Update on the Border
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Things Are Only Getting Worse
Nearly one year ago, myself and other members of the Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee’s Oversight Subcomittee and Health Subcommittee traveled to McAllen, Texas, to hold a joint field hearing, which I chaired, on the state of our southern border. We heard from witnesses who had real-life experience dealing with the consequences of the Biden Administration’s poor border policies.
A year on (and three years since the start of the Biden Administration) not much has changed. In fact, things have only gotten worse.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported an astounding 2.47 million encounters at the southwest border for fiscal year (FY) 2023. In comparison, CBP reported roughly 450,000 encounters for FY 2020.
Incredibly, November 2023 (the latest month for which we have data) has been reported as the worst November on record, according to CBP, with 242,418 encounters at the southwest border alone.
Further, the Biden Administration’s border policies are so inadequate, based on information from the CBP, we are even having issues now with our northern border. Encounters there by the CBP have increased by 160% since November 2021.
I recently held a hearing in the Oversight Subcommittee of the E&C Committee to reexamine the health, safety, and educational effects of the border crisis.
Fentanyl continues to flood over our southern border, causing tens of thousands of deaths every year. On one day alone, border patrol seized 304 pounds of fentanyl in between ports of entry at our southern border.
We’ve seen a rise in child labor trafficking, due in large part to the exploitation of unaccompanied minors in our country. I have long called for reforms in how unaccompanied minors are looked after by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), especially after the New York Times reported that 85,000 children went missing in HHS’ care.
Our nation’s schools are also experiencing challenges. Many schools are facing strained resources as cities struggle to meet the educational needs of the illegal immigrants entering our country, on top of our nation’s own children.
Recently, in New York City, students at one school were told they had to learn remotely, like they did during COVID, because officials moved illegal immigrants into the school due to inclement weather.
Why should our children be negatively affected by poor Biden border policies?
Some Members of Congress recently visited a hospital in Eagle Pass, Texas, which is currently providing care for illegal immigrants. According to one of my colleagues, they learned that out of that particular hospital’s five ambulances, one ambulance is solely dedicated to transporting illegal immigrants from the border. Additionally, at the hospital, illegal immigrants are prioritized over American citizens due to acuity concerns.
Another hospital in Denver, Colorado, reported that they have not been compensated for $136 million in care due in part to 8,000 illegal immigrants in the city making 20,000 visits to the health system in 2023.
And still, the Administration does all it can to shift the blame away from their failed policies. “Border Czar” Kamala Harris recently did an interview in which she blamed Republicans for the border crisis, stating that since it’s an election year Republicans are weaponizing the border situation. Meanwhile it is House Republicans who have passed a comprehensive border bill, which Democrats in the Senate refuse to take up.
Additionally, Republicans here in the House have begun impeachment proceedings against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, for his inaction over the border crisis.
Need we remind the Biden Administration that we did not have this historic flood of illegal immigrants during the Trump Administration. Remember there were 450,000 encounters at the southwest border for FY 2020 vs. 2.47 million for FY 2023. That is nearly a 450% increase at the southwest border.
Americans are fed up. Unfortunately, it seems that no matter how bad things get, nothing can get the Biden Administration to act with regard to the border.
As a side note, Radford University student Meredith Page recently testified before the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee of the E&C Committee at a hearing about protecting student athletes’ dealmaking rights. She is on the NCAA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and did a great job testifying. I was glad to be able to ask her a few questions about college athletics, the importance of protecting athletes, and her excellent experience at Radford University.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at https://morgangriffith.house.gov/. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.