Energy and Commerce Committee Holds a Hearing on the Border Crisis - on the Border
FAIR Take | February 2023
On February 15, Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee traveled to Weslaco, TX – a border community of about 40,000 people near McAllen – for a field hearing entitled “The Biden Administration’s Border Crisis is a Public Health Crisis.” The hearing featured testimony from four witnesses with diverse perspectives on the border crisis – a sheriff, a healthcare executive whose hospital network focuses on drug addiction, a left-wing activist, and a Border Patrol agent. Jointly held by the Subcommittees on Health and Oversight & Investigations, it drew eighteen House Members – fifteen Republicans and three Democrats – in the midst of a two-week recess from work in Washington, DC. Since the hearing focused on public health impacts of the border crisis, a common thread of questions related to deadly fentanyl and the perils of the migrant journey.
In his opening statement, Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Chair of the Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee, asserted, “no other country in the world operates its borders in the manner this administration has chosen,” and promised, “this committee will shed light on the national emergency, even if the White House continues to ignore it.” Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), chair of the full Energy and Commerce Committee, highlighted the case of a fellow Spokane resident, Molly Cain, whose 23-year-old son Carson died of fentanyl poisoning after purchasing a pill he thought was Xanax. “It takes just one pill to kill,” Rodgers said. “No parent should have to feel Molly’s pain.”
The left-wing activist witness, a civil rights lawyer and failed Texas Attorney General candidate named Rochelle Garza, at one point, bizarrely said, “I don’t understand why we’re here at the border, because there is really no connection between what is happening with the opioid crisis in this country and immigrants that are just seeking refuge.” Congresswoman Kat Cammack (R-FL) hammered Garza on this point during her questioning. Holding up a picture of a brick of 958 grams of fentanyl found in her district – enough to kill nearly half a million people, Cammack said, “Every single one of these Members here today have illegal substances in their district as a result of the Biden open-border policies. That is the connection. To say that there is no connection, that is wildly inappropriate [and] unacceptable.” She then called on Garza to apologize to angel families who have lost loved ones to illegal-alien crime.
Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) also got into it with Garza. “You can’t understand why we’re having a field hearing on the southern border relating to fentanyl? It’s because it comes across the southern border, Ms. Garza,” Crenshaw said, before cornering her on whether legal penalties should be increased for fentanyl traffickers. “You are villainizing my community,” Garza whined in response. Perhaps law enforcement should investigate Ms. Garza and her accomplices if, as she freely admits in sworn testimony before Congress, her “community” is comprised of illicit traffickers of one of the deadliest substances on the planet.
In the final questions of the night, Congressman August Pfluger (R-TX) asked Sheriff Urbino “Benny” Martinez – wryly nicknamed the “undertaker” for the number of dead migrant bodies his department recovers in Brooks County, TX – if Biden could stem the migrant flow simply by using the bully pulpit to tell would-be border-crossers the border is closed. “We’re not talking anything other than rhetoric. Would that have an effect on the cartels?” Pfluger asked. Martinez was unequivocal: “Absolutely. The rhetoric has everything to do with it. Everything.” Clearly, the solutions aren’t as difficult as they are often portrayed. All it takes is political will. Yet Biden and his open-borders administration continues to show no interest in taking even the most basic steps to solve this crisis.
You can watch the full February 15 Energy and Commerce Committee hearing entitled, “The Biden Administration’s Border Crisis is a Public Health Crisis,” by clicking here.