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Press Release Published: Jan 17, 2024

Wrap Up: Biden Administration’s Policies Have Fueled Worst Border Crisis in U.S. History

Witness testifies “President Biden is the first President to ever un-secure a border on purpose.”

WASHINGTON—Today, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability held a hearing titled “The Biden Administration’s Regulatory and Policymaking Efforts to Undermine U.S. Immigration Law.”Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and Committee Republicans discussed how President Biden and his Administration’s radical policies and regulatory actions sparked the worst border crisis in American history. Immigration policy and law enforcement experts testified how the unilateral decisions by this Administration are fueling unprecedented illegal immigration and jeopardizing border security. Lawmakers concluded that the Biden Administration must prioritize returning to deterrent-focused policies to protect Americans and curtail the unprecedented flow of migrants, narcotics, and crime at the southern border.

Key Takeaways:

The Biden Administration sparked the worst border crisis in American history and placed Americans’ lives at risk by abandoning deterrent-focused immigration policies and proven border enforcement tools.

  • Mr. Thomas D. Homan, Retired Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): “President Biden is the first President to ever un-secure a border on purpose. The current administration’s failure to enforce and uphold the laws as written by Congress are not just matters of legal debate but have led to unimaginable suffering and death for Americans and migrants alike… For three years, this Administration has directed and overseen the implementation of an open-borders agenda that has resulted in a national security, humanitarian, public health, and public safety catastrophe unlike any we have ever witnessed at America’s borders.
  • Mr. Joseph B. Edlow, Former Acting Director and Chief Counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): “The Biden Administration has waged war against the immigration system of the United States. The results speak for themselves. As each memorandum, regulatory action, or policy decision is announced, the crisis at the southwest border grows exponentially. There is a direct correlation between these policies and the exploding number of encounters, the number of known (and unknown) got-aways, and backlogs at both [USCIS] and the immigration courts.

The Biden Administration continues to double down on failed immigration policies and now seeks to needlessly waste billions of taxpayer dollars on a border crisis their policies created.

  • House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer: “President Biden and his Administration have refused to take any responsibility for a catastrophe they created. And now the Biden Administration is doing what it does best—asking taxpayers for more money. But more money isn’t going to solve much on the border. Because what we are seeing isn’t a money problem. It’s a policy problem. A blank check doesn’t mean more detention and removals of illegal aliens, which is what is needed to stem this crisis. A blank check means more Biden Administration policies undermining U.S. immigration law. A blank check means even faster releases of more illegal aliens into the interior of the country. A blank check means more agency memos and rulemaking to undermine the rule of immigration law in this country.”

Witnesses testified how Border Patrol agents are doing their best to stem the flow of illegal immigration but continue to struggle to secure the border.

  • Mr. Homan: “To put this into context, all one must do is look at CBP’s own data that shows total enforcement actions in FY20 was approximately 646,000. The next full year under Biden we tripled that number to 1.9 million followed the next year with 2.7 million and then in FY23, 3.2 million. When you have those kinds of encounters, it overwhelms the Border Patrol to the point where they have pulled up to 100% of agents off patrol to come in and process these large groups, which leaves hundreds of miles of border with no security and not a single agent on watch.”

The Biden Administration must prioritize deterrent-focused policies and provide the men and women protecting our border and enforcing our immigration laws the necessary tools and resources to combat this ongoing national security and humanitarian crisis.

  • House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer: “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. This administration must do more to protect our southern border.  They must do more to protect the American people.”  

Member Highlights:

Chairman James Comer opened the hearing by stating the House Oversight Committee and Homeland Security Committee recently released a joint report containing interviews with CBP agents on the frontlines of the Biden border crisis.

 Chairman Comer: “The border crisis has continued to deepen—affecting almost every American. Alongside the Homeland Security Committee, the Oversight Committee has been investigating the border crisis, interviewing Chief Border Patrol agents from every sector along the southwest border. We released a staff report yesterday describing their experiences and detailing the hardships of attempting to protect a border without the support of the Biden Administration.

Chairman Comer also emphasized Oversight Committee Republicans have traveled to the border multiple times to witness the crisis firsthand. He stressed how Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers and Border Patrol agents are actively struggling to secure the border. 

Chairman Comer: “Mr. Homan, we’ve traveled to the border, the majority members of this committee, several times. We’ve heard many complaints from our Border Patrol agents, can you describe how the Biden Administration has hampered the ability of ICE officers and ICE prosecutors to enforce immigration laws?”

Mr. Homan: “Yes, I will. The biggest thing about the border, when you cause a crisis this big, when you make promises that you can enter the country illegally, you’ll be released quickly, because this Administration is not enforcing the law, the only thing they have done is send more resources to the border to process quicker and release quicker. Because they care about the optics. When you do that, more are going to come. So, when they overwhelm the border patrol, I can tell you right now, in the last several months there have been times that certain sectors on the southwest border, 100% of border patrol agents were pulled off patrol, to come in and process.”

Representative Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) noted the unprecedented flow of illegal immigration and pointed out that the Biden Administration is releasing illegal aliens into the United States at an alarming rate.

Rep. Grothman: “I want to just clarify some numbers here. We need to understand the size of this issue. As I understand it, in December, over 300,000 people entered this country and were allowed in or were gotaways…and when the last administration left office, that number was depending on the month, 5 to 20,000. So, it’s increased by a factor of about 30 to 1. Is that accurate? 30 times more people coming into the interior of this country compared to two years ago?”

Mr. Homan: “Total encounters are five times as many under this Administration than Trump. And the gentlemen to my left talks about percentages of people removed under Trump versus under Biden, here’s the difference: percentages of 2.3 million is a lot different than the percentage of 646. It’s not about percentages, it’s about how many people are released in the country and there’s zero comparison between the Trump Administration and the Biden Administration.”

Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) exposed how the Biden Administration intentionally stripped successful border enforcement policies and the President’s open border agenda is designed to incentivize illegal immigration.

Rep. Jordan: “So you said earlier, both you and Mr. Edlow, said this is by design. This is intentional and I think I got it right that you said three main things about this Administration: stop building the wall, get rid of ‘remain in Mexico’, and release people when they get here. And that incentivizes people to come from, I believe you said 181 different countries. Because they know there is no wall to get over, there’s no wait in Mexico and they’re going to get released to wherever they want to go, is that right?”

Mr. Homan: “Absolutely, the first few days in office, President Biden signed over 90 executive orders abolishing all the policies that were proven effective based on numbers.”

Representative Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) highlighted how President Biden’s executive orders and regulatory actions enabled illegal aliens to enter the country.

Rep. Foxx: “Mr. Edlow, do you have anything that you would like to add to the comments Mr. Homan has made in conjunction with why we don’t need additional laws and what we can do to make sure the laws that exist are enforced?”

Mr. Edlow: “As Mr. Homan said, the previous Administration used everything that was available whether it be remain in Mexico program, whether it be the asylum cooperative agreements with Central American partners, whether it be other programs that allowed the U.S. to quickly intake, process in for expedited removal of individuals from certain countries and make sure they had all due process within just a matter of days and make sure they were in front of an immigration judge within a matter of days. What I find kind of amusing is the circumvention of lawful pathways and notice of proposed rulemaking by the Biden Administration noted that there were no alternatives available to what they were proposing, and they noted that, such as an asylum cooperative agreement and remain in Mexico were not viable options because there was no time to negotiate them. Why I find that amusing is because the Trump Administration did negotiate them, they were working and the Biden Administration pulled them back, ended them, destroyed them, and now they’re saying, ‘well we don’t have any alternative because we can’t do that.’ It’s just not the way.”

Representative Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) emphasized cartels are leveraging the chaos at the border by creating diversions at the expense of human life to traffic dangerous narcotics like fentanyl across the southern border.

Rep. Biggs: “Let’s talk about fentanyl. 90% that we interdict is at a port of entry. If you’ve never been down to the border and literally driven for 30 miles, you don’t even see a CBP agent, why? Because they’re processing people, and you know the number of people that are coming across that don’t want to be caught. You got to understand…that it’s between the port of entry where people are bringing the fentanyl in. Is that not true Mr. Homan?”

Mr. Homan: “I spent three decades investigating criminal cartels who smuggle narcotics into the United States. They will use the route of least resistance. Will they go through a port of entry where every vehicle is stopped, driver spoken to…between the ports of entry when 70 to 90% of agents are off the line, and in several instances, no one is on the line, that’s when the criminal cartel is going to move the fentanyl.”

Representative Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) pointed out the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released many illegal aliens into the United States and reiterated that terrorist and cartel organizations are taking advantage of the Biden Administration’s open border agenda.

Rep. Waltz: “Just look at the numbers and do the math, we’ve got just in two months DHS released 257,000, a quarter million, enough to fill entire stadiums. I’m for legal immigration or orderly immigration, however this Administration is espousing polices that invite people to come however they can and 40% by gangs and cartels and by smugglers. They are forever scarred and abused by these policies.”

Representative Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) described how DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is failing his basic responsibilities by empowering drug cartels and terrorist organizations. DHS is charged by statute with preventing terrorist entry and securing the border.

Rep. Mace: “Can you explain how directives from Secretary Mayorkas have empowered drug cartels?”

Mr. Edlow: “Certainly, the directives starting with the halting of deportation the first day of the Biden Administration then moving on to the enforcement priorities under Secretary Mayorkas have made it so that drug cartels know that the majority of people that they help to come across for one reason or another…are not going to be the subject of deportation or enforcement actions and ultimately it’s going to help the cartels gain a greater foothold in the country.”

Rep. Mace: “Do you believe Secretary Mayorkas actions and directives violate federal law and his oath of office?”

Mr. Edlow: “I believe that the actions in terms of regulations have made the border significantly less secure, they are in violation of the law, and I do believe it is dereliction of duty to have signed off on regulations that have done that.”

Representative Michael Cloud (R-Texas) noted how the Biden Administration’s open border policies are negatively impacting children. The Biden Administration has lost track of over 100,000 migrant children and many are being exploited.

Rep. Cloud: “A lot has been made of family separation, and you have mentioned it but if you could mention again, how many children has the Biden Administration lost and can you speak to the lives lost on the journey as well and the human side?”

Mr. Homan: “Nearly 100,000 children are missing. This Administration released to so-called sponsors, we can’t find them, but we do know we’ve found many working the midnight shift at a meatpacking plants, many of them forced labor. Many are in indentured servitude. We know that we’ve lost right around 1,700 aliens have died making this trip, that’s not counting the Darien Gap which is thousands between Mexico and Central America. When you make promises that you can cross this border illegally, you’ll get released, you’ll get work authorization, you can’t be removed because ICE can’t remove somebody that’s in the country legally for being here illegally, the Secretary said that. When you make those promises…the most vulnerable people in the world are going to put themselves in harm’s way of the cartels.”

READ MORE: Comer Opens Hearing on Biden Administration’s Unilateral Actions Fueling Border Crisis

CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.