By Elizabeth Troutman
As fentanyl kills thousands of Americans and illegal immigration continues to increase, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday addressing how Biden administration’s border policies have affected American lives.
Representatives heard testimony from several witnesses, including Brandon Dunn, co-founder of the Forever 15 Project; Dale Lynn Carruthers, county judge of Terrell County, Texas; and Mark Dannels, sheriff of Cochise County, Arizona.
The number of undocumented immigrant crossings at the southwest border for the fiscal year 2022 topped 2.76 million, topping the previous annual record by more than 1 million, Customs and Border Protection data revealed.
The Drug Enforcement Administration seized record amounts of illegal fentanyl in 2022, a news release said. More than 100,000 people died from fentanyl overdoses in a 12-month period.
The following are four takeaways from the hearing on “The Biden Border Crisis.”
1. Concern about the border is “racist,” Democrat Rep. Jerry Nadler says.
“The first hearing [of the Republican majority] showcases the racist tendency of extreme MAGA wing of the Republican party,” Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said
He said the “haphazard, chaotic” hearing made him miss the Right’s “usual obsession with conspiracy theories and the FBI.” Nadler said the Republicans’ goal with the hearing was to distract from their failure to pass meaningful legislation during the session.
2. The border crisis is worse under Biden than Trump.
Dannels, a sheriff with 38 years of experience at the border, said that under the Biden administration, the border is open, saying Biden policies are the reason drug cartels are able to smuggle fentanyl across the border.
“It was better under President Trump,” Dannels said. “This is the worst I’ve seen,” referencing “aggravated acts toward law enforcement.”
Dannels said open border policies hinder his ability to do his job, as “border crimes equate to about 40-44%” of the people in his jail, forcing him to spend a lot of time with border crimes instead of the usual police work.
The sheriff said the rule of law is not enforced under the Biden administration as it was under the previous administration.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said the worst about the crisis is that it was avoidable.
“Under President Trump the border was secure, under President Biden there is no border — and Americans are paying the price,” Jordan said.
3. Record numbers of illegal immigrants are crossing the border.
Since Biden took office, more than 4.5 million migrants have crossed the border illegally, 1.7 million of whom had been released into American communities, Jordan said in his opening remarks.
Jordan said immigration is at the “highest numbers ever recorded in a single year in our nation’s history,” including 8,100 illegal entrances per day in December 2022.
Jordan said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas told him he was unsure of the status of immigrants on the terrorism watchlist.
“These numbers make clear that the Biden administration does not have operational control of the border,” Jordan said. “Month after month after month, we have set records for migrants coming into the country and frankly, I think it’s intentional.”
“Make no mistake, the Biden administration is carrying out its plan,” Jordan added.
4. Biden isn’t listening to border patrol agents.
“We have tried to reach out to Biden,” Dannels said. “He is the first president not to meet with sheriffs.” Dannels said there is an “absence of federal government” at America’s border. The president has only toured the U.S.-Mexico border once during his presidency.
Mayorkas, too, has not been responsive, according to Dannels. Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., called this an “absolute dereliction of duty,” and “inexcusable,” calling the border crisis an “impossible situation.”