Chairman McCaul Delivers Opening Remarks At Hearing To Address Solutions To Southern Border Crisis
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul delivered the following remarks at a full committee hearing entitled, “The U.S. Border Crisis and the American Solution to an International Problem.” In his remarks, Chairman McCaul underscored the catastrophic policies of the Biden administration which enabled an unchecked flow of migrants over America’s southern border. Chairman McCaul also outlined the security threats posed by our southern border and the dire humanitarian crisis unfolding there, driven by cartels and criminals.
– Remarks as Delivered –
In my 20 years in Congress, including when I was Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, and as a former federal prosecutor in Texas tasked with securing our border, I’ve never seen our border this chaotic.
Simply put, the border is broken.
What we’re witnessing today is unprecedented.
In total, since President Biden took office, we’ve had more than 7.5 million encounters at the southern border.
This is the population of nine states combined.
This includes 7,000 special interest aliens and nearly 300 apprehensions of individuals on the terrorist watch list, compared to 14 under the previous administration.
The security risk to our country is real, and our adversaries around the world are capitalizing on our open border policies.
It only took 19 terrorists to perpetrate 9/11 as the FBI testified before the Homeland Security Committee just two weeks ago.
This crisis is a self-inflicted wound and a direct result of this administration’s policies.
Upon taking office, the Biden administration rescinded the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico.”
Under MPP, migrants were removed to Mexico while their asylum claims were adjudicated in the United States.
Now, without MPP they are released into the interior under a failed “catch-and-release” program.
This chart shows the ports of entry in which MPP was instituted.
Yet one rescission, one stroke of the pen ended that. It ended MPP. [In] one of [his] first days of office, one of the first things the Biden administration did was to rescind this policy that was working and it allowed the chaos that we see now at the border to reach historic levels.
And as someone who was both a federal prosecutor, Chairman of [the Homeland Security Committee], and now this committee, every major port of entry is covered under this program. Yet one recession, one stroke of the pen ended this successful program and allowed this chaos at the border to reach these levels. Historic levels.
So, in my many meetings with Border Patrol agents at the border, and I’ve been there many times, they tell me very bluntly – when I say, “Was there a cause and effect?”
They say, “Yes sir, yes Mr. Chairman.” They tell me very bluntly the rescission of this policy had a direct cause and effect on the chaos at the border.
The sad thing is, we had policies that were working. I spent over 25 years on this, and I never thought we would actually see it fixed. The sad thing is we had it fixed, and now it’s absolutely devastating. We need to turn off the pull-factor, the magnet driving this, that will also shut down the cartels.
MPP did that.
Under MPP, U.S. apprehensions of migrants on the Southwest border fell by 62 percent from May 2019 to August 2019. Imagine that? A 62 percent decrease from just May to August in one year.
That also, importantly, financially crippled – and brought to their knees – the cartels that were profiting off [of] human trafficking and other illicit activity. We know now they are making upwards of billions of dollars.
Additionally, Asylum Cooperative Agreements were integral to stemming the tide of illegal aliens.
They required asylum seekers to apply for asylum upon arrival in the first safe country.
By allowing aliens to enter the interior of this country freely, we are signaling to them: Come on in, we’re open for business, the border is wide open.
And we all know when they get in, we don’t have detention space and guess what? The very first bill I ever introduced in Congress 20 years ago was to end catch-and-release. Here we are today, 20 years later, back to the policies that have failed our country and the American people: Catch-and-release.
And what will happen to these 7.5. million encounters, many of whom are in this country now with no legal status, living in the shadows?
Well, I’ll tell you what’s going to happen: The young girls are going to be sex trafficked, the young males will go to MS-13, they’ll be paying the cartels off, they’ll be involved in drug trafficking.
And we have already seen this. They are going to be forced into gangs and labor rings.
Over 2,000 migrants and counting have died trying to make the dangerous journey across the border in the last three fiscal years.
35 percent of women and children are sexually abused throughout their journey at the hands of the brutal cartel members. It was just reported there are rape tents in the Darién Gap, that leads [from] South America to Mexico, where 400 women and children have been brutalized and raped.
And again, when they get here, what happens?
We see 30 children being sent to the same house. Sponsors – family members sponsoring 30 children to the same house – that cannot be a familial thing. They are brought there for [two purposes]: For money for human trafficking, and to exploit them sexually.
Sadly, they have not even been vetted in many cases – because our Secretary [of Homeland Security] Mayorkas lifted those restrictions.
This is turning into a major human trafficking event, the biggest I’ve seen in my lifetime, and it is right here inside the United States.
And it is only going to get worse if we don’t change the policies back to what worked.
This administration has created a criminal enterprise, right now inside the United States of America that will have ramifications for years to come.
And most tragically, over the last two years, nearly 150,000 people have died from fentanyl poisoning. You know, I [have] five children – just their high school alone – they’ve been to five funerals. Five funerals. Tell that to the parents. They took what they thought was [for] ADD or Xanax, and they never woke up.
That number is nearly triple the number of American deaths due to the entire duration of the entire Vietnam War. And we only expect these deaths to continue. To get worse.
I have always said the border is our last line of defense. So as we look at this national security bill we’re working on – and I agree with it – what are the major threats to the United States?
Well, there’s Putin in Europe. There’s Chairman Xi in the Pacific. Ayatollah [in the] Middle East, what he’s doing with Hamas in Israel. And guess what? The last line of defense is our southern border, and we have no defense.
I have always said we need to push our borders out. Push the borders out. Stop playing defense one yard from our goal line. Push it out to their end zone, and that’s what MPP did. That’s what Remain in Mexico did.
Regrettably, I believe this administration has been derelict in its duty and its responsibility to protect the American people.
Put simply, the President and Secretary Mayorkas are aiding and abetting this crisis at our southern border, and I told him so at our hearing at the Homeland Security Committee hearing. Aiding and abetting under the federal statute. Human trafficking, hundreds of thousands of deaths, fentanyl poisoning.
As I said, I have been dealing with the border for almost three decades. I thought we had it solved. I really did, and I could go home finally to my constituents and say, “You know what, we got it done.”
Well guess what? This administration, by abandoning the policies that worked, have royally messed it up. And am I a little emotional about this? You’re darn right.
When I go home to Texas and I talk to my constituents, they are angry that I am their only voice up here. But my voice reflects their voice, of their anger, about what is happening.
My state has [borne] the brunt – borne the brunt – of this. Billions of dollars of cost to the people of the state of Texas, and my state legislature appropriated all this money when it is really a federal responsibility!
I think it’s well past time to get back to what worked. I don’t care what you call this – I know you’re doing this because it was the prior administration – but you know what worked. Call it what you want, but let’s get back to what works for the sake of the American people. I hope that – in this national security package we are working on – we finally have a chance to get border security back front-and-center, and I hope that we can get it done.
I’ve talked to the Ranking Member, he’s open.
I’ve talked to the Secretary of State. I think – I believe – that they are finally opening their eyes to maybe getting back to what worked so well.
But, as Reagan said, “Trust but verify.”
We’ll see. We will see. Elections have consequences. This one had a really grave consequence and I believe – if we don’t get this thing back on track – we’re going to have another consequence in the next election, because the American people are fed up with this. They are sick and tired of having a border that is not secure.
And it is within the jurisdiction of this committee – while [the Homeland Security Committee] that I chaired – had many, this committee has jurisdiction over the principal that worked the greatest, and [those are] the Migrant Protection Protocols and Remain in Mexico.
That’s why we marked that up, out of this committee. We passed it out of committee and we put that provision in H.R. 2, which was the House Republicans’ border security bill that now we are trying to get in the national security aid package as I talk to the senators on the other side of this Congress to work to get this in. And when I talk to them: Please put this provision in, because this is the driving thing. This is the thing that really made the difference.
And we can put up all the stuff we want down there – barbed wire and all that stuff – but if we don’t change the asylum policies, like this, we are not going to get to the root cause of the problem.