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Washington, D.C.- House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul delivered the following opening statement at a full committee hearing on U.S. Priorities in the Western Hemisphere. 

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-Remarks as Delivered-

“I want to thank Chairman Meeks for holding this important hearing today. Its great to hear a full committee hearing on western hemisphere.

I also want to thank Assistant Secretaries Brian Nichols and Todd Robinson, as well as Assistant Administrator Marcela Escobari for joining us today.

I look forward to working with you all to create a more stable, secure, and prosperous Western Hemisphere.

We used to have something called the Monroe Doctrine, it’d be great to have a doctrine called the ‘Western Hemisphere Security and Prosperity Alliance.’

As we look ahead at the many challenges in the Western Hemisphere, getting U.S. policy right has never been more important.

That is especially true of the ongoing crisis at our nation’s southern border. I am from a border state, Texas, probably one of the worse impacted in this crisis.

I have been to the southern border dozens of times both as a federal prosecutor and chair of homeland security and have witnessed the migration crisis as it has continued to worsen.

On one trip last year, I saw a 5-year-old girl all alone.

She was crying and did not know where she was or where her family had gone. It was absolutely heartbreaking.

And she was one of dozens of children, and hundreds of adults I saw while I was there. I’ve seen that movie many times.

For the last year, the Biden administration promised it would confront this humanitarian crisis and I would argue the greatest human trafficking crisis.

Vice President Harris was even tasked specifically with addressing the root causes of illegal immigration.

Yet, one year later, the ongoing crises is the worst in recorded history.

Throwing money at this problem – as I fear is currently this administration’s only plan – will not work.

We need to get to the root causes of migration – which I believe requires a trade agenda, not only aid. The security is one issue, but we need to get to the root causes. The Ambassador from Guatemala puts it so well “I need trade, not aid”.

I look forward to working with Chairman Meeks and the witnesses on tackling investment barriers and promoting economic development to help reduce the flow of illegal immigration.

I also want to work with you to identify what sorts of industries American companies can be more involved in with there. What is DFC and USAID doing to help with the problem? That’s why we set up DFC in the first place.

I have persistently called on the administration to bring back common-sense policies like the Migration Protection Protocols.

Yet, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Biden administration is slow rolling its reimplementation – while at the same time working to suspend it once again. Its sending a mixed message and the problem is not going away.

This is a problem we must tackle NOW. We can no longer kick the can down the road and hope it goes away.

I am also gravely concerned about the expansion of America’s foreign adversaries in the Western Hemisphere – especially the Chinese Communist Party.

The CCP poses a generational threat to the United States.

Yet we have still not seen a substantive or coherent strategy from the administration on how to tackle this serious problem.
The CCP isn’t the only American adversary making inroads in our hemisphere.

Last year, the Iranian Navy made its furthest known voyage into the Atlantic to deliver weapons to Venezuela.

While this was – thankfully – unsuccessful, Tehran’s previous transfer of military equipment is fueling an already unstable situation in Venezuela. We know that Russia, China, and Iran are all in the hemisphere.

But that hasn’t stopped the growing malign actions by the Maduro regime.

Maduro’s criminality continues worsening the humanitarian and security crises.
And, as we speak, they are unlawfully detaining nine Americans – including people from my home state of Texas – on trumped up charges.

I have met with their families. And I’ve seen their anguish as they fear for their loved one’s safety. We need to get them out.

I implore the Biden administration to prioritize bringing them home – and bringing home American hostages held by hostile governments around the world.

The same goes for the administration’s feckless stance against the Cuban regime.

As Americans, we have a moral obligation to support the democratic aspirations of the Cuban people against their Communist oppressors who’ve ruled over that country for the last [63] years. We’ve seen a lot of talk and no action when it comes to Cuba.

A communist military dictatorship has no place in the Western Hemisphere.

Full stop.

And turning a blind eye to their oppression only makes this administration complicit in their crimes.

I look forward to today’s conversation and am hopeful we can address these, and some of the many other issues facing the Western Hemisphere. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate you, Chairman Sires, and Ranking Member Mark Green.

I appreciate your focus on the Western Hemisphere at the full committee level.

Thank you. I yield back the balance of my time.”