Comer: The State of Our Border is in Crisis
Opens hearing on Biden’s Border Crisis by emphasizing the importance of gathering facts from U.S. Border Patrol Chiefs
WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) delivered opening remarks at a hearing titled “On The Front Lines of the Border Crisis: A Hearing with Chief Patrol Agents.” In his opening statement, Chairman Comer outlined how President Biden and his administration’s radical immigration policies have created the worst border crisis in American history. He pointed out that Fiscal Year 2022 set records for the number of arrests of illegal border crossers, the number of migrants who died making the journey, the number of dangerous narcotics seized, and even the number of suspected terrorists arrested trying to illegally cross the border. Chairman Comer concluded by stressing the importance of hearing from U.S. Border Patrol agents who are on the ground battling the Biden Administration’s self-inflicted crisis and understanding their ongoing efforts to secure the border.
Below are Chairman Comer’s remarks as prepared for delivery.
Today’s hearing is an opportunity to gather facts about the border crisis from career law enforcement officials from the U.S. Border Patrol.
Make no mistake, the state of our border is in crisis.
Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama, once said that 1,000 apprehensions per day overwhelms the system. In 2019, he said that “I cannot begin to imagine what 4,000 a day looks like, so we are truly in a crisis.”
Unfortunately, we are witnessing that now. And it is truly a crisis.
In Fiscal Year 2022, over 6,000 migrants per day on average were apprehended after illegally crossing the border. That’s over 2.2 million apprehensions in just one 12-month period.
In just the first three months of Fiscal Year 2023, over 7,000 migrants per day on average were apprehended after illegally crossing the border.
Those numbers don’t include hundreds of thousands of aliens who evade apprehension entirely—estimated at almost 600,000 just in Fiscal Year 2022.
And reports indicate nearly 300,000 illegal immigrants have evaded apprehension just four months into Fiscal Year 2023.
President Biden and his administration have created the worst border crisis in American history.
Cartels are leveraging the chaos at the border.
They are using their human smuggling operations to overwhelm U.S. Border Patrol agents with large migrant groups, often placing migrants in peril.
They create these diversions at the expense of human life to traffic dangerous narcotics like fentanyl across the southern border.
These deadly drugs then make their way into communities across the United States and poison our neighbors and children.
Why? Why is this happening?
Starting on his first day in office, President Biden signaled to the world our borders were open. Open to criminals, human traffickers, and drug traffickers.
His administration’s policies have eroded deterrence and stripped away enforcement tools.
President Biden immediately ended enrollments in the Migrant Protection Protocols, which required inadmissible aliens to remain in Mexico while their immigration case was adjudicated.
He halted construction of border barriers, even though Congress had appropriated nearly $1.4 billion for wall construction just a month before.
He issued a press release announcing a new immigration bill proposal that would give amnesty—legal status and a path to citizenship—to millions of illegal immigrants in the United States, signaling to the world that breaking our laws would not lead to detention and removal.
President Biden’s Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum instituting a 100-day moratorium on deportations for most illegal aliens and limiting ICE’s ability to enforce the law. ICE arrests plummeted almost immediately by more than 60 percent.
All of these actions Biden and his administration took on his first day of office.
Secretary Mayorkas doubled down on these policies by issuing a memorandum restricting law enforcement’s ability to enforce the law against illegal immigrants.
Even though a Federal Court has said that the executive branch cannot override clear congressional commands in the law through these memos, President Biden’s administration is still fighting in the courts on the side of illegal immigrants, not the American people.
Administration officials continue to say they are creating a “safe, orderly, humane” immigration system.
But reality contradicts this propaganda.
Conditions at the border are dangerous, chaotic, and inhumane.
Fiscal Year 2022 set records for the number of arrests of illegal border crossers, the number of migrants who died making the journey, the number of dangerous narcotics seized, and even the number of suspected terrorists arrested trying to illegally cross the border.
And given over half a million people have evaded apprehension entirely, the national security risks are extremely high.
This administration must do more to protect our southern border. They must do more to protect the American people.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today about their efforts to secure our southern border against illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and prevention of terrorist entries, as well as how the border crisis is making those efforts more difficult for the men and women under their command.
Thank you for being here today to testify.