House Judiciary’s First Hearing Highlights Border Crisis
FAIR Take | February 2023
Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held its first full hearing on immigration. The hearing, entitled Biden’s Border Crisis—Part I, highlighted the impacts of illegal immigration on the American people, from schools to health care, to public safety, to families who have lost loved ones to drug overdoses. It highlighted how Border Patrol is being moved from the border to help process individuals for asylum, allowing fentanyl to pour into the country between ports of entry. It also discussed the threat that cartels and traffickers may bring their dangerous and lethal antics to our soil.
All of the witnesses at the hearing had personally experienced the impacts of the crisis at the southern border. The first witness was Mr. Brandon Dunn, the father of a fifteen-year-old boy who died from fentanyl poisoning. His son, Noah, was a sophomore in high school and was murdered by a drug dealer who sold counterfeit pills that contained 8 milligrams of fentanyl, which is four times the lethal dose. Noah’s family is not alone; Mr. Dunn testified that there are countless people that have been lost to fentanyl, which is smuggled across the border.
The second witness was Arizona’s Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels. He testified that he has experienced the good, the bad and the ugly, and today is the worst it has ever been. He said border deaths are at an all-time high, and that the threats to his county residents and law enforcement are endless. He shared that the morale of agents is extremely low and that calls for help have been ignored by this administration.
The third witness, Dale Carruthers, is a judge and rancher from Terrell County, Texas. He stated that the chaos caused by this administration’s open-border policies is the reason he and many others have switched parties. He described in detail how his ranch has suffered from illegal alien traffic, and in particular, has experienced water system damage that threatens his livestock and crops. Families like his, he said, live in fear because trespassing on their land, stealing of food, and damaging property is commonplace.
Finally, the Democrats’ witness, Texas Judge Ricardo Samaniego of El Paso, shared how his local community is treating asylum seekers and transporting them to other places in the country. He described their expeditious processing of illegal aliens as “a success story,” describing how the county is processing over 1,000 people per day and has moved nearly 27,000 people since they started working with nonprofits to provide same-day travel to the destination of their choice. He said the border is not open, that there is no invasion, despite the fact that there were 162,000 encounters in the El Paso sector in the first quarter of this fiscal year – and 55,000 encounters in December alone. He, like many Democrat lawmakers, did not see the correlation between illegal immigration and other serious issues like drug smuggling and human trafficking. He suggested the committee was conflating the issue of the border crisis with people seeking a better life.
Indeed, many Democrats in attendance complained about the entire premise of the hearing on the border crisis, even claiming that securing the border is racist. Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) opened the hearing by declaring it would showcase “the racist tendencies of the extreme MAGA Republican wing of the party.” Similarly, Rep. Jayapal (D-WA) criticized Republicans for using the hearing to make “a lot of statements that aren’t true” and using “nativist rhetoric” such as “invasion and flooding” to “demonize immigrants.” The Democrats’ witness echoed these statements, arguing: “There is no invasion of migrants in our community,” and that “claiming this continues a false, racist narrative…”
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) also objected to the hearing. She declared that its purpose was “to amplify the anti-immigrant hysteria and right-wing conspiracy theories” and that her presence there was “in opposition to any racist agenda pursued by Republicans.” She excoriated Republicans’ attempts to enforce the immigration laws and said their position on immigration “is to inflict as much cruelty as possible on the people fleeing suffering and persecution.”
Despite these objections, many Democrats also called the immigration system broken, and that the laws needed to be fixed. Some argued that “legal pathways” or “functioning legal pathways” or “additional pathways” are needed to solve the problem at the border. These lawmakers, however, appear to have forgotten that enforcing the laws also secures the border and restores order to our immigration system.
Between 2017 and 2020, President Trump robustly enforced our immigration laws, and the border was much more secure. The data also show how border security collapsed during the first two years of the Biden Administration, and how the borders were thrown wide open to drug dealers, cartels, traffickers and criminals. Thus, there isn’t a problem with the law. The problem is that the Biden Administration refuses to enforce the law.