Senator Cotton Q&A About Border Issues During Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing

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Senator Tom Cotton questions Admiral Craig S. Faller, USN and General Glen D. VanHerck, USAF about border issues during a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing.

Senator Tom Cotton: Admiral Faller, I want to speak about the legal conditions on the ground in Northern Triangle Guatemala Honduras and El Salvador. Do the governments of those three countries systematic persecute their own citizens on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, political views, religious belief, or other such categories.

Admiral Craig S. Faller: Senator when I go on lockstep with our embassies, and we get great diplomats, and we don’t see a systematic exploitation. I work with the military’s and elements we work with are vetted entrusted and we, I find they’re doing the right thing whether in Honduras, Guatemala, or El Salvador.

Cotton: Thank you, I think it’s a very important point. The government of Honduras and El Salvador and Guatemala do not persecute their own citizens systematically on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, or political views, which is the basis for asylum and refugee status under our laws. An economic migrant is not eligible for asylum. They are not eligible for refugee status. Asylum is designed for people, like say Hong Konger who student visa expires and doesn’t want to return to Hong Kong now that the Chinese Communist party has cracked down on that country.

The reason we have a crisis at our border is because President Biden and his administration opened the border and ended the policies of the Trump Administration that made it clear you could not make the very dangerous journey across Mexico, you could not pay smugglers and traffickers thousands of dollars to get to our Southern border and then expect to be let in. If you let them in more will come. That’s why we have a crisis at the border.

General VanHerck we’ve been supporting the department Homeland Security at the border for some time now with DOD Personnel. The most recent justice major adjustment numbers was in 2018 is that right?

VanHerck: That’s correct. In 2018 than this year were up to nearly 4,000 total numbers.

Cotton: And has a status of the Border change from 2018 to March of 2021?

VanHerck: When you say status of the Border can you clarify?

Cotton: The conditions there and whether or not we’re closer having a secure border or we had a less secure border now than we did when this major personnel change first started.

VanHerck: I would defer to Homeland Security for the security of the border were in direct support of Homeland Security for that mission. I can tell you the numbers of the migrants coming across as dramatically, dramatically increased here in recent months.

Cotton: And what kind of strains that put on our personnel at the border?

VanHerck:Our personnel being DOD?

Cotton: DOD personal.

VanHerck: DOD continues to provide support to Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection mainly in the detection and monitoring total number of 4000 does not place an incredible strain on the force and has not shown significant strategic readiness of our ability to accomplish our missions.

Cotton: I’ve seen some media reports that suggest in addition to economic migrants who are not eligible for asylum showing up at our border from Latin America that we are now beginning to see, foreign nationals from other countries in Africa and Asia. To your knowledge is that correct?

VanHerck: Senator, I’m aware of the intelligence reports that corroborate exactly what you just said.

Cotton: What kind of threat does it pose to our country that person’s might be traveling from the old world to the new world to join these migrant flows?

VanHerck: I believe that we must continue to monitor at anybody who has nefarious desires for our country. A Homeland defense of border security is National Security which equals Homeland defense. There will be people take advantage of the opportunity to come across that border.

Cotton: Yay, I couldn’t agree more General VanHerck, I mean it’s our borders open anyone from around the world get to Mexico and try to cross our border, not just to seek a better life here but to harm or ultimately try to kill our own people, and I go back to the simple point if you let them in, more will come. All the controversy in the media or misplaced. Talk about how fast we’re reprocessing migrants through these detention facilities, enough showers, beds or cots. If you don’t let them in the first place you not to worry about the conditions in the detention centers.

The Biden Administration has to reverse course. There are three simple solutions. First it should reapply the public health declaration under title 42 to All Foreign Nationals to including minors, minors just like the Trump Administration did, as the Biden Administration still does for adults. Seconds it should renegotiate a new migrant protection protocol with Mexico which it tore up for no reason on its first days in office. And third, it should re-enter a safe third country agreement with Guatemala. If you’re seeking Asylum at our border there’s no reason can I seek asylum in Guatemala. That was the lesson of the last administration. Those three things alone solve our crisis at the border. They can all be done tomorrow.

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