“The time for giving Biden the benefit of the doubt, that ship has sailed.”
WASHINGTON—This week, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), Representative Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Representative Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.) led a delegation to San Diego, Calexico, and Yuma to witness the humanitarian and national security crisis at the southern border created by President Biden’s open borders agenda. Joining the trip were Representatives Glenn Grothman (R-Wisc.), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).
During the visit, the lawmakers conducted oversight of the escalating border crisis by touring the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro Ports of Entry, the Yuma Border Patrol Station, and the border wall. The lawmakers met with Arizona state and local officials, joined the National Border Patrol Council for a night tour of the Yuma Sector, and toured the border with Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines.
Oversight Committee Republicans have been at the forefront of this crisis, demanding answers and seeking to hold the Biden Administration accountable on behalf of the American people.
After hearing from Border Patrol agents on the frontlines, it’s clear the Biden Administration’s decision to end Title 42 will turn this border crisis into a national security and humanitarian catastrophe.
By terminating Title 42, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) predicts that as many as 12,000 to 18,000 illegal migrants per day will soon attempt to cross the southern border. In 2021 alone, there were over two million apprehensions of illegal border crossers by U.S. Border Patrol. The surge of illegal immigrants is overwhelming DHS and the Department was forced to release more than 400,000 illegal immigrants into the U.S.
Men and women facilitating lawful trade and travel at our ports of entry continue to serve their country honorably despite facing enormous challenges. At the Otay Mesa and San Ysidro Ports of Entry, officers described the importance of Title 42 to quickly expel inadmissible aliens on public health grounds and subsequently free up resources to focus on legitimate asylum seekers. President Biden’s decision to terminate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Title 42 order will mean border agents will process fewer Ukrainian nationals for humanitarian parole because they will need to divert their attention and resources to processing inadmissible aliens of other nationalities.
The visit to the border also reinforced the importance of finishing the border wall to slow the flow of illegal immigration.
The lawmakers travelled to where the border wall meets the Pacific Ocean. Border Patrol agents emphasized the importance of the border wall and how border barriers are essential to maintain operational control and public safety. The border wall creates time for Border Patrol agents to respond to illegal border crossings.
On day one, President Biden halted the construction of the border wall and jeopardized the security of millions of Americans. The lawmakers saw miles of border wall material unused and rusting away because of President Biden’s reckless decision.
President Biden’s border crisis has turned every state in to a border state. Deadly drugs, like fentanyl, are pouring across the border due to an overwhelmed system, and are making their way into communities across the United States.
The Biden Administration’s border policies have stimulated the drug and human smuggling industry. Border Patrol agents with the El Centro Sector spoke to the lawmakers about the daily battle with cartel smuggling operations.
The lawmakers observed cutting edge technologies being deployed to prevent the smuggling of contraband and deadly narcotics like fentanyl into American communities.
According to agents, the El Centro Sector last year alone seized 91 pounds of cocaine, 15 pounds of heroin, and 1,356 pounds of methamphetamine. In just the first few months of 2022, El Centro agents have already confiscated nearly 70 pounds of fentanyl, a 35% increase from last year.
Fentanyl and other illicit substances smuggled across the southern border pose a serious national security threat, especially given the involvement of China and Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations in smuggling operations.
The lawmakers also met with Pinal County Sheriff, Mark Lamb. Lamb showed the group common paths through the desert taken by drug smugglers and highlighted the piles of trash and backpacks along their routes used for carrying fentanyl.
President Biden’s border crisis has destroyed morale at the Border Patrol. They must be allowed to do their job and secure the border.
The lawmakers participated in a night tour in Yuma with the National Border Patrol Council. Agents showed the lawmakers several gaps in the border wall and drew attention to the unfinished wall material. In addition, the lawmakers witnessed two large groups of nearly 60 individuals who illegally crossed the border, which effectively removed the agents from patrol in order to handle the migrants. Agents told lawmakers the historic border crisis has caused morale amongst the force to plummet.
President Biden must implement deterrent-focused immigration policies to end the border crisis.
The lawmakers received an operational briefing from Yuma Border Patrol station agents. Given the overwhelming volume of illegal immigrants, the agents informed the group of their inability to adequately screen all migrants and are now forced to focus on processing migrants for release because facilities are severely over capacity. In addition, they championed Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which is a policy aimed at keeping asylum seekers in Mexico while pursuing entry to the United States.
Agents and officials also explained the need for policy solutions which end catch and release and reiterated how this failed policy only encourages more illegal immigration.
The lawmakers met with Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines and took a day tour of the U.S-Mexico border in Yuma to witness how President Biden’s border crisis is impacting the local community. The lawmakers also met with state and local officials to understand what steps Congress can immediately take to help law enforcement and their communities as they face this surge of illegal immigration.
Oversight Republicans will continue to press for accountability and solutions.
President Biden has the ability to take immediate action to alleviate the border crisis. Maintaining Title 42, fully reinstating MPP, ending catch and release, finishing the border wall, and expediting asylum claim processing will stem the flow of illegal migrants, illicit drugs, and protect all Americans.