House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) delivered powerful opening remarks for a Full Committee field hearing in McAllen, Texas, outlining how the crisis at the Southwest border is a direct result of decisions made by the Biden Administration and Secretary Mayorkas’ failure to enforce the laws of our country.
Good morning, and welcome to the Committee on Homeland Security’s field hearing in Pharr, Texas.
We came to Texas for this hearing for several reasons. To get members of Congress and their staff out of the cubicles back in Washington, and down here to the border to see it for ourselves. You can not read about being a doctor, and then go do brain surgery. My life experience has taught me, whether it was as an Army infantry commander, or a physician needing a CT scan before deciding a treatment plan, or the CEO of my company, it takes the leader getting on the ground, seeing what’s going on to make well-informed decisions.
We also want the people on the border to know that Congress cares. That we see the plight of your communities.
This was supposed to be a full committee, but as you can see the Democrats are not here. They decided not to show, why? Well, they said coming here was a political stunt. You tell me, taking a hearing to the point of the crisis for a firsthand view, or boycotting a hearing because you know we are going to shine a light on the truth? Which of those is a political stunt? I’d say the political stunt is those empty chairs.
The Democrats also talk about bipartisanship, how this committee is supposed to be a bipartisan committee. I guess for them bipartisanship is only when you agree exactly with them.
To me, bipartisanship is where you sit down together and debate the issues and talk to try to find common ground. You can’t have bipartisanship if the other side fails to show up for their duty.
Now, in the Army when someone didn’t show up, we called them AWOL – absent without leave. Their place of duty is in this hearing because it is a full hearing. And they are not here. They are AWOL.
And now to the reason we are here. Why is this crisis happening? Most of us here today are well aware of the tragedy at the border.
4.7 million encounters, 1.3 million ‘gottaways’ – we don’t know who those people are, where they are, but in the encounter number we know drug seizures are up, individuals on the terrorist watch list are up. All at record numbers. Six million people. In just the two years of Secretary Mayorkas’ rein at DHS, more people have come into this country than all of the eight years of the Obama presidency and all four years of the Trump presidency combined.
Why? What’s happened? What changed?
Some may think it’s the money – we hear it from the left, not today of course, but we hear it from the left, that more money will fix this issue. But the budget didn’t go way down when Mayorkas got confirmed as Secretary, it went up – a lack of money did not cause this massive, sudden surge.
Some may think it’s the numbers of Border Patrol agents. If we only had more agents sitting on the border this wouldn’t happen. Well, when Secretary Mayorkas took over, we didn’t suddenly cut the ranks of the Border Patrol. They have roughly the same number as the last administration. So clearly the size of the Border Patrol is not the reason for this massive surge in people, crime, and drugs. Not that we don’t need more Border Patrol agents, and not that we can’t put money in certain places.
Some say it’s the technology, the systems, perhaps it’s the wall or the absence of a wall. But in all honesty, we didn’t tear any wall down between the administrations. Granted they stopped the production, but we didn’t tear wall down. Yet the people poured across the southern border in excess of six million people. Why?
The only thing that changed were 89 successful migration control policies implemented by the previous administrations, and I mean administrations plural.
Seems like the Migrant Protection Protocols, ‘Remain in Mexico,’ subversion of the actual laws written by Congress which required detention, the policies working to deter crossings were offensive to this administration.
The companies that actually have the ICE detention contracts, companies like CoreCivic, tell me that they have a capacity of 25,000 people. Yet, ICE is only sending them about 8,000. You would think that during the middle of a massive surge of people those detention beds would be at capacity.
Why aren’t they? They aren’t detaining because Mayorkas knows that detention is deterrence. And so they’re just processing people in, paroling them right away and sending them into our country. And the phone calls go back to those countries of origin, telling their friends and families, ‘come on, the door is wide open.’
The interim final rule is a rule that Secretary Mayorkas is trying to change and actually remove the Judiciary Branch from the decision making on asylum. Even though Congress passed the laws many, many years ago that said the Judiciary is to be involved. Why would Secretary Mayorkas want to do away with the Judiciary? Why would he want to subvert laws written by this body, the Congress? It’s because they want more people to come into the country.
And now their solution is an app, where whoever fills it out just automatically gets parole when they show up at a crossing site. That is in total contravention to what the laws passed by Congress about how people are to enter our country. I can see it now, some drug cartel coyote, ‘hey, for an additional fee, we will fill the app out for you.’
Secretary Mayorkas’ budget — a detailed analysis of it shows you that they’re not doing anything to increase Border Patrol in any significant amount or increase technology. All the increases in funds, and I’m talking about billions of dollars, to process and ship people all over the United States. That’s where they’re asking for more money.
If you talk to the sector chiefs, they’re going to tell you that they can’t return people back to their countries because the State Department has not renegotiated the return agreements. Why would the State Department not continue those agreements? It’s because they want people coming here in mass waves.
It is clear to me, in violation of the laws written by the United States Congress, passed and signed by previous presidents, this secretary of DHS wants nothing more than to flood the country with people. And the problem with that is, it has empowered the narco-human trafficking terrorist cartels. The drug cartels who just captured and killed a couple of Americans and are making billions bringing people into the United States, many of whom once they’re here have to pay the cartels back with forced criminal labor.
The cartels put out advertisements all over the world, $50,000 if you’re coming from China, $30,000 if you’re coming from Iran, $10-$15,000 if you’re coming from Central America. They then flood those people in mass waves just like we saw in El Paso this week, compelling the Border Patrol to focus its resources at the Ports of Entry. To use a military term, the cartels are neutralizing Customs and Border Patrol by forcing them to thin the lines in the rural areas. Then the fentanyl and the nefarious folks that they are trafficking into the United States come across in rural areas.
Let’s look at the El Paso mass wave that attempted to come across. It required a massive response from Customs and Border Patrol, concentrating our forces in a diversionary attack. I can only imagine what they snuck around the Ports of Entry while those agents were blocking the mass wave of people.
In one sector on our border that is 30 miles long, normally 200 agents patrol that area. It’s down to seven men and women pulling three shifts a day to cover 30 miles. Why? Because the agents are moved to other parts of the border where the mass waves are coming. Look at Yuma, great example. And the video cameras placed by ranchers on the border show cartel members in camouflage outfits, wearing carpet shoes and backpacks full of fentanyl, pouring into our country. And those folks aren’t counted in the numbers.
So why six million people now? Why 100,000 dead Americans to drugs like fentanyl? Why massive crime at our border cities and now throughout all the cities of this country? Why is every city in every state made into a border state? Because of the decisions, because of the incompetence, and the dishonesty of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
We’re here to show the American people why. We are here to find solutions to this problem despite a president laughed when talking about a mother lost two children to fentanyl. To a secretary of DHS who seems to be okay with, in one sector alone, 25 to 30 Chinese Nationals being released into the country with verified connections to the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese army. That’s happening.
You would think with the situation so dire that the Democrats would at least show up for this committee hearing. It is tragic that they aren’t here. That’s the political stunt.
You’d think, with so many Americans dying as fentanyl pours into our country, as the drug cartels take operational control of our border, that Secretary Mayorkas would come up with something different than an app that further incentivizes people to pour into the country. But no. The failure at the southern border is not about money, it’s not about the numbers of Border Patrol agents, not about technology, although all of those things are needed, and we can do more and will do more. This massive crisis, this human tragedy, is the result of decisions and the incompetence of this Secretary. And I believe our hearing today will begin to show the process of how this has happened, and why.
I want to take a second before I conclude and thank the men and women of Customs and Border Patrol and thank our witnesses who are here today. They are doing yeoman’s work. As somebody who has been shot at in combat, who has lost friends in combat, I understand a little. But I know what it’s like to have the tracer rounds coming at you. But I deeply appreciate your service and the service of the men and women who work for you. It is impressive what they do every day despite these unbelievable challenges that have been forced on them.