-sponsored the Protect and Serve Act, which would impose a punishment of between 10 years to a life sentence for anyone who knowingly assaults a police officer.
On a national level, I met with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers when I toured the southern border at the end of the month. It was disturbing to hear their reports firsthand. As one officer pointed out smugglers that were tracking our movements, he shared that morale is at an all-time low. These officers are trying to do their jobs during arguably the greatest immigration crisis in American history. They have seized unbelievable amounts of narcotics and caught countless smugglers and individuals on the terrorist watch list while working unreasonable shifts and putting their lives at risk every day. And still, they are receiving no support from this administration. We were even told that they could not use one of their buildings because of asbestos, but they were still expected to pay rent for it. Additionally, the open border policies under this administration put our national security at risk. While officers are doing everything they can, with such gaps in the border, we cannot even imagine the amount of drugs that have slipped through the cracks. These issues at the southern border do not stay at the border. Fentanyl overdoses are ravaging every corner of America, including in Minnesota’s 7th District, and most of that is coming across our southern border. It is disgraceful that this administration has done so little to put a stop to an issue that has such a huge impact on the American people, especially when there are proven programs that could be implemented. President Biden could resume construction of the border wall, which currently has huge openings. He could end his catch-and-release program and detain those who cross our border illegally until their court date. Or, he could simply enforce the existing immigration laws.
While much of what I have learned from my conversations this month has been disheartening, I am hopeful that Republicans will continue to support and defend all law enforcement officers, who put their lives on the line to support and defend our local communities and the security of this great nation.