House Committee Examines Biden Administration’s Failure to Enforce the Laws
FAIR Take | June 2023
Last Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Biden Administration’s border crisis titled “The Border Crisis: Is the Law Being Faithfully Executed?” The hearing examined Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “policies that violate the law and encourage illegal immigration.”
Witnesses for the hearing included:
- Chad Wolf, former Acting Secretary, DHS
- Joseph Edlow, former Acting Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Steven Bradbury, Distinguished Fellow, Heritage Foundation
- Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, Policy Director, American Immigration Council
Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) zeroed in on the Biden Administration’s abuse of our asylum system and parole authority in his opening statement. “The law specifically provides that any asylum claimant shall be detained while their claim is heard. This is now routinely ignored,” the congressman said. “The law specifically provides that parole is to be granted only on a case by case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. This law is now being ignored while parole is granted en masse to release many tens of thousands of immigrants illegally into our country.”
Former Acting Secretary Chad Wolf also provided harsh criticism of the Biden Administration in his testimony. He highlighted the policies and practices that the Trump Administration utilized to secure the border and stated, “To be clear — the laws didn’t change between administrations, just the refusal of the current one to follow their legal obligations. Instead, they embraced destructive and unlawful policies that have made American communities less safe and enriched the Mexican cartels to new heights because open borders is a lucrative business.”
Wolf also mentioned a number of ways the current administration was abusing the law. He said the Biden Administration intentionally decided to ignore its legal mandate to detain illegal aliens or make them wait in Mexico throughout their immigration court proceedings. He highlighted the fact that, because of the mass influx of migrants at the border, DHS issued “Notices to Report,” which relies on migrants to self-report to a local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office when they reach their destination, rather than actually charging them and issuing notices to appear in court. Wolf discussed the Administration’s non-enforcement policies, including the 100-day deportation freeze that was directed by the President on his first day in office. He also detailed policies that reward illegal aliens, granting them entry via parole and declaring that being in the country unlawfully is not a ground for removal.
Some members of the Republican majority emphasized the role that nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are playing in facilitating illegal immigration. Congressman Tom Tiffany (R-Wis.) asked Heritage Fellow Stephen Bradbury, “Do you think the American people are aware of the role of NGOs running the pipeline to our border?” Mr. Bradbury replied no, and that, moreover, that role may be being intentionally concealed by the Biden Administration. Congressman Tiffany then noted that while great work is being done by many faith-based organizations, the Judiciary Committee should perhaps hold a hearing with the head of Catholic Charities – arguably the largest NGO assisting illegal aliens – to explain what they are doing at our southern border to drive illegal immigration.
The numbers from our southern border under the Biden Administration paint a stark picture. So far under President Biden, we have seen roughly six million illegal aliens apprehended at the border, along with more than 1.5 million aliens who evaded Border Patrol agents; approximately 150,000 unaccompanied alien children (UACs) crossing the border in fiscal year 2022 alone; record-setting numbers of suspects on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) terrorist watchlist apprehended trying to cross the border, including nearly 100 so far this fiscal year; and tons of fentanyl pouring across the border as the country faces an opioid epidemic, with more than 17,000 pounds coming across just since October 2022.
Given the crisis at the border, congressional oversight is critical to hold the Administration accountable for its dereliction of duty. “Anarchy, I regret to say, is what we see today with the strategic refusal to implement our border security laws,” said Wolf. “Unless we course-correct immediately, our Rule of Law is in somber danger of being lost forever into the oblivion of history. That is a message worth remembering, and re-committing ourselves to, if we are to remain a nation of laws. Or even a nation at all,” he concluded.
To watch the full hearing, click here.