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Hearing Date: Wednesday 04/26/2023 – 3:00 PM Hearing Location: 2141 Rayburn House Office Building
The hearing, “The Biden Border Crisis: Exploitation of Unaccompanied Alien Children,” will examine the unprecedented surge of unaccompanied alien children at the southwest border and how open-border policies enable the exploitation of those children.
Good afternoon, Chairman McClintock, ranking member Jayapal, and distinguished members of the committee. It's an honor to be here. I thank you for the invitation to share my testimony.
My goal is to inspire action to safeguard the lives of migrant children, including the staggering 85,000 that are missing.
Today, children will work overnight shifts at slaughterhouses, factories, and restaurants to pay their debts to smugglers and traffickers. Today, children will be sold for sex. Today, children will call a hotline to report that they are being abused, neglected, and trafficked. For nearly a decade, unaccompanied children have been suffering in the shadows.
I must confess; I knew nothing about their suffering until 2021 when I volunteered to help the Biden Administration with the crisis at the Southern Border. As part of Operation Artemis, I was deployed to the Pomona Fairplex Emergency Intake Site in California to help the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement reunite children with sponsors in the US.
I thought I was going to help place children in loving homes. Instead, I discovered that children are being trafficked through a sophisticated network that begins with being recruited in their home country, smuggled to the US border, and ends when ORR delivers a child to sponsors – some of whom are criminals, traffickers, and members of Transnational Criminal Organizations.
Some sponsors view children as commodities and assets to be used for earning income – this is why we are witnessing an explosion of labor trafficking.
Whether intentional or not, it can be argued that the US Government has become the middleman in a large-scale, multi-billion-dollar child trafficking operation run by bad actors seeking to profit off the lives of children.
As for me, my interest is in the safety of the children. I don't view this as a political issue. I view this as a humanitarian issue. My motives are the highest and best. I want to see the children protected, so I want to tell you what I witnessed at the Pomona Fairplex:
- I've sat with Case Managers as they cried retelling horrific things that were done to children on the journey.
- I saw apartment buildings where 20, 30, and 40 unaccompanied children have been released.
- I saw sponsors trying to simultaneously sponsor children from multiple ORR sites.
- I saw sponsors using multiple addresses to obtain sponsorships of children.
- I saw numerous cases of children in debt bondage, and the child knew they had to stay with the sponsor until the debt was paid.
Realizing that we were not offering children the American dream, but instead putting them into modern-day slavery with wicked overlords, was a terrible revelation. These children are a captive victim population, with no access to law enforcement or knowledge of their rights. They are extorted, exploited, abused, neglected, and trafficked. This is why I blew the whistle.
I've witnessed firsthand the horrors of child trafficking and exploitation. My life will never be the same. But I have hope. I'm counting on you. It's my hope you'll take action to end this crisis and safeguard the lives of these vulnerable children.
People have asked me, “What would you do to turn the ship around?” I usually say some of the following:
- Commit to oversight, transparency, and accountability. The number one priority for HHS should be oversight. Data from the UC program needs to be examined by expert data analysts. This can be quickly done by experts in the IG Community at the Pandemic Analytics Center of Excellence (PACE). Children could be rescued, and criminals could be prosecuted if the PACE had access to the data in the UC portal.
- Stop retaliating against whistleblowers. Stop retaliating against the truth tellers who are trying to help. As it is written, “A wise man listens to advice, while a fool continues in his folly.” HHS needs to be wise.
- Change HHS' culture of speed over safety. Speed is the wrong performance measure.
- Revamp the vetting process of sponsors and have Case Managers who are investigators, data analysts, certified fraud examiners, etc.
- Reimagine a system where the sponsor is the accountable party. Sponsors should be required to report to ORR.
Again, I have hope. I'm counting on you. It's my hope you'll take action to end this crisis and safeguard the lives of these vulnerable children. Thank you for your time and attention to this urgent matter. I'd be happy to answer any questions from the committee.
- Ms. Tara RodasHHS Whistleblower, Federal Inspector General EmployeeRodas Biography [PDF 272KB]Rodas Testimony [PDF 163KB]Rodas Truth and Testimony [PDF 344KB]
- Ms. Sheena RodriguezFounder and President, Alliance for a Safe TexasRodriguez Biography [PDF 167KB]Rodriguez Testimony [PDF 98KB]Rodriguez Truth in Testimony [PDF 365KB]
- Ms. Jessica VaughanDirector of Policy Studies, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)Vaughan Biography [PDF 181KB]Vaughan Testimony [PDF 406KB]Vaughan Truth in Testimony [PDF 1MB]
- Mr. Robert CareyPrinciple, Migration Works LLCCarey Biography [PDF 84KB]Carey Testimony [PDF 86KB]Carey Truth in Testimony [PDF 406KB]
- A letter to Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families, January Contreras, dated October 24th, 2022 submitted to the Record by Mr. Biggs of AZ [PDF 145KB]
- Testimony of Robin Dunn Marcos, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement submitted to the Record by Mr. Nadler of NY [PDF 203KB]
- An article titled “Meet Latin America's First Millennial Dictator” by the Slate Group submitted to the Record by Ms. Jayapal of WA [PDF 2MB]
- A statement submitted to the Record by Ms. Jayapal of WA [PDF 112KB]
- A letter from the Administration for Children and Families dated January 10th, 2023 submitted for the Record by Mr. Biggs of AZ [PDF 582KB]
- A statement for the Record by Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) submitted to the Record by Ms. Jayapal of WA [PDF 196KB]
- A statement from the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights submitted to the Record by Ms. Jayapal of WA [PDF 158KB]
- A statement submitted to the Record by Ms. Jackson Lee of TX [PDF 235KB]
Editor's note: we felt it would be important to include the entire transcript, so it could be referenced by our Knowledge Vault's search features.
Transcript: THE BIDEN BORDER CRISIS: PART I
======================================================================= HEARING BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED EIGHTEENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION __________ WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2023 __________ Serial No. 118-2 __________ Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary [GRAPHIC NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] Available via: http://judiciary.house.gov __________ U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 50-918 WASHINGTON : 2023 COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY JIM JORDAN, Ohio, Chair DARRELL ISSA, California JERROLD NADLER, New York, Ranking KEN BUCK, Colorado Member MATT GAETZ, Florida ZOE LOFGREN, California MIKE JOHNSON, Louisiana SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas ANDY BIGGS, Arizona STEVE COHEN, Tennessee TOM McCLINTOCK, California HENRY C. ``HANK'' JOHNSON, Jr., TOM TIFFANY, Wisconsin Georgia THOMAS MASSIE, Kentucky ADAM SCHIFF, California CHIP ROY, Texas DAVID N. CICILLINE, Rhode Island DAN BISHOP, North Carolina ERIC SWALWELL, California VICTORIA SPARTZ, Indiana TED LIEU, California SCOTT FITZGERALD, Wisconsin PRAMILA JAYAPAL, Washington CLIFF BENTZ, Oregon J. LUIS CORREA, California BEN CLINE, Virginia MARY GAY SCANLON, Pennsylvania LANCE GOODEN, Texas JOE NEGUSE, Colorado JEFF VAN DREW, New Jersey LUCY McBATH, Georgia TROY NEHLS, Texas MADELEINE DEAN, Pennsylvania BARRY MOORE, Alabama VERONICA ESCOBAR, Texas KEVIN KILEY, California DEBORAH ROSS, North Carolina HARRIETT HAGEMAN, Wyoming CORI BUSH, Missouri NATHANIEL MORAN, Texas GLENN IVEY, Maryland LAUREL LEE, Florida WESLEY HUNT, Texas RUSSELL FRY, South Carolina CHRISTOPHER HIXON, Majority Staff Director AMY RUTKIN, Minority Staff Director & Chief of Staff ------ C O N T E N T S ---------- Wednesday, February 1, 2023 Page OPENING STATEMENTS The Honorable Jim Jordan, Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of Ohio......................................... 1 The Honorable Jerrold Nadler, Ranking Member of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of New York....................... 3 INTRODUCTIONS OF WITNESSES The Honorable Chip Roy, a Member of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of Texas, introduced Brandon Dunn, Co- founder, Forever15Project...................................... 4 The Honorable Andy Biggs, a Member of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of Arizona, introduced Mark Dannnels, Sheriff, Cochise County........................................ 5 The Honorable Veronica Escobar, a Member of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of Texas, introduced Ricardo Samaniego, County Judge, El Paso, Texas........................ 5 The Honorable Jim Jordan, Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of Ohio, introduced Judge Dale Lynn Carruthers, County Judge which was unable to attend........................ 6 WITNESSES Brandon Dunn, Co-founder, Forever15Project Oral Testimony................................................. 7 Prepared Testimony............................................. 9 Mark Dannnels, Sheriff, Cochise County Oral Testimony................................................. 11 Prepared Testimony............................................. 13 Hon. Judge Ricardo Samaniego, County Judge, El Paso, Texas Oral Testimony................................................. 81 Prepared Testimony............................................. 83 Hon. Judge Dale Lynn Carruthers, Terrell County Judge and Rancher Prepared Testimony............................................. 86 LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC. SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING All items submitted for the record by Members of the Committee on the Judiciary are listed below:................................ 157 Materials submitted by the Honorable Ken Buck, a Member of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of Colorado, for the record An article entitled, ``Rhode Island high school staff solicits ``donations'' to paycartel ``coyote'' who brought student to U.S.,'' January 28, 2023, Fox News An article entitled, ``Over 73,000 `gotaways' at southern borderin November, highest ever recorded,'' December 1, 2022, Fox News Materials submitted by the Honorable Ted Lieu, a Member of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of California, for the record An article entitled, ``Fentanyl is Smuggled for U.S. Citizens by U.S. Citizens Not by Asylum Seekers,'' September 14, 2022, Cato Blog Materials submitted by the Honorable Andy Biggs, a Member of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of Arizona, for the record An article entitled, ``El Paso forced to bus immigrants out of town amid mass migration,'' August 31, 2022, New York Post An article entitled, ``El Paso joins Gov. Greg Abbott in busing migrantsto New York City,'' August 26, 2022, The Texas Tribune An article entitled, ``El Paso looks like a `third-world country' after Texas border city is overrun by migrants,'' September 13, 2022, New York Post Materials submitted by the Honorable Pramila Jayapal, a Member of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of Washington, for the record Statement from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Statement from the Church World Service (CWS) Statement from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) Statement from the First Focus Campaign for Children Statement from the Human Rights First Statement from the Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) Statement from the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) Statement from the National Immigration Project (NIPNLG) Statement from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) Statement from the Southern Border Communities Coalition (SBCC) A letter from U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB), on behalf of Rep. Ivey, submitted by the Honorable Veronica Escobar, a Member of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of Texas, for the record APPENDIX Statement from the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Member of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of Texas, for the record THE BIDEN BORDER CRISIS: PART I ---------- Wednesday, February 1, 2023 House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Washington, DC The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:28 a.m., in Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, the Hon. Jim Jordan [Chair of the Committee] presiding. Members present: Representatives Jordan, Issa, Buck, Gaetz, Johnson of Louisiana, Biggs, McClintock, Tiffany, Massie, Roy, Bishop, Spartz, Fitzgerald, Bentz, Cline, Gooden, Van Drew, Nehls, Moore, Kiley, Hageman, Moran, Lee of Florida, Hunt, Fry, Nadler, Lofgren, Johnson of Georgia, Schiff, Cicilline, Swalwell, Lieu, Jayapal, Correa, Scanlon, Neguse, Dean, Escobar, Ross, Bush, and Ivey. Chair Jordan. The Committee on Judiciary will come to order. Without objection, the Chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time. The Chair welcomes our guests, and we will introduce those in just a few minutes. We will start our proceeding this morning with an opening statement. Four point five million-- Mr. Cicilline. Mr. Chair, point of order. We are not going to begin the hearing with the Pledge of Allegiance? Chair Jordan. We already had it. Mr. Cicilline. No, no, that was the organizing meeting. I am happy to lead it. Chair Jordan. We had today's. Mr. Cicilline. It doesn't say that. It says, ``each hearing.'' This is our first hearing. I am happy to lead it if you will designate me. Chair Jordan. The amendment that was adopted said that we may start a hearing with the Pledge of Allegiance. If the gentleman is insisting on doing that, I would welcome Mr. Cicilline to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Cicilline. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am happy to. [Pledge of Allegiance.] Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman for leading us in the Pledge. I would now start with our opening statements. Four point five million, that is the number of illegal aliens encountered by CBP officials just in the time since President Biden took office; 1.7 million, the number of illegal migrants that Joe Biden released into American communities; 2,378,944, the number of illegal migrants encountered by CBP on the Southwest border in 2022--the highest number ever recorded in a single year in our Nation's history; 251,487, the number of illegal migrants encountered by CBP on the Southwest border in the month of December of last year--the highest monthly number ever recorded; 8,100, the average number of illegal migrants encountered per day on the Southwest border in the month of December, 2022; 717,660, the number of illegal migrant encounters on the Southwest border in just the first three months of this fiscal year; 1.1 million, the number of known got-aways who have successfully crossed the Southwest border since President Biden took office; 856, the number of migrants who died attempting to cross the Southwest border during the past fiscal year--again, the highest number on record; 98, the number of aliens on the Terrorist Watch List encountered on our Southwest border during Fiscal Year 2022--yet another record set by the Biden Administration. Remember when Mr. Mayorkas testified in front of this Committee last Congress, and we asked him about the number on that Terrorist Watch List? I remember asking Mr. Mayorkas--at the time it was only 40-something--we asked him about that number, and we said, ``What's the status of those individuals?'' His response was astonishing to every Member of the Committee, both Republican and Democrat, when he said he didn't know. He didn't know if they were detained. He didn't know. This year, 38, the number of aliens on that Terrorist Screening Data base already this year. A hundred and ninety-three, the number of fentanyl-related deaths in the United States every single day. We are going to hear from Mr. Dunn on the heartache this causes families and communities, this fentanyl problem. These numbers make clear that the Biden Administration does not have operational control of the border. Month after month after month, we have set records for migrants coming into the country, and frankly, I think it is intentional. I don't know how anyone with common sense or logic can reach any other conclusion. It seems deliberate; it seems premeditated; it seems intentional. As if that is not bad enough, we now learn that the crisis is no longer just confined to the Southwest border. Last week, the Chief Border Patrol Agent in Vermont tweeted this, quote, ``In less than four months, Swanton Sector's apprehensions have surpassed the COMBINED two prior years.'' Just in the past four months, more than the two-years combined beforehand. Make no mistake, the Biden Administration is carrying out its plan. We all heard Secretary Mayorkas who sat in front of this Committee and said, ``We are executing our plan on the border.'' We all heard President Biden say, ``We're trying to make it easier for people to get here.'' Well, they're certainly succeeding in that. Imagine the frustration that our border communities feel when they hear the damage done to their land and to their businesses, the crimes committed by illegal alien trespassers, and the overwhelmed local resources are all part of their own Federal Government's plan. Today, we will hear about some of the effects of Biden's open-border policies on everyday Americans and the communities in which they live. We will hear about dangerous encounters with illegal migrants on private property. We will hear about the devastating effects, as I said earlier, of fentanyl on American families, and we will hear about Mexican smuggling cartels exploiting the open border to terrorize U.S. communities. The worst part is that none of this had to happen. Under President Trump, the border was secure. Under President Biden, there is no border. Americans are paying the price. I now recognize the Ranking Member, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Nadler, once he completes his phone call, for his opening statement. Mr. Nadler. I thank the Chair for yielding. I wish this Committee was starting off on a different note. Unfortunately, this hearing is more of the same haphazard, chaotic style we have come to expect of this new Republican majority. We saw them take 15 tries to pick a Speaker. We saw them fumble in the opening play by needing to reschedule their first meeting, and now this. Their first hearing will showcase the racist tendencies of the extreme MAGA Republican wing of the Party that seeks to close the border to refugees from places like Cuba and Venezuela. It almost makes me miss their usual obsession with conspiracy theories and the FBI. Furthermore, this hearing appears to be the latest spate in an ongoing turf war between Chairs Jordan and Comer. As we all know, Chair Jordan's plans for his select Subcommittee cut deeply into Chair Comer's jurisdiction. Not to be outdone, Chair Comer announced that the Oversight Committee will hold its first hearing on the subject of immigration, a topic that is squarely in this Committee's jurisdiction, during the week of February 6th. Turning the tables on Chair Comer once again, our majority hastily threw together today's hearing to ensure that we beat the Oversight Committee by a few days--without the government witnesses that the Oversight Committee had time to secure, of course. I suspect this hearing is also intended to distract from the fact that Republicans have failed to pass any meaningful legislation in their first month in the majority. As we all know, as part of the rules package for the House, Majority Leader Scalise included 11 ``ready-to-go''--in quotes--pieces of legislation that were set to completely bypass regular order. Many of those fell under the purview of the Judiciary Committee. It appears, however, that these bills are anything but ready to go. Republicans are unable to pass four of the bills that were exclusively or partially under this Committee's jurisdiction. Most relevant to today's hearing is H.R. 29, the Border Safety and Security Act of 2023. This legislation has been described as, quote, ``not Christian, anti-American, and trying to ban legitimate asylum claims.'' Those are not my words. Those are the words of Republican Congressman Tony Gonzalez of Texas. He is not the only one. According to The Washington Post, dozens of Republican lawmakers have raised concerns about the scope of this legislation. Now, let's turn to today's hearing. There is no doubt that the majority and their witnesses will use the same extreme rhetoric we have come to expect from them. They will tell us that the southern border is open; that President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas opened it deliberately, and that it is mostly migrants who are smuggling drugs across our southern border. Of course, none of those statements are true. Yes, significant numbers of individuals are arriving at our southern border, but the Biden Administration actually expelled over 1.1 million people last year and recently expanded the use of Title 42--much to the concern of many of us here on the Committee. Additionally, the vast majority of drugs we seize are encountered at ports of entry. In Fiscal Year 2022, only 17 percent of illicit drugs, including 15 percent of all fentanyl, were seized between points of entry by the Border Patrol. The rest were seized by the Office of Field Operations who are stationed at ports of entry. The evidence does not show that asylum seekers are bringing drugs to our shores. In fact, increasingly, drug cartels are recruiting American citizens to bring drugs across the border through ports of entry. We all agree that our immigration system is broken, but let's fix the problems where they are, not where Fox News talking heads imagine them to be. Sadly, at every turn, this extreme Republican majority fails to offer genuine solutions and resorts to political theater. Our colleagues across the aisle cannot even negotiate in good faith with each other, let alone with us. If that changes, if House Republicans can get their act together and work with us on meaningful solutions to serious problems, as Senate Republicans appear to be willing to work with Senate Democrats, then Judiciary Committee Democrats stand ready to help. Given their behavior these past few months, I have my doubts. Republicans have proposed building a wall, shutting down the asylum system, and defunding the Department of Homeland Security. Those are not serious proposals. They may well play with the extreme's base, but they are a waste of this Committee's time, and the American people deserve better. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today, but I would also like to take a moment and express my condolences to Mr. Dunn and his family. I cannot imagine how difficult the loss of your son has been for you and your wife. Thank you for being here today. I yield back. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman. I will now recognize our witnesses for today's hearing. We want to thank them for being here. First, I want to yield to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Roy, to introduce one of our witnesses today. Mr. Roy. I thank the Chair. I wish that it were under different circumstances, but I am certainly proud to have a fellow Texan here willing to share the story that he is going to share with us here today. I have visited at length with Brandon Dunn and his lovely wife, Janel Rodriguez. They live in Hays County, Texas, where I live. They live a few miles down the road. They have four children today. Mr. Dunn will recount the loss of their son Noah last summer. They are a testament to wanting to get positive change out of a loss and working hard to do that. I am delighted to have them here to express what they are going to share about the impact of open borders--hardly a lie, hardly a figment of our imagination--a real impact on real human beings every single day. They are going to share that here today, and I thank them for coming here. I yield back. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman. We now recognize the gentleman from Arizona to introduce the sheriff with us today. Mr. Biggs is recognized. Mr. Biggs. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am pleased to introduce to the Committee one of the finest lawmen in America, certainly one of the finest lawmen in Arizona, Sheriff Mark Dannels from Cochise County, Arizona. Cochise County is a large county with a fairly sparse population, but sits right on the border. It is in southeast Arizona. It borders New Mexico and Mexico. Sheriff Dannels encounters the reality of what is happening on the border, unlike those who reside in New York who say there is no problem on the border and that the border is open is untrue. We will hear contrary testimony today. It is open. The border is dangerous. Drugs pour across. International terrorists, criminal gang members, people from all over the world--indeed, over 150 Nations--have come through. We can't even vet most of those individuals. Sheriff Dannels has served his county for a long time. He does a great job. He works well with the Border Patrol Agents and has devised a program to protect the communities that he serves in that wonderful southeastern Arizona county, which is a big county. So, we are going to hear more from him, and I am excited to have him here. He is not only a great advocate, a great sheriff, a great family man, but he is a good friend of mine, Sheriff Dannels. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I yield back. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman. The Chair now recognizes the gentlelady from Texas, Ms. Escobar, for an introduction. Ms. Escobar. Thank you, Mr. Chair. It is my privilege to introduce to the Judiciary Committee and to the American public a dear friend of mine and a great leader with whom I share much in common, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego. He is the El Paso County judge. We have a couple of things in common. I served as El Paso's County Judge for many years in my time preceding my service in Congress. For those unfamiliar with Texas elected politics, a county judge is, essentially, the Chief elected official, the County Administrator, in Texas. They are referred to as judge, even though in many ways they act as the mayor of the entire county. So, Judge Samaniego and I both have been county judge of one of the safest communities in the United States of America, and it is on the U.S.-Mexico border. It is a long-time recipient of migrant populations at our Nation's front door. We are incredibly proud of the role that we play in upholding American values in a way that provides for dignity. Judge Samaniego and I also share another thing in common. We were born and raised and are proud residents of the U.S.- Mexico border in El Paso, Texas. Judge Samaniego has done a number of things prior to serving in county government. He has been in small business. He has been in human resources. He has been, I think, in the juvenile justice world as well. Judge Samaniego is here to talk to us about how communities on the border like El Paso have actually been of tremendous service to the Federal Government. When given the resources and support, they can be a great ally in ensuring that we preserve the humanity in our system that all of us should want. One last thing that I will say. Judge Samaniego and I both were in public service, I as a Congresswoman and Judge Samaniego as the County Judge, on a horrific day, August 3, 2019, when a domestic terrorist drove over 10 hours to our community to slaughter Mexicans and immigrants. He used much of the hateful, racist, bigoted, and xenophobic language; this domestic terrorist did, as many politicians in Washington, DC, use, as many politicians in Texas use, and unfortunately, as the President of the United States at the time used. He was inspired by that hateful rhetoric, and he used it to fuel his hatred and massacre 23 people in a Walmart in our community. So, our words have power. I want to remind our Committee of that. Our words have consequences. Judge, thank you for being here. It is a privilege to have you here. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentlelady from Texas. Our fourth witness could not be with us today because of the ice storm in Texas. Judge Dale Lynn Carruthers is a County Judge and fourth generation rancher in Terrell County, Texas. She was a lifelong Democrat but switched parties because of the devastating effects of the Biden border crisis on her land and her community. Her testimony was circulated to Committee Members, but I will briefly summarize her testimony because what she was going to say I think is too important for the American people not to hear. Judge Carruthers would have testified their once safe community now lives in fear. Neighbors' homes have been burglarized; ranchers have been stalked on their own lands, and high-speed car crashes and chases are a daily hazard. One of Judge Carruthers' neighbors even had his home set on fire by illegal migrants, who did so to get law enforcement to come and pick them up. Her county's limited resources have been overwhelmed because of the flow of illegal aliens across the border. The local high school has had to be locked due to the criminal activity in their community. Illegal aliens routinely trespass through Ms. Carruthers' land, cutting her fences, and causing other damage to her property. Groups of illegal migrants regularly dress in camouflage to cross the judge's and her neighbors' land. These are not asylum seekers--not asylum seekers looking to turn themselves in to Border Patrol Agents, but foreign nationals trying to evade law enforcement. We wish she would have been able to be here today to share her story in person. We do welcome our witnesses who were able to travel and are here, and we thank you for appearing. We will begin by swearing you in. Would you please rise and raise your right hand? Do you swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury, that the testimony you're about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information, and belief, so help you God? Let the record show that the witnesses answered in the affirmative. Thank you. Please know that your written testimony will be entered into the record in its entirety. Accordingly, we ask that you summarize the testimony in five minutes. I know you were told this earlier. The microphones in front of you have a clock and a series of lights. When the light changes from green to yellow, you should begin to conclude your remarks. It is pretty basic. Green means go. Yellow means get ready to stop. Red means stop. Mr. Dunn, you may begin. We again thank you for being here and the work you and your wife are doing in your foundation. Like everyone on the Committee, we are sorry for the loss of your son. Mr. Dunn, you have got your five minutes. STATEMENT OF BRANDON DUNN Mr. Dunn. Thank you. Thank you, Committee, for having me here today. I'm a co-founder of the Forever15Project, a nonprofit that my wife Janel and I started after the passing of our son Noah. On August 21st, Noah died as a result of fentanyl poisoning--more specifically, illicit fentanyl poisoning. He was 15 years old. He was a sophomore at Johnson High School in Hays County. He was murdered by a drug dealer selling counterfeit Percocet pills. The pill he took contained eight milligrams of fentanyl, which is four times the lethal dose. There was no Percocet in the pill. There were no other drugs in the pill besides illicit fentanyl. Noah was the third victim in less than two months in Hays County from illicit fentanyl. Kevin McConville, another Hays student, passed away from a counterfeit Xanax that contained illicit fentanyl, and Ryan Garcia, also of Hays CISD, passed from a counterfeit Percocet pill. Since then, we have attended many seminars and summits, one by the DEA in Houston, Texas. So, now, we're very familiar with all the information regarding illicit fentanyl. Illicit fentanyl is primarily manufactured in Mexico by the drug cartels and smuggled through our southern border. It is true that most seizures happen at border checkpoints. I believe 60 percent of all fentanyl seized last year was in San Diego and Imperial Valley. However, due to the lethality of this drug, any amount smuggled in a backpack or a fanny pack, or even in somebody's pocket, can be enough to kill thousands of people. So, as you can see, it's not just a border checkpoint issue. Any amount over, I would--probably under one milligram could be lethal in some instances, but two milligrams is the most common number put out there. Without immediate medical intervention, a person is not likely to survive. That's how fast it kills. In our activism work, we've come across several families that have also lost their children to this illegal drug or this illicit drug. It's both sides of the political aisle. For us, this isn't a political issue. This is an issue about the safety of our children and the citizens of this country. We're working with several State legislatures who are primarily Democrats in our area on legislation to stop this from happening as well. So, it's a definite problem that's impacting our communities. I don't have time to read the names, but in the five-months since Noah's passing, we've met 28 other families who've lost primarily teenagers to this drug. The current statistic is it's the No. 1 killer from 18-45 years old. Honestly, we believe that next year that number will probably drop to 15-45 years old, and we've had some children as young as 13 years old die from this drug. Thank you. [The prepared statement of Mr. Dunn follows:] [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] Chair Jordan. Thank you, Mr. Dunn. We appreciate you and your wife being here today. Sheriff, you are recognized for five minutes. STATEMENT OF MARK DANNELS Mr. Dannels. Good morning, Hon. Chair Jordan, Ranking Member Nadler, and distinguished Members of this Committee. I appreciate the opportunity to address this Committee regarding the status of our southern border from the optics of a community and local law enforcement perspective. I have served our border communities for 38-plus years, and prior to that, as a member of the United States Army. I currently serve on national, western, and southwest border sheriff associations, and we have three objectives: Public safety, national security, and humanitarian. In my submitted brief, I have shared with you all the overview of Cochise County and the history of our border. I have personally experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a border county. Currently, this is the ugliest I've experienced. I am proud of our relationships with our local law enforcement partners--local, State, and Federal--that serve our communities. To best understand my presentation is to understand where we were over two years ago. My county was one of the safest border counties, based on our collective government efforts, messaging, and, yes, enforcement operations supported by the rule of law. What's the direct impact to my county? My citizens and law enforcement address mostly got-aways, the fight-and-flight syndrome, in my county versus those giving up--100 percent camouflaged migrants being illegally smuggled by the cartels with a price tag of, per undocumented alien, begins at $7,000 and up. These smugglers include juveniles being recruited via social media by the cartels. Border-related bookings, retention costs within my jail in calendar year 2022 was $4.3 million, absorbed by my local and State taxpayers. Border-related crimes are at an all-time high--death, murder investigations, aggravated acts against my citizens, failure to yield, search and rescue, plus recoveries, and, yes, assaults against law enforcement officials. My deputies have been placed in life-threatening scenarios, as the cartels show no regard for my citizens and those that wear a badge. Agents, troopers, deputies, and officers are addressing dangerous scenarios and criminals as a direct result of an open border being exploited by the criminal cartels for violence, fear, and greed. In calendar year 2022, 1,578 suspects were booked in my jail for border-related crimes. Only 78 were foreign-born. In 2021, over five million dosages of fentanyl were seized on the Arizona border. In 2022, over 20 million dosages were seized. In 2022, over 12,000 pounds of fentanyl were seized on the Southwest border. I want to share a personal tragedy with you of a good citizen named Wanda in my county. She was heading to her 65th birthday party to meet her family and her son, when a 16-year- old USC who fled from law enforcement, the deputies, was carrying three undocumented aliens; ran his vehicle through a red light at deadly speeds, cutting her vehicle in half and killing her. In closing, my fellow sheriffs and I have tried to partner with this administration, to include the President of the United States--with high hopes to share a collective message, a collective action plan, support the rule of law, prioritize our southern border, and provide updates, reference community impacts and concerns--with little to no success. By allowing our border security mission and immigration laws to be discretionary, these criminal cartels continue to be the true winners. Their exploitation of mankind is simply modern-day slavery, allowing thousands of pounds of illicit drugs into our country that continue to erode core values of families, schools, and subsequently, killing an average of 300 Americans every day. It's unacceptable at any level. Experiencing migrant deaths without a reasonable process, while Members of the U.S. Congress and this administration intentional avoid reality, is gross negligence. Our voice of reason has been buried during what I call intellectual avoidance by this administration, and, yes, Members of the U.S. Congress. Communities have been neglected and abandoned, to rely on our local and State resources to address a border that is in a crisis mode. Our southern border, against all public comfort statements out of Washington, DC, is the worst shape I've ever seen it. When I look at public safety, national security, and humanitarian on our southern border, this is the largest crime scene in this country. The morale of agents is extremely low, and the collective frustration is very high among law enforcement at all levels, and most important, the citizens of my county. With the efforts, recent efforts to cancel Title 42, this only serves to complex a border that needs immediate immigration reform by the U.S. Congress, but, most important, needs to be secured. I'm a true believer that Customs and Border Patrol are the experts on border security, while sheriffs and police chiefs are the experts of community. Together, this is a recipe of success for all communities. I will leave you with this final statement: We all serve the priorities of Americans based on our shared oath of office to keep them safe, enhance their quality of life, and support the rule of law, absent political affiliation or the concern of reelection. I ask each one of you to reflect on this statement as you make your next decision to vote. Once again, I thank this Committee for the invitation and opportunity, and now stand ready to answer any questions here in a few minutes. Thank you, everybody. [The prepared statement of Mr. Dannels follows:] [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] Chair Jordan. Thank you, Sheriff. I now recognize Judge Samaniego. I think I got that right. Judge, thank you for being here. You have got five minutes. Just hit your microphone. STATEMENT OF THE HON. JUDGE RICARDO SAMANIEGO Judge Samaniego. Members of the Judiciary Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify. My name is Ricardo Samaniego. I'm an elected County Judge of El Paso, Texas. Chair Jordan. Judge, can you pull that a little closer? Judge Samaniego. Pardon me? Chair Jordan. Pull that a little closer. There you go. Thank you. Judge Samaniego. El Paso, Texas, one of the safest, largest communities in America and the veterans' capital of the USA, where I serve a population of almost 900,000 residents in a metroplex consisting of El Paso, Texas to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and Las Cruces, New Mexico. These three cities form a combined International Metropolitan Area of 2.7 million individuals and constitutes the largest bilingual and binational workforce in the Western Hemisphere. I would like to start by emphasizing that over four years ago Customs and Border Patrol requested the assistance of myself and other local officials. I believe we truly stepped up to the request and facilitated their internal processes. El Paso, Texas has been the epicenter of the migrant surge, both recently and nearly four years ago, when border communities such as mine were faced with unprecedented numbers of migrants who were seeking to enter our country through El Paso. We have learned how to safely, humanely, and expeditiously treat asylum seekers who pass through our community on their way to unite with sponsors. I'm here today to share the El Paso story, a success story which strikes a delicate balance between security and compassion. However, before I tell you the story, I must disabuse you of information which I personally know to be false. There is no open border in El Paso. Immigrants seeking asylum largely present themselves to Border Patrol for processing. El Paso is required to abide by the same immigration laws that other border communities must follow. There's no invasion of migrants in our community, nor are there hordes of undocumented immigrants committing crimes against citizens or causing havoc in our community. Claiming this continues a false racist narrative against these individuals who perpetuate violence that the El Paso community is all too familiar with. When our citizens were the target of a racially motivated mass shooting August 3, 2019, they killed 23 El Pasoans and Mexican citizens and wounded 26 other innocent bystanders. Our community was deeply devastated by this tragedy. Third, humanitarianism and security are not a binary choice. It is the Federal Government's responsibility to do both. Provided with the sufficient financial support, we can assist the Federal Government in fulfilling its mandate. Our initiatives, efforts, and processes are directed to avoid any type of chaos. When El Paso County was faced with the increasing number of asylum seekers, we established a Migrant Support Service Center to assist migrants to connect with their relatives and sponsors and guide them with a same-day, self-paid travel arrangement process. Approximately 35-45 percent of these migrants fall in this category. The benefit of this process is that migrants are moved quickly and safely out of our community at their own expense. The center opened on October 10, 2022, and has the capacity to assist up to 1,000 per day. To date, the center has assisted 26,829 asylum seekers. No immigrant is placed on a bus and shipped to another city without coordination and a sponsor waiting at the receiving city. El Paso's partnership with Catholic Charities of Houston is a great example of interjurisdictional cooperation. With Federal funds, Catholic Charities has chartered a bus daily traveling from El Paso to Houston with 52 passengers manifested with confirmed self-paid travel for flights out of Houston the following day. This model initiated discussions with collaboration with other interstate and intrastate partners such as Dallas, Austin, and Denver. When the city of El Paso declared a disaster, we did not get the resources we needed, but, instead, saw the State of Texas National Guard, the placement of barbed wire lined haphazardly in certain areas, and pseudo-barriers of tanks and cargo containers were put up. Right to the city's declaration, I had sent correspondence and communicated with various State officials that what my community needed was assistance with transportation, staffing, food, and sheltering. The State never addressed these that we requested. To be sure, we cannot locally resolve the immigration issues facing our country. So, finally, I want to take the opportunity to thank our Congresswoman, Veronica Escobar, for her leadership and for consistently ensuring that the Federal Government is aware of the realities on the ground. So, I thank you for being here. I welcome you to our beautiful community. I would love to host and I'll be happy to answer any questions at this time. [The prepared statement of the Hon. Judge Samaniego follows:] [GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] Chair Jordan. Thank you. We are now proceeding under the five-minute rule with questions. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Issa. Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Dunn, yes, I know the list of names of people who in many cases thought they were taking one drug and died of fentanyl is long. One of the names that you probably have on your list is Matt Capelouto in Riverside County and his daughter, who thought she was taking a Xanax and died. She actually only took half of it as part of her study routine and died of fentanyl overdose. That has led to a murder charge in Riverside County, and our District Attorney is prosecuting that. How it will end, we'll see, but it certainly is an example of the kind of response that I hope both the Federal Government and the State and local will start looking, that these people who traffic in that leading to these tragic deaths are more than just drug dealers; they're murderers. I want to thank you for being here today. Sheriff, I am going to primarily talk to you because the judge, I think rightfully so, gave us a good example of facilitating undocumented workers who have been released into this country getting around the country, and all the humanitarians work they do. First, are those the people you run into? Mr. Dannels. Congressman, it's not. We don't get the give- ups--I can't remember speaking with our Border Patrol, CBP Agents--we don't get give-ups in Cochise County. What we get is the got-aways, the ones that are camouflaged 100 percent from bootie to headgear, that fight and flight, do whatever it takes to get away from us. Mr. Issa. So, out of five million people that have come here, we could be talking, the judge could be talking about a million who just want opportunity, maybe jobs, but that is not who you are dealing with? You are dealing with the other at least a million who are often repeat criminals and are evading to perpetrate crimes? Mr. Dannels. That is correct. Mr. Issa. I want to go through a couple of quick quotes because you're at the border. I, too, am at the border. I have a little over 50 miles of the Mexican border in California. So, these quotes are particularly important to me. The Secretary of Homeland Security said, ``The border is closed. The border is secure,'' in March 2021. Was that true then? Mr. Dannels. No. Mr. Issa. Is it true now? Mr. Dannels. No. Mr. Issa. He, additionally, said, ``We are working day-in and day-out to enhance its security.'' He said that November 16, 2022. Had you seen that kind of improvement? Mr. Dannels. No, I have not. Mr. Issa. You haven't, as of today? Just a few days ago, he said, ``The border is not open.'' Would you agree with that? Mr. Dannels. No. If I could support that statement, also, the majority of people--just to give an example, we have an interdiction team that goes out almost daily. Yesterday, they were out for their shift; had 15 smuggling events. We had a media crew riding with them yesterday. The majority of people we talk to, the migrants that have been smuggled, which I call modern-day slavery, what they're doing to these people, they tell us the reason they're here is because of President Biden and the welcoming sign. Mr. Issa. Now, the Vice President said, just a few months ago, ``The border is secure. We have secured the border.'' Would that also be inaccurate? Mr. Dannels. Yes, it would. Mr. Issa. Now, a lot of people talk about the Trump era versus now. Is it fair to say that it got better, but it was still a difficult time for you, even then, with some of what you were dealing with at the border? Mr. Dannels. Yes. After 38, almost 48, years of working this border, I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. It was better under President Trump. This is, like I said, this is the worst I've seen, mainly because of the aggression by the cartels and the aggravated acts toward law enforcement and the community. Mr. Issa. want you to take the remaining time and just tell us, that difference between the Trump era and now with the border wide open, what does it do for your ability to provide law enforcement for other purposes to your county? Mr. Dannels. Well, with the amount of arrests we had in 2022, our border population, or it's been border crimes that's been arrested and booked in my jail equates to about 40-44 percent of all the population in my jail. If you equate that back into the patrol side of it for the troopers, the local law enforcement, and sheriff's office, we're spending a lot of time keeping our community safe, diverted from the normal stuff that we do, the proactive stuff, into addressing border crimes. Mr. Issa. Thank you. Mr. Chair, I yield back. Chair Jordan. The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from New York, the Ranking Member, Mr. Nadler, is recognized. Mr. Nadler. I thank the Chair for yielding. Mr. Dunn, again, I want to express my sincerest condolences to you and your family, and I want to thank you for being here today. Judge Samaniego, I want to turn to you. Thank you so much for coming today. Having a witness who has grown up and lived on the border is so imperative. Your knowledge and lived experience are invaluable for policymakers here in Washington. Unfortunately, the Republican majority seems interested only in showboating. They continuously talk about a so-called Biden border crisis, even though this administration has kept in place numerous policies from the Trump Administration that many of my colleagues and I have expressed concerns about. Judge Samaniego, in your testimony you note safety and compassion are not mutually exclusive. I think this is a very important point. As Republican Representative Tony Gonzalez stated over the weekend, Border security and immigration are two separate topics. One can be for a strong border security presence that prevents terrorists, fentanyl, and bad actors from entering our country, and one can be for welcoming future Americans in through the front door. Judge Samaniego, can you discuss how El Paso has balanced these two competing dynamics, ensuring the safety of its citizens while also being compassionate toward migrants? Judge Samaniego. Thank you. One of the things that we've recognized is our collaboration. We're not reacting at this point. We've been working four years. Almost every Friday we meet with law enforcement; we meet with Border Patrol, the diocese, the NGO's. We know that, by doing what we do right, the whole Nation benefits from that. If we do not process the migrants properly, then it falls on other cities. I think El Paso is extremely, focused on the fact that we're not a community, but a part of a Nation. If we do not do the right things, then New York gets hit, and other communities get hit, simply by the fact that there's an unorganized process. Our strategy is really very organized, very compassionate, and making sure that we get individuals in the right place at the right time. So, when we have someone like from New York that comes to El Paso, the mayor, to tell us to help them through this process, obviously, that's why we're there. Our impact is not just on our community. Our impact, I believe it's on the values of our Constitution, of the values, in my case, as a Democrat. We make sure that we're helping the rest of the country. If we don't do things right, then I can guarantee you that the impact is going to fall on the other cities around the country. Mr. Nadler. Thank you. We keep hearing from our Republican colleagues that the border is open, and that Biden caused this crisis. Could you comment on this? Judge Samaniego. Well, we don't see that. We process every individual that comes through. We make sure we coordinate. We get a lot of information. I must emphasize, it was the Border Patrol and the Federal Government that asked us to step up as a community. When we don't do the right things, it backs up their system. They start getting more and more people. The detention centers are extremely limited compared to what a community can do. So, either you put the pressure on the Federal Government or you put the pressure on a community that has almost 14 sites where we get, we could get people sheltered. We can process people. Like I said, 35-40 percent are individuals that already have a sponsor; they have money, and they can move into, to the communities, into other communities. We get a lot of calls of a lot of States and cities throughout the country that want migrants. If we do the right thing and we process them, then we can get the migrants to them, as well as to help our community. We talk about three things. It's safety, which is extremely important for our community, humanitarianism, and the economy. If we do not do things right, then I can guarantee it impacts the entire economy. We've seen it when things be getting strained, and the movement of product doesn't come into the country. We get hit extremely hard. We get a lot of calls about moving, not moving the traffic properly. We're one of the largest movers of products in the whole country. So, we do things right, and I feel that everybody gainsfrom our efforts. Mr. Nadler. Thank you. One of the topics you touched on in your testimony is the need for all levels of government and nonprofits to work together to effectively process the migrants who are crossing the border. Do you have a good relationship with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection? Can you discuss how often you coordinate with them? Judge Samaniego. Every--once a month, we have--one of the missing elements is that we don't get support from the State. If we had the three--you need the local government. You need the Federal Government. The missing component, and because of political reasons, we don't get that third part of the stool. That is extremely, extremely important to us. We need their support. We don't need militia. We don't need policing. Our strategy has been extremely effective without using law enforcement. We suffer tremendously by not having the proper support from the State government. Mr. Nadler. Thank you. My time has expired. I yield back. Chair Jordan. The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from Colorado is recognized. Mr. Buck. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Since President Biden took office, we have seen a tremendous surge in the Terrorist Watch List arrests at the southern border. There were two Terrorist Watch List arrests in Fiscal Year 2017, six in 2018, zero in 2019, three in 2020. In 2021, President Biden's first year in office, Terrorist Watch List arrests surged to 15. In 2022, there were 98 terrorists arrested at the southern border. In this Fiscal Year so far, there have been 38 arrests. According to Border Patrol, there have been approximately 1.2 million known got-aways since President Biden took office. In November alone, 73,000 border crossers evaded/overwhelmed Border Patrol Agents, but were detected by other forms of surveillance. These crossers are known as got-aways. Often, these border crossers are evading being caught by Border Patrol because they have a criminal record or contraband to hide, unlike most migrants who cross with the explicit intention to meet Border Patrol. Today, I want to ask about other sinister news in the immigration space. I have a copy here of an email circulated last Thursday, January 26th, at Mount Pleasant High School in Rhode Island. Its Assistant Principal Stefani Harvey, someone with a doctorate in education, is fundraising among its faculty and staff to pay a debt to a cartel that trafficked a student. The email, calling it an urgent matter, reads, We have a student who came to America with ``Coyote,'' which is a group that helps people. This group gives you a timeframe to make a payment of $5,000 to those who bring them into the States. Our student needs our urgent support to raise another $2,000 to meet his goal of $5,000 by February 1st, 2023. Sheriff, is this helpful? Mr. Dannels. Is it--I'm sorry, sir? Mr. Buck. Is this helpful to have a faculty raising money to pay a Mexican cartel to bring someone into the country? Mr. Dannels. Congressman, no. Mr. Buck. OK. The Ranking Member said that many of President Trump's policies have been continued. Is the fence continuing to be built on the southern border? Mr. Dannels. No. Mr. Buck. Is the remain in Mexico policy being continued? Mr. Dannels. No. Mr. Buck. Is the agreement with the Northern Triangle countries to immediately deport illegal immigrants who come into this country, has that policy been continued? Mr. Dannels. No. Mr. Buck. Sheriff, let me ask you something. We now have in this country two million individuals who have gone through the entire process and have been adjudicated for removal. In other words, they came to this country. They applied for asylum. They weren't entitled to asylum. They came here for economic reasons. So, they went through. They had due process. They have been adjudicated. They have been ordered removed, and the President of the United States has instructed ICE not to seek those individuals and remove them from the country--two million. What is the impact of an order like that in terms of welcoming people who are coming to this country for all the wrong reasons? Mr. Dannels. Well, Congressman, that's one of the things that has changed with the two administrations that I've seen, is the former President had a very strong message that-- Mr. Buck. When you say, ``former President,'' President Trump? Mr. Dannels. Yes, sir. That if you come to the country, you break our laws, there's consequences. Under the current one, that's not being--the rule of law is not being fulfilled. Mr. Buck. OK. I guess just to further that a little bit, the impact on individuals that are considering coming to this country, when they know, if they come to this country there is going to be a consequence, a negative consequence for them, or--and I am not even talking about a welcome mat. We welcome immigrants to this country. We welcome people who want to go through the process the right way, who want legal immigration. When they know that they are coming to this country and there is no consequence to come to this country illegally, and even when they lose in court and they are ordered removed, the United States won't remove them under this administration, and there is this hope for an amnesty program to go through Congress or, informally, as President Obama did--and this President will probably do the same thing--issue an Executive Order with the stroke of a pen to give people amnesty, what is the impact on people being attracted to this country for all the wrong reasons? Mr. Dannels. Well, Congressman, there's a couple. (1) Is they keep coming, and we're seeing that on the border. (2) It's a fracture of our rule of law--the oath that I take, you all take, and share it. (3) Last, but not least, is it's an insult to all law enforcement--State, local, and Federal--trying to do our best to secure this border. Mr. Buck. Thank you. I yield back. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman for yielding. Mr. Buck. Mr. Chair, I have two articles that I would like to offer for the record. One from Fox News, published January 28th, and another one published December 1st. Chair Jordan. Without objection, they will be entered into the record. The Chair now recognizes the gentlelady from California. Ms. Lofgren. Thank you, Mr. Chair. First, let me just thank you, Mr. Dunn, for your compelling testimony and offer my deepest sympathy and prayers for your family and your lost son. All of us feel that way on this dais. It is important to note that I think every Member of this Committee wants to have order at the border. We want laws that can be enforced. We also need to take a good look at really what is happening. If you take a look at who is coming into the United States without benefit of a visa, it is a mix. Some individuals are coming from communist countries, like Venezuela, Nicaragua, or Cuba, and they are coming to seek asylum because they have been persecuted. That is permitted under immigration law, and yet, the numbers have made it difficult to process that in an orderly way. Some are coming, just like my grandparents, for economic reasons. They want to have a better life for them and their family. There is really in most cases no way for that to happen in a lawful manner. Some are bad guys, and especially they are coming through more rural areas. I think that is why the sheriff is seeing what he is seeing. I think it is important, as we think about what to do, and what strategies will be effective, we need to think about those different categories of individuals. We spend more money today on the Border Patrol than ever before in the history of the country. We spend more money on immigration enforcement than all other Federal law enforcement combined. So, it is not as if we are unwilling to pay for enforcement. I note that the wall that some feel will be the answer, on average, was breached last year once every 11 minutes. It was breached over 4,000 times. So, I don't know that this is really the answer that people think it is. Now, just taking a look at the Cubans, and the Nicaraguans, and the Venezuelans, for example, the administration created a parole program just recently for a safe and organized process for migrants seeking protection as asylum seekers. When they did, the number of people coming irregularly dropped. My understanding is that, between the ports of entry, individuals seeking asylum from those countries dropped 97 percent. If you put yourself in the place of that individual, if there is a way to get safe haven, you are going to take that rather than risk your life walking through the jungle. What we don't have is reform of the immigration laws that would give some opportunity for people seeking economic advancement to have a hope that this could happen. I think that is really on us, on the Congress. In this last Congress and the Congress before that, we had a Farm Workforce Modernization Act. It got broad support, a big, bipartisan vote in the Congress. It died in the Senate. We know that more than half the farm workers in the United States are undocumented. Yet, we need farm workers in the country. If there is a way to have an orderly system, I think that would help us a lot as a country. So, we all want order at the border. A humanitarian crisis is not best solved at the border. We need to take a look, and I have urged that, not just the United States, but other Western Hemisphere countries work together to try and bring stability to the three countries in Central America that are really the origin of many of those fleeing. We have not succeeded at that. So, let me just close with this, Judge. You have seen the people coming into your city. Why are they coming to the United States, the people that you have met in your city? Judge Samaniego. Well, they're extremely passionate. I wish most of our citizens had the passion and the desire to be in our country like they do. I have heard a lot of different stories. One of them is the fact that they stand up for their rights in their country, and then, they're persecuted because of that. They're asked not to do those kinds of things. Ms. Lofgren. Right. Judge Samaniego. Like, you know, they get targeted. I get a lot of them telling me that they're still--their parents will call and say, you know, ``They go to my house every single day and find out where I'm at.'' So, they're very passionate about coming here, extremely passionate about working. They all say the same thing, that they're very willing and able to work here in the United States. Ms. Lofgren. Thank you. Mr. Chair, I see my time has expired. Chair Jordan. The gentlelady yields back. The gentleman from Louisiana is recognized, Mr. Johnson.I21Mr. Johnson of Louisiana. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Dunn, we mourn the loss of your son Noah and the hundreds of thousands of other victims and families who have been irreparably damaged by this catastrophe. I would note that, of course, China and the Mexican drug cartels are taking full advance of this wide-open Southwest border. We all know that. That is what the testimony reflects. We have recorded amounts, record amounts, of deadly fentanyl that are coming into American neighborhoods all over the country. Last year alone, over 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose. The fentanyl poisoning is a key component of that, and we know it. My questions are going to be for the sheriff, but I just want to recount a couple of facts here, so that everybody back home can take account. Since President Biden took office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have encountered over 4.5 million illegal aliens across the Southwest border. It has been said a few times; we are going to say it repeatedly today: The number is disastrous. If we do not have a border, we do not have a Nation. We cannot maintain our sovereignty and security if we don't have a border. Nearly 1.7 million of those illegal aliens encountered across the Southwest border have been released into America's communities. They are coming into my community, my State, and all of ours. It is all over the country now. During Fiscal Year 2022, CBP encountered 2,378,000-plus illegal aliens--the most in any single year. That broke the record from 2021, which is the second-largest number. Just during December 2022, CBP encountered 251,487 illegal aliens crossing the border. It is the highest number ever encountered in a single month. The point is: This gets worse and worse and worse. Why is that? Well, because the Biden Administration has been reversing the vast majority of the Trump Administration's successful border enforcement policies. They are systematically, they are intentionally, Secretary Mayorkas and his administration, they are dismantling immigration enforcement. They are encouraging illegal immigration--encouraging it, inviting people to come here. That has been happening for the last two years. That is beyond refute. That is what the evidence shows. That is what everybody can see who cares to pay attention to this. They have terminated the construction of the border wall. The Biden Administration issued orders restricting the immigration officers' ability to arrest, detain, and remove aliens who violate U.S. law. I can go on and on and on. Sheriff Dannels, you have been in law enforcement for nearly four decades. You testified; you gave some very compelling testimony this morning about all the problems that you have encountered. The question is, have you tried to share those concerns with the Biden Administration? If so, how did the administration respond? Mr. Dannels. That's--yes. Thank you, Congressman. We actually have, on behalf of the National Sheriffs' Association. I chair border security for National Sheriffs. Our National Sheriffs, senior leadership has attempted through letters to reach out to President Biden. He has been invited to our events with Major County Sheriffs, Western Sheriffs, Southwest Border, and National. We have never got a response back from this President. In fact, I was told just a couple of months ago he's the first President not to meet with sheriffs in this country. He still has not to date that I--to my knowledge. Second to that is we did meet with Secretary Mayorkas. We reached out. I assembled about a dozen sheriffs. We met in El Paso. We sat down with the Secretary. We gave him a 16-point action plan to share, to look at, with our common-sense humanitarian and public safety, national security objectives built within that. Never heard back. I asked the Secretary where that plan was, what they were going to do with it. He asked me, ``What plan?'' So, long story short is we've never got a response back from the Secretary. Mr. Johnson of Louisiana. It is an absolute dereliction of duty. It is inexcusable. Because of Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden Administration's abandonment of any semblance of security on the border, what policies or procedures have you had to implement to cover for that? Mr. Dannels. Well, again, it goes back to where the honorable judge is talking about the absence of the State, we have the absence of the Federal Government. One thing I'll say I think is important to your question is, I work with many Border Patrol Agents, Federal agents. To date, I have not heard one say that it's working. The morale, the frustration they feel, the frustration we feel, and let's not forget we all serve communities in this country. We have had to step up our game. Again, when you look at 40-45 percent of all your crime is coming through the border, in my rural county I don't have the pleasure of the resources like El Paso, which is urban in nature; that we've had to step up, and thanks to Governor Ducey and our State, and our State legislative folks, the $4.3 million, they're helping me pay those bills. In a rural county, that's a huge impact. When it comes to our interdiction teams, our camera system, you name it, the State is helping us. Mr. Johnson of Louisiana. I am out of time. I yield back. I thank you for your service and all those brave men and women who are serving in that impossible situation. Mr. Dannels. Thank you, Congressman. Mr. Johnson of Louisiana. I yield back. Mr. McClintock. [Presiding.] The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson of Georgia. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Dunn, my condolences to you on the loss of your dear son. Sheriff Dannels, thank you for your service, sir. Mr. Dannels. Thank you. Mr. Johnson of Georgia. For years we have listened to MAGA Republicans decry a so-called invasion at our southern border. Now that they have a House majority, MAGA Republicans are in charge. MAGA Republicans are responsible for coming up with solutions. Unfortunately, this hearing is nothing more than a distraction from the fact that my MAGA friends cannot agree on the problem or the solution. The House Republican border security plan is so extreme that it is opposed by dozens of their own Members. Their plan has been called extreme, anti-American, and not Christian. That is how Republicans describe it. What we do know is that the MAGA Republican plan will shut down asylum to everyone, including those fleeing Communist totalitarian regimes and young children who are crossing the border alone to flee gang violence. This draconian and cruel policy will only diminish America's standing in the world. Meanwhile, President Biden has shown that we can lower the number of unauthorized border crossings while still treating migrants with dignity and humanity. Immigration is much more than a scary B-roll on Fox News or inflammatory Twitter posts. It is about our fellow human beings. Migrants who arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs work hard to build new lives here. Indeed, immigrants are important for our communities and our economy because of the skills they bring to the contributions that they make to our society. New Americans in my district are small business owners who pay their taxes, enrich our neighborhoods, and help newer members of the community. For example, they have set up numerous businesses and vibrant and economically successful locations where they can even employ other immigrants and Americans. At Refugee Coffee in Clarkston, Georgia, they even have a food pantry where they leave groceries for anyone that might be in need. Immigrants are vital to my district. We appreciate them. Now, while Republicans resort to political stunts at the border and theatrical hearings like this one, Democrats stand ready to fix a broken immigration system. We have a responsibility to act. We stand ready to work with serious Republicans to pass meaningful solutions. Judge Samaniego, thank you for being here. I am fortunate to be traveling with my colleague, Veronica Escobar, to El Paso tomorrow. What can you tell me that we should be looking for on our visit tomorrow? Mr. Samaniego. I believe the unity of what happens when a community decides to work together. We are called the Pass of the North. That was our first name. So, we have been doing this for centuries. People pass through our community. We know how to do this in a humanitarian way. We are very, very organized. We have a strategy that I think that people should look at that especially this idea of getting communities to send buses to us so that we can have sponsors and migrants that go to their community. So, our strategy works. It only doesn't work when we are not funded properly. At any point, we are able to handle large numbers, but then we don't get the proper funding. When we talk about, like Secretary Mayorkas, so when he came down, he immediately was able to help us with FEMA funding, allowed us to move the processes. When you push them back into what is, all you are doing is creating more anxiety. You are creating more desperation. You are creating more issues, not only for us but for a community that works. On an economic level, there is no border that works in such an economic level. To push them back I think is extremely reckless of our neighbors. Mr. Johnson of Georgia. Well, let me stop you there and ask you this last question. Mr. Samaniego. Yes. Mr. Johnson of Georgia. According to CBP, from January 2021-January 2023, only eight undocumented immigrants were arrested for fentanyl smuggling at the southern border-- Mr. Samaniego. That is correct. Mr. Johnson of Georgia. --compared to 119 U.S. citizens. Is it your experience that an increase in migrants is tied to an increase in fentanyl? Mr. Samaniego. We haven't seen that, because first, they come with very little things. I mean, they get a backpack. They get things. They are carrying things that are very easy. They are vetted very properly. Not only are they vetted with Border Patrol, but we also vet them as well. We vet them at the shelters. So, we are constantly looking for that. We are taking care of the Nation. We are not going to allow someone to bring drugs in unwittingly. We are going to do everything possible to be part of that process. Mr. McClintock. The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Biggs. Mr. Biggs. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Dunn, you and your wife, thank you for being here today. We appreciate your testimony and your willingness to share your experience. I express my sympathy and condolences to you and appreciate the work that you are doing now. I want to just clear two things up briefly, though. The figures just cited by my colleague from Georgia are ports of entry only and do not reflect between ports of entry arrests for fentanyl transportation. So, please, don't ever let the facts get in the way of a good narrative from the other side. Not only that, when the gentlelady from California said she supports an orderly system for legal migration, we have an orderly system for legal migration. That is why a million people are brought in legally every year. The numbers that you hear are between the ports of entry, because that is where CBP operates. So, when CBP talks about the number of encounters being 4.5 million, that is between the ports of entry. Sheriff Dannels, how big is your county? Mr. Dannels. It is just under 6,300 square miles, with 83 miles of international border. Mr. Biggs. What is the population? Mr. Dannels. About 125,000. Mr. Biggs. How many NGO's do you have that deal with the flow of international or illegal migrants coming across? Mr. Dannels. Maybe one or two, three. Most of them come from outside and not within the county. Mr. Biggs. I know Yuma County has one. Mr. Dannels. Yes. Mr. Biggs. So that is interesting. So, when we look at this, are your deputies ever dispatched to deal with criminality or situations involving illegal aliens? Mr. Dannels. On a daily basis, yes. Mr. Biggs. How often? How many times per day? Mr. Dannels. Throughout the day. Usually when I check on them, they are in some kind of issue with border security or immigration. When I go home, I hear it also. It is throughout the whole day. Mr. Biggs. What sorts of dangers does your department and your deputies specifically encounter because of these interactions? Mr. Dannels. Well, the biggest thing we are addressing right now is the, out of the 1,570 people that came to my county, 1,500 were U.S. citizens coming down to commit international crime, based on greed. They are getting paid $3,000 per person to drive them three hours north up to Phoenix, Arizona and your neck of the woods, Congressman. It is a game of greed. When they get in those, when they pick them up along the highways and they take off at 100-and-some miles an hour that is resulting in death, it has put my citizens in risk. We see it almost every day in my county. That has been deadly for us. Mr. Biggs. So, if I understand what you are saying, cartels are recruiting American citizens from as far away as the Valley of the Sun, the Phoenix area, to come on down and transport people who have illegally entered the country up to Phoenix for further distribution throughout the country. Mr. Dannels. Congressman, that is correct, but to take it one step further, from throughout the United States. We get them from the Midwest. We get them from all over. We have a map where we get them from in our office. Mr. Biggs. What is the, and you said, what was the going rate that they get paid per person? Mr. Dannels. We started an operation back in March called Safe Streets, a collective effort of State, local, and Federal law enforcement trying to do some interdiction to protect our citizens. It was like 1,000-1,500. Right now, it sits at $3,000 per person. Mr. Biggs. Have you ever had juveniles come down to drive as well? Mr. Dannels. Yes. I believe last year we apprehended and charged I think it was around 100 juveniles that were remanded as adults for driving, and all the way up to underage where they don't even have a license. We had, a couple weeks ago, we had a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old driving a car picking up I think five undocumented. Mr. Biggs. This is human smuggling. Mr. Dannels. This is human smuggling, yes. Mr. Biggs. You have given some pictures that are up here on display. What do those pictures depict? Mr. Dannels. The picture on the right side of the white truck and the red car, the red car had a 16-year-old, 17-year- old, and I believe a 14-year-old. They were down from the Pinal County area, which is up by Casa Grande, down here to pick up migrants working with the criminal cartels and a scout. The car saw one of my deputy sheriffs, took off at a high rate of speed, hit the white car, and then crashed. All three were in critical condition and then were ejected from that vehicle. Mr. Biggs. This other one? Mr. Dannels. The other one was a vehicle out of Phoenix. It was a stolen vehicle that was in one of our business areas in a business parking lot. The Border Patrol saw them. They took off at a high rate of speed, got into a pursuit. They rammed the Border Patrol agent, the unmarked car. They were apprehended with the illegals. Mr. Biggs. There is so much more to talk about. I am sorry I am out of time. Thank you for being here, Sheriff Dannels. Mr. McClintock. The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from California, Mr. Schiff. Mr. Schiff. Thank you, Mr. Chair and thank you to Ranking Member Nadler for welcoming me back to the Committee. Mr. Dunn, thank you for your testimony today. I want to join my colleagues in expressing my condolence over your terrible loss. Since I last held a seat on this Committee over 10 years ago, our country has undergone some of its most turbulent years, from attacks on our democracy to increasing gun violence, including four mass shootings in my home State of California in just the last week, to continuing acts of racial injustice. Many of the issues that Americans are most concerned about fall within this Committee's jurisdiction. Instead of tackling those concerns or joining Democrats in a comprehensive immigration reform, many Republicans in Congress seem intent on demonizing migrant families and asylum seekers, portraying them as fentanyl traffickers and violent criminals. In the real world, asylum seekers are vulnerable individuals and families fleeing political persecution and torture. These terrible stereotypes that my Republican colleagues are peddling have real-world consequences and bring real-world harm as they increase the level of hate and violence directed at immigrants here at home. More than that, let me just take this opportunity to recognize the many immigrants who risked their lives during the pandemic to take care of us when we were sick in the hospital with COVID, who brought food to our grocery stores, and delivered goods to our doors, who worked in our fields, so we would not go hungry, and who died disproportionately because they could not work from home. I want to say thank you for your courage. Our country is better off for having you here. I want to start my questions by debunking a couple pernicious stereotypes. First, when it comes to drug trafficking, CBP reports that over 83 percent of smuggled fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine is discovered during vehicle inspections at ports of entry where people enter the country legally, not smuggled by migrants but driven across the border by U.S. citizens engaged in criminal activity at ports of entry. Judge Samaniego, the fentanyl crisis is real. How is it really entering the country in your experience, and who is doing the smuggling? Mr. Samaniego. Well, as you said, Congressman, they are coming in through the port of entries. We do not get a lot of information of migrants doing that. As I said earlier, the fact that they are not carrying much with them and the fact that they have been vetted as they come in when we process them, and that is why I keep insisting that an organized way of processing and our ability to be able to process properly is really helping tremendously. When we do not do that and it pushes the migrants to have to go further out, that is when you start having these illegal entries, because there is not a way for them to come in properly and meet the Border Patrol there at the border. So, we know that going further creates risk for them. They get preyed on. So many things happen by not following the process. When we are allowed to do it and we are supported and funded properly, I think we do a lot for our country. Mr. Schiff. Thank you, Judge. Second, relative to undocumented immigrants, and using Texas as an example, U.S. born citizens in Texas are more than twice as likely to be arrested for violent crimes and two and a half times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes. Judge Samaniego, can you speak to the experiences and interactions you have had with migrant families and asylum seekers at the border? What is the real-life impact that such anti-migrant rhetoric and misinformation have on these communities? Mr. Samaniego. Well, it is just, it is heartbreaking, obviously that, why they are coming in. They want to work. I will give you an example. We have had individuals that were held back because they got caught up in not being able to go back because of Title 42. They were asking for, give us brooms, give us bags. We want to, help us. We do not want to be perceived as lingering or burdening your community or any part of the country. They talk a lot about the fact that they are wanting to work. They are passionate about working. They are ready to do something for our country. We do not get--I interact with them completely. I work with the unaccompanied children. I have a lot of exposure. I feel extremely confident that the majority of them have no interest in drugs or doing anything like that, other than to work and to participate and be part of the dream that they are looking for. A lot of them, like I said, they are coming out of desperation of how they are treated in their countries, how they are persecuted. They are looking for a better life. I do not I stand here saying with all honesty that I do not see or understand some of the things that are said here today about them wanting to be part of drug cartels or putting them in that situation. It is just completely opposed to what I have experienced there in El Paso. Mr. McClintock. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Schiff. Thank you, Judge. Mr. McClintock. The gentleman from Florida, Mr. Gaetz. Mr. Gaetz. I yield to Mr. Roy. Mr. Roy. I thank the gentleman from Florida. I thank the witnesses for being here. I just want to clarify the record here for a second. The idea that the fact that fentanyl is caught at Ports of Entry and that this is the only place that is coming through is belied by the facts. It is belied by the facts that the Border Patrol is now distracted in processing human beings, just as the judge from El Paso just described, but just ignores the impact on what that does to the actual border. The Border Patrol can't possibly catch all the fentanyl at the ports of entry nor catch the fentanyl between the ports of entry. Mr. Dannels, do you agree with that assessment? Mr. Dannels. I do. We have had a depletion in Border Patrol because they have been taken to other areas where processing is more important. Mr. Roy. Is it your experience that fentanyl pours in between the ports of entry and that fentanyl does, in fact, get into our communities in mass quantities today due to our open border? Mr. Dannels. Yes. Mr. Roy. I appreciate that. Now, Mr. Dunn, obviously in the introduction I talked about you being from the county in which I live, in Hays County. You testified, Mr. Dunn, earlier that it was not just Noah who passed away in Hays County last year due to fentanyl poisoning in our community. Is it not true that three other Hays Independent School District students died from fentanyl overdoses in our community, in Hays County, last summer? Is that accurate? Mr. Dunn. That is correct. A fourth 14-year-old died in January of this year. Mr. Roy. Just a couple of weeks ago-- Mr. Dunn. Yes. Mr. Roy. Another-- Mr. Dunn. During the Christmas break, six other students were poisoned by fentanyl, but they were successfully saved. Mr. Roy. Last summer there were another eight who were brought back through the use of Narcan. Is that correct? Mr. Dunn. Correct. Mr. Roy. Mr. Dunn, your lovely bride, Janel, is Hispanic, yes? Mr. Dunn. Yes. Mr. Roy. Do you believe that believing in a secure border makes one racist or anti-Hispanic? Mr. Dunn. Not in the slightest. Her family actually holds that same position. Mr. Roy. I thank you for that. You guys have been active now in a number of organizations trying to get out and understand the lost voices of fentanyl. Is that right? Mr. Dunn. Yes. Mr. Roy. Works with Ms. Virginia Krieger. Mr. Dunn. Yes. Mr. Roy. She has lost her daughter due to Percocet that was laced in fentanyl. Is that correct? Mr. Dunn. Yes. Mr. Roy. The people that have been the lost faces of fentanyl, and I have done this before, Noah is one of these lost voices due to fentanyl now. Mr. Dunn. He is now. I am not sure if he is included in that picture. Mr. Roy. These pictures are the faces of Americans who are no longer with us due to fentanyl flowing throughout our communities. Now, these are young individuals who are not here today. Now, Noah is not here today. Do you care precisely whether or not fentanyl is coming through ports of entry or between ports of entry, or was your family directly impacted because fentanyl is flooding into our communities one way or the other? Mr. Dunn. However, it gets here is it is here. Mr. Roy. In your experience talking to other family members and talking to law enforcement personnel, is it your observation and belief that the overwhelming flood at our borders distracting Border Patrol from being able to carry out their duty to stop the flow between the ports of entry or do inspections at the ports of entry is resulting in more fentanyl pouring into our communities that is then resulting in the death of Americans and, in fact, the death of migrants in the process? Mr. Dunn. Yes. Most of the fathers that I speak with that are not as vocal as the mothers, the common thing they have expressed to me is to come up here and let people know that it is a border issue. It is not an immigration issue. It is flooding across the borders because there is a problem at the borders. Mr. Roy. In your communication with families who have lost loved ones due to fentanyl poisonings, do you believe that it is an imperative, an imperative that this country's Federal Government, who has the constitutional obligation to secure the border of the United States, do so to ensure that we stop the flow of fentanyl and dangerous and illicit narcotics into the United States resulting in the death of Americans? Mr. Dunn. Yes. Mr. Roy. Do you believe that if this country adopted policies that enabled us to restrict and stop the flow of fentanyl, and that includes ensuring that we have no longer a flood of human beings at our border, while still maintaining asylum laws and protecting people who are being persecuted under actual threat of persecution for their religious and political beliefs, do you believe that stopping the flow of individuals enabling Border Patrol to stop fentanyl, that is a critical imperative and if that were adopted would help save lives like Noah's? Mr. Dunn. I do. Most others that I talk with feel the same way. Mr. Roy. Thank you, Mr. Dunn. Thank you, Janel. I yield back. Mr. McClintock. The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from Rhode Island, Mr. Cicilline. Mr. Cicilline. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you to our witnesses, and particularly thank you, Mr. Dunn, for being here. I, too, join my colleagues and expresses our condolences for your unspeakable loss. Mr. Chair, the House Republican border security plan is one of the most extreme stances this body has seen on immigration in recent history, and that is saying something. It is so extreme that dozens of Republican members oppose it. Some have even called it un-American. The Republican plan would effectively shut down asylum, including families fleeing Communism, totalitarian regimes, and unaccompanied children desperately seeking refuge. This is not only a moral failing to asylum seekers fleeing persecution. It also defies existing laws. We have obligations under international agreements and U.S. domestic law to accept and protect asylum seekers. We can't just ignore these obligations because some want to prey on anti-immigration and xenophobic sentiments to gin up political support. This is sadly an ongoing and blatant attempt by our Republican colleagues to use fear tactics to scare us into turning immigrants away and to demonizing people coming here in search of a better life. We cannot and should not do that. Democrats have put forth proposals that will actually help fix our broken immigration system and secure our borders in a safe and humane way. We have proposed legislation that addresses the root causes of migration, improves border security, and creates additional legal pathways for people to enter the United States. In fact, the 2023 Omnibus bill which we passed in December, even included funding to help Customs and Border Patrol stop dangerous cartels, the actual cause of drugs being smuggled into the country, not asylum seekers by the way. Our House Judiciary Republicans unanimously opposed the bill. So, yes, there is a crisis at the border. It is not the one that the Republican leadership is shouting about. So, Judge Samaniego, I want to ask you, in your capacity as El Paso County Judge, you meet with many migrants who enter the United States via the El Paso Port of Entry, and you work very hard to ensure that they are treated with dignity here in the United States. Can you describe what your sense is of why these migrants are entering the U.S., and are they, in fact, seeking asylum? Mr. Samaniego. I would like to comment about Border Patrol. That is, we have been talking about what they have to do, and you are pushing them to do other things. I can tell you that if we weren't doing our jobs, and I said earlier, we are pushing that back to them, very limited. Space is limited. Personnel is limited. We are pushing them back to them. Like I said, we deal a lot, El Paso deals a lot with migrants, and we interact tremendously. We get to see them at shelters. We get to see them at the point of entry. They are wanting to come here to work. They are wanting to do something for our country. I have to stress that, that we are very, very lucky. The things that they want to do and the things they want to maintain, and the values that they have for the United States, it is just remarkable that under all the circumstances that they go through they come to our country with a tremendous amount of passion to be part of our value system. Mr. Cicilline. Judge, what kinds of resources do border counties like yours need to ensure that local officials are able to adequately protect public health and safety while also ensuring that migrants are treated with dignity and processed quickly and efficiently and consistent with our values as the great democracy we are? What more can we do as a Federal Government to help you do the excellent work that you are doing in El Paso? Mr. Samaniego. The most important thing that we have seen is decompression that we need the Border Patrol to be able to decompress and allow us to process. So, sometimes, like I said, we are not funded properly. We cannot process properly. Then that is when you have people or buses going into communities that are not ready for them. Obviously, we need shelter. Most of the migrants will move out within 72 hours. I can tell you that not even 1 percent of the migrants ever stay in our community. They are moving to other directions. They have got sponsorships. So, we really need that support of being able to have shelter for them so that we can accommodate them. Like I said, 40 percent already have sponsors, and they can move quickly. The others it takes us about a day or maybe 72 hours to be able to process them or redirect them. I can tell you that most of them are going to be U.S. citizens. If you treat them wrongly, they will remember that. If you treat them properly and you treat them with respect and humanity and humanitarianism, these are going to be part of our residents, part of our citizens. This is the first face that they have with our country. I want to be able for them to keep that excitement, have that respect for America. You do that by treating them properly. So, we need shelter. We need food. We need to be able to use our strategy. Our strategy works. I wish that someone would take the time to look at what we do. For four years now we have been working on this strategy. Mr. McClintock. The gentleman's time has expired. I will now recognize myself for five minutes. I think this discussion has brought out something that Border Patrol officers told me when I toured the border in the Yuma sector recently. Don't send us more money they said. They will only use it to process illegals faster into this country. I think that the testimony has been bringing that out very clearly today. Since Joe Biden canceled the Remain in Mexico policy and ordered ICE not to enforce court-ordered deportations and abandoned the border wall and signaled to the world that America's borders no longer mattered, we have seen 1.7 million illegal aliens deliberately admitted into this country, and another 1.2 million known got-aways have entered while the Border Patrol has been overwhelmed changing diapers and taking names. Now, that is an illegal alien population of 2.9 million. That is the entire population of the State of Mississippi just since this administration changed these policies and precipitated this crisis. As the Democrat's witness testified, illegal aliens are now being rapidly and efficiently trafficked by our government to every community in our Nation. What the Democrats have never explained is how our schools are made better by packing classrooms with non-English speaking students, how our hospitals are made more accessible by flooding emergency rooms with illegals demanding care, how our social safety net is strengthened by adding millions of impoverished and dependent individuals to systems that are already strained to the breaking point, how our neighborhoods are made safer by introducing violent cartels into our communities and making it impossible to deport criminal illegal aliens, how our Nation is made safer as known terrorists are encountered entering our country in record numbers, how our children are made more secure with fentanyl pouring across our border, or how working families are helped by flooding the labor market with cheap, illegal labor. This is the nightmare that the Democrats have unleashed upon our country. I asked the same group of Border Patrol agents in Yuma what laws could we write that would help them. They said unanimously the first thing we need to do is enforce our existing laws. This administration clearly doesn't intend to do so. The laws that we will write in the House I am afraid are not going to survive the Democratic Senate or get Joe Biden's signature. So, this situation is going to continue to escalate and continue to worsen. It is already being felt intensely in our major cities and rural communities. New York City taxpayers are paying for luxury accommodations to house this flood of illegal aliens there. Fentanyl trafficked across the southwest border killed 71,000 people in America last year alone. In Tulare County, California a cartel just viciously executed six innocent victims. I believe this country is going to soon awaken to a coordinated terrorist attack by elements that have entered through our porous border or with violent cartel wars erupting on our own streets. Our witnesses today tell the story of what their lives are now like in the border communities. Of course, these illegal aliens don't stay in the border communities. They are being trafficked to every community in America. So, I would like to ask Sheriff Dannels what he believes our communities should expect as this mass illegal migration makes its way from his community to ours. Mr. Dannels. Thank you, Congressman. Let me start off by saying this. I know we are hitting on immigration, and I am here on border security. I will say this. You made a comment that they don't stay in our border communities. There is one instance they do stay in our border communities. That is when they die. Over the last two years, we have over 1,000 migrants touch U.S. soil coming across our border illegally that have died, that sheriffs, the 31 sheriffs on the border have had to process as homicides until proven otherwise. That is 1,000 migrants under inhumane conditions smuggled by the criminal cartels that we have left in our border communities and left families in Mexico mourning. So, there is a consequence to this open border. Second, these sheriffs, these police chiefs, and these communities are doing the impact. I have heard it from Democrats. I have heard from Republicans. I will say this to you. I didn't drive out here, come out here 2,000 miles with a political agenda. I came out here with a public safety agenda. That is to protect all people. Well, you got to do that by starting with border security. That is where it starts. Then we got to look at our immigration laws. I agree with you, Congressman. We have the laws to address it, legal, legal, legal. I will say that. They can come to any port. I can promise you my two international ports in my county they don't come there. The only time we saw asylum claims on our two port of entries was when the cartels were having an internal rift and shot over 40 people within--we watched it happen from our international line in my county. We had cartel members claiming credible fear that were allowed in our country, that were allowed in our country that just executed somebody and then come in and claim credible fear because the other side was trying to kill them. So, we have a problem on our border. We truly do. We need your help, your help to fix it. Thank you. Mr. McClintock. My time has expired. The gentleman from California, Mr. Swalwell. Mr. Swalwell. Mr. Dunn, thank you for coming today. We all share your love and passion for Noah and the determination to get something done. I have a family member by the grace of God is alive today after addiction and, also, sadly know somebody who has died because of fentanyl. I also believe there is bipartisan support to take on China for its role in exporting fentanyl. Sheriff Dannels, also thank you for doing a very hard job. Mr. Dannels. Thank you, Congressman. Mr. Swalwell. I have a few brothers who are deputy sheriffs. You have got a very, very tough job, especially just where you are in the world. Would it help your job or hurt your job if you had 20,000 more Border Patrol agents assisting you on the Texas U.S. border? Mr. Dannels. Speaking on behalf of, Congressman, on behalf of my brothers and sisters from CBP, I would say that would help. Mr. Swalwell. Yes, I agree. We passed legislation in the Senate that would have done that. I wish we could get a vote on that in the House. I also just want to talk to you. My brothers sometimes are a part of raids. It is a car stop. You take guns and drugs out of the car. You put them on a table. You have a press conference. It is a deterrent to future criminals. You show and hold up the law enforcement who did that. Sometimes they raid houses on search warrants. Again, they find illegal drugs and guns and paraphernalia. Do you consider those types of raids that your department have done, are those successes or failures when that happens? Mr. Dannels. They are a little bit of both, I will say, Congressman. Mr. Swalwell. A failure because the drugs are in the community but a success because you all caught them. Mr. Dannels. Yes. Mr. Swalwell. The reason I bring that up is because I think too often many of my colleagues on the other side have rooted on some of the chaos around this issue and don't want to be a part of the solutions or the change. So, recently there have been a number of tweets that my colleagues have posted, one of them from Mr. Gooden. It says, . . . enough fentanyl to kill 140 million Americans was seized at the southern border in June. In honor of Overdose Awareness Week, I am calling on Joe Biden to close his open border. Then Mr. Buck said, . . . since November enough fentanyl to kill 2.1 billion people has been seized at the southern border. We must secure the border and protect our children and families. The Chair of the Republican caucus, Ms. Stefanik, said, . . . over 800 pounds of fentanyl were seized at our southern border in October. This is Biden's border crisis. This is just cheering on chaos instead of honoring the police who did the tough job, the hard work, and seized the drugs and took them off the streets. If we want to talk about some of the fentanyl facts, 96 percent of the fentanyl seized in the last Fiscal Year was seized at ports of entry. Eighty-six percent of the convictions around fentanyl coming across our border were convictions of U.S. persons, 86 percent. So, we should talk about fentanyl. We should go after China. This is chaos, what I am seeing from my Republican colleagues. When George Bush had successes, rightful successes, stopping the war on terror, I never heard my Republican colleagues say, well, someone was stopped from carrying out a terrorist attack. This is George Bush's terrorism crisis. We should celebrate law enforcement. We should not deride them and use them to make points that actually don't even land, because the fentanyl crisis is not happening where you all are claiming it is happening. So, I will take this opportunity, and I will thank Sheriff Dannels, and the men and women he works with, and I will thank CBP for the hard work they do. I invite my colleagues to join us, not in chaos, but in change. Finally, Mr. Roy's bill that is a part of this hearing would seek to end asylum, an asylum process that has brought to the United States some of the best minds in science, some of the best athletes in the world, some of the best diplomats like Secretary Madeleine Albright. One person recently said with respect to Mr. Roy's bill and proposal, are we stupid, come on. This country was based on good minds. Look at Albert Einstein. We gave him a piece of paper to come in. We are letting the Albert Einstein of this modern time slip away. It wasn't a Democrat who said that. It was Mr. Roy's Republican colleague, Representative Maria Elvira Salazar. So, I invite my colleagues, listen to your own colleagues who know better on this issue, because it could use a lot more change and solutions and a lot less chaos. I yield back. Chair Jordan. [Presiding.] The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from North Carolina is recognized, Mr. Bishop. Mr. Bishop. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr., Judge Samaniego? Mr. Samaniego. Yes, sir? Mr. Bishop. Did you hear about the conflict between the Mexican army and the Sinaloa cartel in the city of Culiacan in--earlier this month? Mr. Samaniego. I did. Mr. Bishop. As described in The Guardian it said that they captured Ovidio Guzman, son of El Chapo, prompting a wave of retaliatory attacks from cartel gunmen. After a night of violence gunmen exchanged fire with security forces blocking roads with burning vehicles and shooting at army helicopters and police airplanes bringing reinforcements to the city. According to one resident heavy fighting raged for hours after Guzman, a key figure in the Sinaloa cartel since the arrest of his father, was arrested in the city early on Thursday. It goes on to say that residents were locked into their homes. All major roads into the city were blocked with burning vehicles and gunmen attacked a military air base. It goes on. You would agree that the cartels are dangerous organizations, aren't they? Mr. Samaniego. They are. Mr. Bishop. They have come to have extraordinary capacity to operate in Mexico to the point that they can take on the Mexican army. Isn't that true? Mr. Samaniego. I'm not sure that's a true statement, but-- Mr. Bishop. Well, in this case they actually had a running battle with the Mexican army where helicopter gunships were deployed to fire, and they were firing at them. There was an open warfare in the city. You do understand that, right, sir? Mr. Samaniego. I do understand that. Mr. Bishop. You don't see it as possible that in a future with an uncontrolled border, a border we can't control, that those same conditions could exist on the streets of American cities? Mr. Samaniego. I believe that's not the case because I think we're mixing two things. We're mixing one, and that's unrest. We have unrest ourselves here in the United States just like in Mexico. We're mixing two things. Mr. Bishop. Are the cartels strengthened by the fees they receive for trafficking humans across the border? Mr. Samaniego. Well, I think there's a lot of assumptions in that-- [Simultaneous speaking.] Mr. Bishop. Is that a hard question to answer yes or no? Mr. Samaniego. Well, give me the question straight so I can understand what you-- [Simultaneous speaking.] Mr. Bishop. My understanding is that billions in income come to the cartels and by--according to the Border Patrol officers I have met they say nobody comes across the Rio Grande, nobody comes across the border without paying a fee of thousands. Many of these people don't have thousands. So, they enter a life of indentured servitude until they pay it off. Their family might be tortured to pay for it. The cartels earn billions from it. Is that not trueto your knowledge? Mr. Samaniego. It's true. It's true, but it's true on the Trump era as well. Mr. Bishop. OK. Mr. Samaniego. It's not--it has nothing to do with-- Mr. Bishop. I don't even think it is--necessarily should be a battle between Republicans and Democrats about who is--who gets kudos for stopping the flood across the border, but isn't it true that the policy is strengthening the cartels, these dangerous cartels that can operate in the open and conduct open warfare with the Mexican army? Mr. Samaniego. Well, I think you're talking about the root cause, and that's a broken system. We have to shoulder a broken system there in our community. Mr. Bishop. So, we just deplore it as a broken system, but we don't need to respond as if this is an emergency and a threat to the United States, that the same conditions could occur here? Mr. Samaniego. I'm not understanding how you're mixing the two things of trying to help asylum seekers that's part of our policy. Mr. Bishop. Well, if this transnational criminal cartel organizations that exist and they are capable of doing what they are doing in Mexico, and they are being strengthened day in and day out and their drug trade is producing profits and expanding their forces in the United States, isn't it just a matter of time and amount before they can do the same thing here that they do there? Mr. Samaniego. We've seen this for 50-60 years, cartels doing that and the fights that happen between them. We live that. We happen to be one of the safest--when Mexico was the worst in the world in violence, we were still the safest community in the country. Mr. Bishop. So, you are copacetic about it? You think there is not a threat to the United States? Mr. Samaniego. Well, there's a threat, but I cannot understand what we're here for immigration. We're here to discuss what's the right thing to do for immigration. I've always said that when you mix two, it gets very complicated. It's complicated enough to look at them separately, much less when you combine the two. When you try to talk about the drugs and try to talk about immigration, it gets so mixed up that you can resolve it. So, I'd like to really focus on the fact that we need to do the best thing that we can. Mr. Bishop. I am out of time. I would let you go on. I question your conclusion about what is humane and what is not, and with that I yield back. Mr. Samaniego. Well, thank you, sir. Mr. Biggs. [Presiding.] The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Lieu. Mr. Lieu. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Let me start off by noting that the Chair of this Full Judiciary Committee lawfully defied a bipartisan congressional subpoena. Now, Mr. Dunn, thank you for coming here today. Sorry for your loss and thank you for sharing your story and your efforts working on the fentanyl issue. Judge Samaniego, I have some questions for you about fentanyl. Mr. Samaniego. Thank you. Mr. Lieu. I agree with my Republican and Democratic colleagues that we need to tackle this issue. It is your experience, isn't it, that the overwhelming majority of fentanyl seizures occur at ports of entry and not from migrants bringing them across the border? Is that right? Mr. Samaniego. That's correct. That's what we understand, that's what we know. We work so close with law enforcement, Border Patrol, ICE, and we do not get that suggestion that it's the migrants. We talk directly to them. It's not the migrants that have that issue. It's at the Port of Entry by Americans, by the way, that are crossing into the United States more so than any other form that comes through our borders. Mr. Lieu. In fact, your experience is actually what the data shows. So, I have an article here from the Cato Institute, which is a libertarian think tank. The title of it is, ``Fentanyl is Smuggled for U.S. Citizens by U.S. Citizens.'' What the facts from this article show are that in 2021 U.S. citizens were 86.3 percent of the convicted fentanyl traffickers. In addition, over 90 percent of fentanyl seizures occur at legal crossing points or interior vehicle checkpoints. So, if we really want to tackle the bulk of this issue, what we want to do is strengthen technology at legal point of entry, at the ports of entry. We want to give Border Patrol more resources at these ports of entry to address the fentanyl seizures. Thank you to all the Border Patrol agents that the Republicans have highlighted repeatedly for how much they have been seizing in fentanyl, because they are doing their job. I would like to ask unanimous consent to enter this article from the Cato Institute titled, ``Fentanyl is Smuggled for U.S. Citizens by U.S. Citizens Not by Asylum Seekers.'' Mr. Biggs. Without objection. Mr. Lieu. So, Sheriff Dannels, thank you for your public service. Mr. Dannels. Thank you, Congressman. Mr. Lieu. Do you know which American president said, ``for decades the United States has not been in complete control of its borders?'' Mr. Dannels. No. Mr. Lieu. That president was George W. Bush in 2006. Are you familiar with Operation Intercept at all? Mr. Dannels. I'm not. Mr. Lieu. OK. That was an operation put in by an American President that basically shut down the southern border for about three weeks. Then it was lifted because it was not sustainable. That American president was Richard Nixon. This hearing is titled Biden's Border Crisis. That is completely wrong. It is not Biden's border crisis. This has been a crisis for over half a century from Nixon and every American president after him. They have not addressed this issue. I am going to read you some comments from various American presidents. Eighty to ninety percent of the heroin that comes into U.S. today comes across our southern border. You know who said that? President Ford said that. Millions of undocumented aliens have illegally immigrated to the U.S. They have breached our Nation's immigration laws, displaced many American citizens from jobs, and placed increased financial burden on many states and local governments. President Carter said that. The ongoing migration of persons to the United States in violation of our laws is a serious national problem. President Reagan said that. I was especially concerned about the growing problem of alien smuggling, international terrorists hiding behind immigrant status. President Clinton said that. I could go on and on. The only folks that can actually fix this problem is U.S. Congress by passing laws. We had a chance to do that with a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the U.S. Senate on a bipartisan basis. Guess who stopped it? House Republicans. So, it is simply false narrative that this is Biden's border crisis. It is a crisis of over half a century and the people that can stop it are we in Congress. I urge Republicans instead of doing hearings and doing talking points actually work with Democrats on a comprehensive immigration bill that will, in fact, solve this problem. With that, I yield back. Mr. Biggs. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Roy. Mr. Roy. I thank the Chair. Mr. Dannels, with respect to that previous point, there has been about 4.7 million apprehensions under the current administration. Is that unprecedented in your eyes? Mr. Dannels. Yes. Mr. Roy. The 2.7 million people have been released into the United States. Is that unprecedented and, in fact, way off the charts compared to past numbers? Mr. Dannels. Yes. Mr. Roy. The extent to which fentanyl is pouring in our communities, is that precedent? Mr. Dannels. Yes. Mr. Roy. Is it precedented? It is unprecedented, correct? Mr. Dannels. Yes, yes. Mr. Roy. I would ask the Judge Samaniego. You testified that there is no invasion. There were 162,000 encounters in the El Paso sector alone in the first quarter of this fiscal year. Does that sound correct according to Border Patrol numbers? Mr. Samaniego. That's correct. Mr. Roy. Fifty-five thousand in December alone. Is that correct? Mr. Samaniego. Yes. Mr. Roy. We had the Democrat mayor El Paso who has been bussing people to New York City. Truth? Mr. Samaniego. No. Mr. Roy. The Democrat mayor of El Paso has not been putting people on buses sending them to New York City? Mr. Samaniego. Not without notification at the other end. Mr. Roy. OK. They are putting them on buses and sending them to New York City. New York City today is asking the Federal Government for money to process individuals that they are dealing with overflowing in New York City. Now, you testified earlier that you weren't getting help from the State of Texas. Now, the city of El Paso declared emergency, but has the county declared emergency? Mr. Samaniego. No. Mr. Roy. No. The county has not declared emergency. Mr. Samaniego. No, we did not. Mr. Roy. The earlier testimony that you had, before you testified that this effort to wanting to secure the border is racist. So, here is a question for you: Fifty percent of Border Patrol are Hispanic. Border Patrol overwhelmingly wants us to change policies to secure the border, not just as some are testifying that we need more resources. I know that Mr. Dannels, Sheriff Dannels testified that having 20,000 additional agents would be helpful. The answer to that is of course. Of course, having more personnel would be helpful. The question is what do they most want? Sheriff Dannels, what does Border Patrol most want to secure the border? Do they want policy changes to actually enforce the law or do they want more resources? Which would they rank higher? Mr. Dannels. Policy changes. Mr. Roy. What kind of policy changes? Enforcing the laws of the United States at the border? Mr. Dannels. Enforce the rule of law. I'll share this add- on, too. Support from--they feel like they're not being supported by this administration. Mr. Roy. If we had a law that said that we should follow current law to detain individuals claiming asylum for the pendency of the adjudication of that claim, to require that they be detained according to current law, would that be banning asylum? Mr. Dannels. No. Mr. Roy. If people are claiming in this Committee that it is banning asylum, would that be untrue? Mr. Dannels. Yes. Mr. Roy. Hector Garza works in Laredo, Texas for Border Patrol. He is a friend. He is Hispanic. He said, ``The mother of all caravans isn't just materializing out of the ether. It is just the most recent wave of an invasion that is being aided and abetted by liberal activists who believe that subverting United States law is the best way to achieve the radical policy objectives.'' Mr. Dannels, do you believe that Hispanic Border Patrol Agent Hector Garza is racist by describing what we are experiencing at the border as an invasion and suggesting that it is, in fact, the policies of liberal activists represented by my Democratic colleagues in this Committee and in this House, that this is what is subverting United States law? Do you believe that is racist? Mr. Dannels. No. Mr. Roy. Judge Samaniego, do you believe that there--in light of your statement saying that these policies are being promoted to secure the border, do you think that Border Patrol Agent Hector Garza, a lifelong public servant working for the Border Patrol in Laredo, Texas and Hispanic, a Texan, is racist for that Hispanic American to say that it is an invasion, that his Border Patrol personnel are overwhelmed, that he believes that it is the liberal policies that are making a mockery of our current laws to say that we should enforce the laws, that we should enforce the laws on the books, that this is, in fact, a racist statement by Hispanic Border Patrol Agent Hector Garza? Mr. Samaniego. Well, it's a freedom of speech and he can say whatever he needs to say. I can tell you that if you asked a Border Patrol in El Paso, they're looking for assistance, that we do not detain them because they don't have the space, they don't have the personnel. Mr. Roy. I appreciate that, but I would just suggest to you is that this is not a racist statement to say that we should secure the border. This chart, Mr. Dannels, can you see it from there? Can you see the uptick in the numbers here, way up here? Mr. Dannels. Yes. Mr. Roy. That chart reflects the uptick in migrant deaths. That is 2020-2022. Almost 1,000 migrant deaths at the southwest border of the United States. We had 53 migrants die in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, cooked in the Texas heat. Fifty-seven were killed when a tractor-trailer crammed with migrants rolled over the highway crashing in Mexico's southern State of Chiapas. Answer me this: Is it Christian for migrants to be treated like that and to die in tractor-trailers? Would anybody on this panel think it is Christian? Mr. Biggs. Time. Mr. Roy Mr. Dunn, you go to church in Hays County. Is it Christian to allow migrants to die like that? Mr. Dunn. No. Mr. Biggs. The gentleman's time is expired. Mr. Dunn. Is not. Mr. Roy. Thank you, Mr. Dunn. Mr. Biggs. Thank you. Before I call any--I have a few articles that I want to read into the record. ``El Paso Forced to Bus Immigrants Out of Town Amid Mid-Mass Migration,'' from the New York Post; ``El Paso Joins Governor Greg Abbott in Bussing Migrants to New York City,'' from Texas Tribune; and ``El Paso Looks Like a Third-World Country After Texas Border City . . .'' from the New York Post. Without objection. I recognize the gentlelady from Washington, Ms. Jayapal. Ms. Jayapal. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I want to thank the witnesses, all of you, for being here. Mr. Dunn, I want to express--join my colleagues in expressing my condolences to you and your wife Janel and your family for your profound loss of Noah. For four years Donald Trump pursued some of the most inhumane immigration policies as president. He cruelly tore thousands of children from their parents and did everything in his power to dismantle any parts of the U.S. legal immigration system and refugee resettlement system, a system that has been called the crown jewel of American humanitarianism, not by liberal radicals, but actually by the Association of Evangelicals. Today my colleagues across the aisle want to go even further than Donald Trump with policies that would effectively end asylum and place unaccompanied children in remain-in- Mexico-type proceedings. Not even Donald Trump went that far. Don't take my word for how extreme this is. Even other Republicans have said that these proposals go too far, calling them extreme, and again not liberal radicals calling them extreme or calling them anti-American. That was from another Republican, other Republicans in this Congress. In fact, one Texas Republican said, and I quote, Border security and immigration are two separate topics. One can be for a strong border security presence that prevents terrorists, fentanyls, and bad actors from entering our country and one can be for welcoming future Americans in through the front door. So, here are some facts: Since Congress created the Department of Homeland Security in 2003 we have spent over $350 billion on the agencies that enforce immigration law. Federal immigration spending has surpassed what was promised in multiple immigration bills that would have reformed the actual system so that there are legal pathways for people to come to this country. We know that throwing money at the border without also fixing the legal immigration system is not going to be successful. We have passed in December 2022, Democrats passed the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus which included $60 million to hire additional CBP officers and support personnel at ports of entry, another 70 million to strengthen nonintrusive inspection systems that scan vehicles and cargo to disrupt the flow of drugs including fentanyl at ports of entry. Not one of my Republican colleagues voted for that legislation. In June 2020, Congress passed the Infrastructure Bill which included $430 million to modernize our ports of entry and improve CBP's ability to detect illicit drugs. Two hundred House Republicans voted against it. We put that money in because we know that over 90 percent of fentanyl is seized at ports of entry. Now, I understand that the issues that we are talking about today require my Republican colleagues to tell a lot of statements that aren't true, to use Nativist rhetoric, words like invasion and flooding that have actually been used throughout the history of this country to demonize immigrants to this country, different waves of immigrants that have come into this country, but that is not the way that we are going to solve this problem. Judge Samaniego, I want to thank you for your service and also for sending us the wonderful Congresswoman Escobar, who is such an important voice here on this Committee and in this Congress. I want to call your attention to this chart that shows that when the Biden Administration rolled out a clear process for Haitians to seek admission into the United States in June- August 2021 and then again beginning in April 2022 the number of Haitians presenting themselves at ports of entry increased. In fact, as we maintained that clear legal process for Haitians, people coming outside of the process basically ended. In your experience meeting with people seeking safety do you hear a persistent desire to follow a legal process to enter the United States? Mr. Samaniego. Absolutely. I've seen some incredible situations where they're waiting in Juarez under very difficult circumstances. Sometimes the only reason they cross is because it gets so difficult for them. So, they really, really are interested in doing the right thing. I'm glad you mentioned the separation of children. There's nothing more heartbreaking. I want to give credit to our Congresswoman who's really stepped up. So, sometimes it doesn't take a law. It just takes a person. In El Paso and everywhere else no longer is there separation of children because she found it to be offensive. She stood up for it. She's championed for that, and we would no longer do that. I think that's quite an accomplishment. Ms. Jayapal. Thank you. My time is yielded. I do ask unanimous consent, Mr. Chair, to enter the following statements into the record. The American Immigration Lawyers Association, Church World Services, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, First Focus Campaign for Children, Human Rights First, Kids in Need of Defense, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Project, Project on Government Oversight, and the Southern Border Communities Coalition. Mr. Biggs. Without objection. I recognize the gentlelady from Indiana, Ms. Spartz. Ms. Spartz. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Judge Samaniego, do you believe in the rule of law? Mr. Samaniego. Pardon me? Ms. Spartz. Do you believe in the rule of law? Mr. Samaniego. Absolutely. Ms. Spartz. So, let me ask you a question. You were talking about asylum seekers. How many of them are actually legitimate asylum seekers, cases percentagewise, based on the current law? Mr. Samaniego. I think that's an impossible question because they have the right to say that they have credible fear. It is not my position or my role to, to determine whether that is true or not, but that is the court's. Ms. Spartz. The cases when you go and look at these cases, what is the percentage of that actually legitimate? What do you assess that it actually was not abused? Mr. Samaniego. From the stories I have heard, and what they go through, and how they are persecuted in their countries and how they are treated, and it is not economically driven as much as it is fear-driven. Ms. Spartz. So, what is the percentage that is, that could be legitimate? Now, when I was in Texas a few years ago and I talked to some people there, I have actually been in El Paso, too, it was under 10 percent. I am not sure if this number changed now. Would you say that majority of them are not? Mr. Samaniego. Well, you are asking for a nonobjective. I can't say that. Ms. Spartz. OK. Then let me question. If there are a lot of illegitimate cases do you think it hurts legitimate asylum seekers that actually can be killed by their government? Mr. Samaniego. Well, absolutely. I mean, they are seeking to get away from their difficult situation. I cannot tell you. That is up to the court. Ms. Spartz. Do you believe that, you know, and I agree with you that it shouldn't be where the court really should be doing it because we are delaying the process. Do you believe that have such a large number of people at the border doesn't allow now actually to help legitimate people that could be dead, because we have some people that--very desperate people? Don't get me wrong. Life is tough in a lot of countries. There are a lot of things, you know, that is really bad. We have people really in a life and death situation do believe to have such scale of people coming to the border and maybe abusing the system, and take advantage of some of these people, actually hurts legitimate people? Mr. Samaniego. Well, that, that is the broken system. I mean, we are asking--the system says you have the right to express credible fear. Ms. Spartz. The system should be checked at the border and should be go in the first Port of Entry. So, there is a lot of abuses in the system. Do you believe that they need to tighten a little bit asylum procedures from our standpoint that Border Patrol can do a better job, that we don't have to wait for a lot of cases when they get through the court system? Do you think it is legitimate? Mr. Samaniego. I can tell you that the number of times that a migrant is vetted is unbelievable. Ms. Spartz. They are not vetting for credible fear right now because they go around that they just say, I have a credible fear. Cartel gives you a piece of paper say what you say the right thing to do. They just let you go. Hopefully, they give notice to appear. Some of them don't even give them anymore because they cannot process it. It is becoming a situation where it is becoming no one can handle this demand. So, do you believe we need to improve that from your perspective? That is, it not enforcement issue, that enforcement law needs to be tighter? Is that? Mr. Samaniego. Absolutely, it needs to be improved. I think you are not giving us a solution. It is not an easy solution for us to determine whether it is or it isn't credible fear because the law says that if you express it, then we have to accept it. Ms. Spartz. Well, I think we agree something, the law maybe need to be tightened. Because we are really hurting the people. Do you believe that cartels making so much money on desperate poor people that the message spread they all come to the country is really hurt legal immigration, but also it really creates a modern-day slavery, because these are desperate people. Do you believe that would be characterized like that? Mr. Samaniego. What I have said over and over again is that, if you stop the process, you help the the cartels. When the process is moving, it is very difficult for them to do the things that they do. When you push them back to Juarez-- Ms. Spartz. You don't think all this money actually are helping them, to empower them and control now all the whole border with a lot of money? Have better resources than our Border Patrol has. You don't believe it is helping them because all these people paid them a lot of money, and from desperate countries? They don't make enough money to pay unless they became enslaved by these people. Mr. Samaniego. I agree. Every time that the process stops, that is when they get abused, they get raped, they get--and so there are people that can legitimately come into our country, if we can help them process and get them quickly moving, less likely with the cartels. Ms. Spartz. Yes, I think we need to work on that. Maybe we can at least find common ground on that. What would you say, Sheriff, from just feeling, what really needs to be done--and we have two seconds left to really find common ground to stop this insanity? Mr. Dannels. I will talk fast. I actually spoke to Secretary Mayorkas about putting judicial oversight at the southern border so they can address these asylum claims, these credible fear claims. As we know, the high percentage don't qualify under the law to do that. Secretary Mayorkas said, ``I 100 percent agree with you, Sheriff.'' We have seen no action over the last year to get that done. Because we can address it at the border, not within our communities. Ms. Spartz. Thank you. My time has expired. Thank you. Mr. Biggs. I now recognize the gentleman from California, Mr. Correa. Mr. Correa. Thank you, Mr. Chair. First, Mr. Dunn, I want to convey my condolences at the loss of your son Noah. I am a father a four. Every day I pray for my children. I am, also, a Little League dad. I have seen young children go from promising athletes to drug rehab. A terrible situation, drug abuse. This scourge on our society does not discriminate. Working hard to make sure nobody falls victim to the scourge. Sheriff Dannels, I also want to thank you for your good work. Mr. Dannels. Thank you, sir. Mr. Correa. I have a brother that served with LAPD for 30 years. Mr. Dannels. Thank you for your service. Mr. Correa. He has some interesting stories. Mr. Dannels. Yes, I bet you do. Mr. Correa. You mentioned human trafficking. You mentioned $3,000. Is that the price to smuggle a human being into this country? Mr. Dannels. No. It is 7,000 and up to be smuggled by the criminal cartels. So, the drivers that are coming to my county, going to three hours north to Phoenix, Maricopa County, it is $3,000 per person. Mr. Correa. I just got back from Central America. The going price now is about $22,000. Most of the women, 80 percent of the women by the time they get to El Paso, to our southern border, are either raped or sexually abused. I would say that there is a lot of desperation, putting yourself at risk, a woman preparing herself for that eventuality and paying $22,000. Mr. Dannels. I would agree. Mr. Correa. Like many of us here, I have had the opportunity to go to the southern border, El Paso, San Ysidro, the Canadian border as well. My job in Homeland Security. I only have three minutes left, so I want to talk about the San Ysidro border crossing. When I usually cross that border, come back to the U.S., I identify myself to the border agents. Tell them who I am and ask them how is the day's work going? Usually get average answers. One day agent told me, ``Look behind you. See all those cars.'' I said, yes. He says, ``They are essentially filled with Russian and Ukrainian undocumented immigrants.'' I said, ``It is new?'' He said, ``No. It has been happening for a few months now.'' Well, the Russian-Ukrainian war started, those undocumented Ukrainians are now Ukrainian refugees. April 2022, less than a year ago, I went back to San Ysidro, actually to Tijuana, Mexico, to visit a refugee camp of Ukrainians. This is what I found behind me: The Mexican Government took a baseball field, turned it into a refugee camp. The Mexican police were guarding that camp to make sure those refugees were safe. American private and public donations poured in. Doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals came in from across the country to make sure healthcare needs were taken care of. This became a processing center for Ukrainian refugee camps. Refugees would come in. In 24-48 hours they would board a bus, be driven to the pedestrian crossing, pedestrian west crossing. Title 42 would be waived. They would get a parole status and walk across the border. This is an example of how you deal with the refugee crisis, right here, ladies and gentlemen. This doesn't look like El Paso. This is the way you address the refugee challenge. The Biden Administration, thankfully, is now working on implementing a similar program, parole program for Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans. We still have the Afghanis that fought alongside our troops that are still hanging out there somewhere. Same thing for Syrians. Sheriff Dannels, I ask you this question because it is an issue of incentives, folks. Very, very desperate individuals. You have got to give them a reason to go through the legal process because they are desperate. The refugee challenge is not just the United States. It is a worldwide issue. The solution isn't just here. Our neighbors, Canada and Mexico, have to be part of the solution as well. Under existing laws this is the way you do it. I am out of time, Mr. Chair. I yield. Thank you very much. Mr. Biggs. Thank you. I recognize the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Cline. Mr. Cline. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I want to thank the witnesses for being here. Mr. Dunn, our prayers are with you and your family for the loss of your son. This hearing is designed to bring to Washington the concerns of the people at the border about this border crisis, and seek out its origins, which are clearly down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue and the White House. From day one, this administration has blatantly ignored U.S. immigration laws and policies designed to keep America safe. After several visits to the border myself, it is clear, we need border enforcement now. The open border and amnesty policies have made this crisis worse every single day and encourages more vulnerable populations to make what is a very dangerous journey. Americans should be outraged by the Biden Administration's failed leadership. On January 30th, KFOX 14 in El Paso reported on Border Patrol reports in the article entitled, ``Unprecedented number of migrants reported in El Paso in the first quarter of 2023.'' More than 64 percent of the migrants encountered during this timeframe were single adults, some attempting to evade arrest and not seeking asylum. Unaccompanied children encounters increased by 59 percent in the last Fiscal Year of 2022, the same timeframe, as opposed to 8,000 unaccompanied children encounters. El Paso sector reported only 5,000. So, that is up. The sector led the Nation in the first quarter of the Fiscal Year with total migrant encounters across all 20 U.S. Border Patrol sectors. Agents apprehended 37 individuals with criminal records, rescued 61 migrants, including tender-age children, some abandoned in the remote desert, and intercepted 22 narcotics loads. A defense attorney in El Paso, juvenile defense attorney, stated, ''Youth are getting more involved with crime.'' Huge increases in weapons. He thinks it is just because they are getting money to pay for these weapons. How they are earning that money is from drugs. I see a lot of kids are helping with human smuggling, and that is a big problem. Although, Judge, you stated in your testimony there is no invasion of migrants in our community, nor are there hordes of undocumented immigrants committing crimes against citizens or causing havoc in our community, when you see an increase in children helping human smuggling, how is that not the case? How is it not the case that you, that these policies are contributing to the delinquency of minors in your area? Mr. Samaniego. Once again, I don't see the correlation of things that are going on with our country and sort of saying that it is influenced by our immigration or people coming through. Like I said, we don't see that. We try our best to deal with the circumstances at hand. Then we try our best to move people along. I have said over and over you guys have the luxury of being Democrats and Republicans. We have to be public servants. That is all we can do. When they come across, we do not manage who comes across, we manage how to process them in the best possible way. I have said over and over, El Paso really thinks as a Nation. I think people think that we are just focused on our situation there as a community, but we don't. We are really concerned about having New York to deal with that, having Chicago deal with that. We have talked to each one of the mayors and we are working. If we were to put in more of a national system of allowing communities to say who needs the migrants, and then helping us to process them there. I use the Houston model. It is just exceptional. Every single day 52 come in. They go back to Houston. They go to the bigger hubs, and we move them through. So, that is where we need your help. We need your help to-- not whether what we are doing is right or inaccurate, but the fact that it is a community that really shoulders a tremendous amount of a broken system. Mr. Cline. You say that the transportation of these individuals to other cities is necessary to prevent your community from descent into chaos, correct? Mr. Samaniego. No. That is not true. Mr. Cline. You are fine keeping them all in your jurisdiction instead of sending them to other locations? Mr. Samaniego. We would welcome them. It is a shame that they are concerned about being close to the border because of how they are going to be treated, and how they are going to be deported even if they shouldn't be deported. So, you have got migrants wanting to move into the interiors simply because they don't feel safe, even if they are here, processed, and legal. Once they are processed, they are legal in our community. So, once again, I think we are helping the Nation do the right thing. Mr. Biggs. The gentleman's time has expired. The Chair recognizes the gentlelady Ms. Scanlon. Ms. Scanlon. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to have called this hearing to really promote fearmongering or disinformation to justify a radical plan that would effectively shut down asylum to everyone. The plan is so extreme that the Republican colleagues have objected that it is ineffective, inhumane, and even un-American. What I find particularly pernicious is the attempt to conflate the issues of migrants seeking legal asylum through our legal processes with the very real scourge of fentanyl trafficking which, as CBP data demonstrates, and Judge Samaniego has testified, overwhelmingly comes through the ports of entry in trucks and cargo ships, not on the backs of migrants trying to flee poverty or violence in their home countries. Falsely suggesting that migrant families seeking asylum are the source of the fentanyl epidemic, we can't even start to craft policy measures that could actually address either of these issues, the fentanyl crisis or the humanitarian issues raised by the push factors in South and Central America and our immigration laws. So, I don't want to waste this opportunity. Since most of my experience before coming to Congress has to do with how badly broken our immigration laws are, I just wanted to focus there. How do we handle the increase in asylum seekers at the southern border with real fixes, like some of those that Judge Samaniego has suggested? As I suggested, we do need to address the root causes of migration, but we need to have functioning pathways here in this country that people can pursue. I have represented enough folks seeking asylum to know that there aren't functional pathways. I think we heard a statistic that only a small percentage of people seeking asylum are actually entitled to it. That is not true. The statistics vary very widely across the country, but in some areas, particularly on the border where there are less friendly judges often, the rates are very, very different than in other areas across the country. So, Judge Samaniego, you are not an Immigration Judge, are you? You don't adjudicate asylum claims? Mr. Samaniego. We do not. Ms. Scanlon. OK. I did want to verify that. Now, a couple years ago I had the opportunity to visit the border and speak with Customs and Border Patrol, Homeland Security agents, and advocates, and did see that there is a humane processing process available there. I really appreciate that. Why do you think that has been so successful over the years, particularly when compared with other cities and counties along the border? Mr. Samaniego. I think one is that we have accepted to be humanitarian. When you do not start at that point, then you don't create processes, you don't create ways to handle them, the NGO's are not working with you, the Border Patrol doesn't work with you. So, I think the moment that you make that determination that you are going to be humanitarian, it forces you to come up with systems to help out. There are some, for example, there are things that we could do. The Venezuelan population dropped tremendously as soon as we--the Border Patrol has an app that you can, now from your country, begin to apply. We are talking about vetting the credible fear. So, you are able to do a bit of that. The numbers dropped tremendously. Also, I was able to talk to the Ambassador from the U.S. to Mexico. He talked about what do we do at the origin, the point of origin, is very important. Because we know that, for example, why is Colombia not treating Venezuelans properly, and then Venezuelans have to leave their country to come to our country? So, there is a--it is not just a pull that we have. We have a push that we need to look at as well. So, I think there is, if we get creative, but once you start with the idea that you have to--it is safety. We have to make sure that the economy is taken care of. El Paso is one of the strongest economies in all of Texas. We were one of the strongest. So, while we are dealing with this situation, we have to worry about the economy. So, the economy, the safety, and being able to do the right things from the humanitarian, I think if you start from that premise, things are more solvable. If you start from the premise that you don't want them here, then what is the solution? Ms. Scanlon. I do want to pick up on that because over the past few months Texas' Governor has sent dozens of busloads of vulnerable migrants to Philadelphia, which I represent, without notice or coordination which, of course, has made it more difficult for our willing city authorities to welcome those folks. When you have two buses dumped on New Year's Eve morning before 6:00 a.m., and you have vulnerable people without coats, it is very difficult. So, I appreciate your insight that cooperation can smooth over many of the issues that we are dealing with. I see my time has expired. I yield back. Mr. Samaniego. Thank you, Congresswoman. Mr. Biggs. I recognize the gentleman from Wisconsin, Mr. Tiffany. Mr. Tiffany. Judge Samaniego, you said in one of your answers earlier that people come here because they are passionate. You have advocated for allowing people to come in here. Do you think that is a reason why we should allow people into America on a legal basis because they are passionate to come to America? Mr. Samaniego. Well, no, no. I said, they were here for different reasons. They just happen to be passionate as an additional component. I mean, they come because they are fearing what is happening in their community. I touched this when I said earlier when they tell you that every day their mom or their dad calls them and says they come here looking for you every morning, and they want to know where you are at. Mr. Tiffany. Thank you. Mr. Samaniego. That is why they are moving in this direction. Mr. Tiffany. Thank you. I am really glad this issue in regard to Governor Abbott moving people to various cities around the country has come up. Have you been critical of Governor Abbott for what he has done? Mr. Samaniego. Absolutely. Absolutely. Because when you send someone that is not organized, and they don't know who is on that bus, and some of them are not sponsored, that is a huge burden on that community. Mr. Tiffany. Have you been critical of the Biden Administration when they have flown people all over the country in the dark of night? Mr. Samaniego. I don't know of that taking place. I apologize. Mr. Tiffany. So, you have not seen, for example, I have an article here entitled, ``Biden Administration quietly flies illegal immigrants to New York in the middle of night''? We just heard from a fellow Member on this panel saying they are doing it in Philadelphia also. Do you think that is right for the Biden Administration to do that? Mr. Samaniego. Well, I think it is an indication that they have to decompress. Because when we get flights that are going out to decompress the system there with the Border Patrol, and has nothing to do with our community-- Mr. Samaniego. So, did you give the benefit of the doubt to Governor Abbott and say, well, maybe they are decompressing these people on their trips to these cities? Mr. Tiffany. Well, I-- Mr. Tiffany. Isn't it the same thing, Judge Samaniego? Mr. Samaniego. No, it isn't, because it is not coordinated. We have never gotten a call from the Governor to tell us, hey, what do you need? How can we help? How can we do things? Mr. Tiffany. No. Thank-- Mr. Samaniego. We just get buses for these people. Mr. Tiffany. I really appreciate that. Biden Administration quietly flies illegal immigrants to New York in the middle of the night. That is what they are doing. I will be happy to share this article with you so you can see what is happening there. Thank you for your answer. Sheriff Dannels, I was in your county in June 2020. What has changed since June 2020? Mr. Dannels. Well, we went from, just to put it in perspective, five percent of my jail population was border- related, up to almost 45 percent now, 45 percent. We have seen the pursuits. Last year we put 180 people in jail for pursuits that were deadly pursuits. When I say, ``deadly,'' driving at 100 miles an hour plus, endangering communities. Some resulted in deaths. Some we interdicted before they killed somebody. We see the flow of public safety challenges in our community based on this border every day. So, it has changed drastically as a result of this border. Mr. Tiffany. Because what I heard from your sheriffs is that there was good coordination all the way from the local level all the way up to the Federal Government in June 2020, and that there was some control being--the border was becoming more secure. Is that generally an accurate statement? Mr. Dannels. Yes, Congressman. In fact, Border Patrol, when I pull up to a scene to help my deputies or troopers, officers or agents, they always make a point to come over and say, Sheriff, thank you for what you do. Thanks for being a voice for us. Mr. Tiffany. We heard earlier that--I can't remember who it was that said that the increased fentanyl is not tied to illegal border crossings. Do you agree with that statement? Mr. Dannels. No. Mr. Tiffany. Why not? Mr. Tiffany. The criminal cartels are exploiting our border, whether they are trafficking children, adults, males, females, whether they are human smuggling for profit, or they are doing illicit drugs. Either way, the criminal cartels are exploiting our border. I keep hearing the word, different words about how it is controlled. It is not effectively managed right now. Until it is, the cartels, they are the winners of this. Mr. Tiffany. Those of you on the other side of the aisle, you can continue to wear blinders, or you can do photo op trips like the President did down to El Paso where they cleaned up that region before he comes in, you can do that. The American people are seeing very clearly what is going on. Now that we are in the majority, we are going to try to identify this as much as possible. Because you are hearing the truth here from people like the sheriff, from the fentanyl families. I hope you are meeting with those fentanyl families because it is directly tied to the border. I am going to just close with this: I hope as we go through this process, we also get more information out in regard to the NGO's, the International Organization for Migration, which has weaponized immigration into this country all the way from Panama up to the southern border. I hope we dig in deep to those NGO's that are complicit-- Mr. Biggs. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Tiffany. --in the greatest human trafficking operation perhaps in the history of the world. I yield back. Mr. Biggs. I recognize, the Chair recognizes the gentlelady from Pennsylvania. Is that right, Ms. Dean? Ms. Dean. Yes. Mr. Biggs. All right. Ms. Dean. Ms. Dean. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you to all our testifiers for being here today. We benefit from your experience, and your service, and your knowledge, and your heartbreaking family experience. Before I ran for Congress, I was a professor. For 10 years I taught at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, teaching writing, 7rhetoric, and ethics. That is why I can't help noticing words so often used by my Republican colleagues when we are talking about both of these tragic issues: Words like hordes, invasion, crisis, and open border. It is purposeful. They want the American people to be scared. They want us to feel threatened. They want to create divisions because othering people makes it far easier to mistreat them. The reality is there is no invasion. There are no hordes of invaders. Our borders are not being overrun by dangerous criminals. We do have a broken immigration system. At the same time, we are struggling with an extraordinary, deadly drug problem in our country. Mr. Dunn and Ms. Dunn, Ms. Janel, my extraordinary heartfelt sympathy to you on the loss of dear Noah, poisoned by fentanyl, as you have written here in your testimony. My family knows a little bit about drugs and poisoning from a different perspective; my son is a recovering addict. It is by the grace of God that he did not come into deadly fentanyl that would have taken his life. We must be able to talk about these things honestly, and not conflate them, as my colleague just said. There is a difference between the facts and the rhetoric, between wanting to solve these problems or just trying to make people afraid of them. The fact is 90 percent of fentanyl, heroin, and meth seized in this country is captured at ports of entry. Just about everybody who I have spoken to has said this. This means the drugs are being brought in through normal channels, not on the backs of families crossing at remote parts of the country. The vast majority I am talking about. I am sure it is not 100 percent. In fact, CBP reports that drug cartels are now recruiting Americans to bring fentanyl into this country, not undocumented immigrants. We have a horrific problem. Like your dear Noah, we are losing more than 100,000 people a year to overdose, more than 70 percent of those fentanyl. I wear this band for the son, a 24-year-old son who died of an overdose, fentanyl poisoning. Sadly, it is not one anymore. This band represents at least a half a dozen in my community whose children have lost their lives. Let's get serious about it. Let's stop demonizing the immigrant who comes and asks for help. Judge Samaniego, I understand, and I have been to El Paso to the Port of Entry, it is the second busiest border crossing in the United States. You interact with a large number of these people who are--and they are people seeking safety and humane treatment. Can you just give a couple snippets of why they are coming across? Mr. Samaniego. I said earlier, a large number that you hear is that they were in their country, they were abused, they tried to defend themselves, so they get targeted. That is one big category, where they are just trying to do the right thing in their own country, but their own country rejects them, and then they target them. That is a big part of it. A lot of it, like I said, is just it is not--the economy plays a second part of it. Obviously, the economy is worse, but that is not a reason to come to our country, because of the economy. They are really driven by the fact that they can no longer live in their communities. Ms. Dean. We know that we have seen these numbers for a large number of years, not just under the Biden Administration. I think in your testimony you wrote at least the last four years you have had increased numbers. Mr. Samaniego. Absolutely. Ms. Dean. Can you speak to what you also said in your testimony which is this, what I am so concerned about, which is the false racist narrative that is being promoted here today, and is promoted day after day here in Congress? Mr. Samaniego. Well, if anybody is concerned with that, it is us. I mean, we, that narrative was picked up by a shooter that you had the Walmart situation. We hear that and it concerns us as a community. When you say racism, and invasion, and all this, it makes our community extremely nervous because then we might get targeted for being that community, and for being humanitarian. So, I do ask for these words to be settled in a different way. You don't need to say invasion and all these things that are happening across the border. We are a community that works really hard. We are very privileged with what we have. It is just very concerning when we hear this because we don't know if we are going to be targeted because of these comments. Ms. Dean. I know my time is up. I thank all three of you for your service. Mr. Dunn, I thank you for your wish to our children. Thank you. Mr. Biggs. The gentlelady's time has expired. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Van Drew. Mr. Van Drew. Thank you, Chair. First, Mr. Dunn, as everybody else has said, and I know we have been repetitive, but it really is heartfelt, we feel for you. As somebody, I am a grandfather, I am getting older, and a father. I can't imagine. I cannot imagine. I will tell you, I mean this sincerely that I will pray for you and for your family. I don't know, sometimes I think the world is upside-down. The more that time goes on, especially recently, it seems upside-down to me. So, I have to talk about a few of the things that I heard my colleagues on the other side say that, for example, this hearing was a show. The hearing is not a show. To determine how to effectively fix something you have to study it, you have to learn about it, and you have to hear about it. That is what this hearing is about. It is not a show. It is also not anti-immigration. None of these Republicans, and I know, I am sure, none of the Democrats are anti- immigration. We are anti-illegal immigration. There is a difference. There is the rule of law. I don't know where we have lost that. That is what I mean by the world being upside-down. The rule of law, that you follow laws, and things happen in a certain way. The other secret here that people sometimes don't want to talk about is no country that is ultimately successful for a long period of time has wide open borders. Yes, there can be border problems. America has had border problems. Many countries have had border problems. Nevertheless, you can't say that you can just have completely open borders. If that is true, let's just open our country completely to every single country in the world and say we have no borders, and as many people want to come here can come here, whether they are sick or not, whether they have other issues or not, whether drugs are coming in or not. Yes, drugs are coming in because the cartels are helping these people to get across and using them. Human trafficking is happening. Human abuse is happening. I am sorry, Judge, but it is. If you talk to people down there, I know the people you don't talk to don't see it and hear it, but the people that I do--and we are going to go again real soon--do see it and hear it. It is true. It is real. I kind of empathize with the sheriff, Sheriff Dannels, when he spoke about Secretary Mayorkas because I have had the opportunity to ask him questions a number of times when I was on the Homeland Security Committee, and the guy doesn't tell the truth. Nobody wants to say that openly, but I will: The guy is a liar. He does not tell the truth. When he tells you he is going to look at something, he doesn't. When he tells you he is going to do something, he doesn't. When you show him a video of terrible things happening, once it was a video of a young officer actually saving somebody's life that was drowning, and they found out that it was a drug dealer whose life he saved--by the way, the officer died--that is the truth. The truth is we have a problem. The truth is that we need borders that are effective, and we need borders that are sealed. The truth is it is Biden's. I will be the partisan one here, it is Biden's problem, because in two years it has radically changed. When President Trump put together a strong array of immigration policies at stemming the flow of illegal immigrant crossings, there was so much of a reduction. It was so much safer. It was getting better. It was working. You know what? Legal immigrants don't like the illegal immigration. They don't want to be mixed into that. His very first day in office President Biden decimated this process. He ignored the experts. He ignored the expert advice of those serving at the borders. He turned his back on the millions of Americans that live in border communities. Does anybody care about all these people that are being overrun? We are all going to care soon because we are all going to be overrun. That is not being--that is not hyperbole. It is not extreme. They are being shipped all over the country. He ended the construction of the wall and he refused to deport any illegal immigrants during the first 100 days, so he terminated the declaration of a national emergency at the southern border, all in one single day. Did we put out a message that we wanted illegal immigration? Absolutely. You know all the things that have happened since and how many got-aways have got away. I wanted to ask something of the sheriff. Because I don't have time, I would love to talk on this longer. Kamala Harris was appointed the Border Czar. That means she should know this border in and out and in every way, along with Mayorkas. Has she? Have you had a lot of interaction with her? I am done talking, but can he answer that at least? Mr. Biggs. Yes. The gentleman's time has expired. You may answer that question. Mr. Dannels. No. Mr. Van Drew. No. I hope everybody heard that. That is the answer. That is the truth. Mr. Biggs. Thank you. The gentleman's time has expired. The Chair recognizes the gentlelady from Texas, Ms. Escobar. Ms. Escobar. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to also join my colleagues, Mr. Dunn, in expressing my heartfelt sympathies and condolences for the loss of your son. Sheriff Dannels, thank you for your service to your community and to our country. Mr. Dannels. Thank you, Congresswoman. Ms. Escobar. Again, Judge Samaniego, I am so grateful for your compassionate and strategic leadership and your partnership with the Federal Government. We appreciate your testimony here as well. For anyone who really, truly wants to understand what is happening at the border and to depoliticize this, we have got to take a step back and acknowledge that what we have been seeing is an historic refugee crisis impacting our Western Hemisphere. It started in 2014 as we began seeing record numbers of unaccompanied minors. It has continued through the years. When folks credit Donald Trump for limiting migration, I want you to look at what the data shows, which is the only time we saw a drop during the Trump Administration was in the weeks after the country and the world shut down because of COVID. The apprehensions began increasing again before the November general election in 2020. So, let's operate in truth and fact or we won't be able to achieve any solutions together. I will tell you there is no one who wants a safe, secure, well-managed border than those of us who live and work on the border, than those of us who raise our children on the border, those of us who have pledged our service to the border. So, to my Republican colleagues, I will work with anyone who wants to achieve what I hope we all want to achieve. So, how do we do that? How do we solve this challenge? I will tell you how we don't do it. We don't keep doing more and more of the same. The definition of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity. What have we been doing for decades in America? We have been addressing immigration as a border only issue. That is an expensive failure. So, how do we solve this? No. 1, Congress needs to open-up legal pathways. We haven't done that in decades. For many of these migrants there is no line for them to get into, there is no right way for them to use except for asylum, which is legal. We should also recognize that our country needs immigrants. I don't know about you all, but every CEO I talk to says we need a labor force. I have had CEOs from different parts of the country tell us, can we have some of those asylum seekers in our community, because we can't get anybody to go to work? So, we need to recognize how advantageous immigration is for America. We also need to modernize our processing and include a Federal civilian workforce so that, Judge, you don't have to step in and fill in where the Federal Government has failed. Most importantly, we can depoliticize this work and work for real solutions. So, if we want to end the scourge of fentanyl, I sure wish my Republican colleagues would have voted for the bipartisan Infrastructure Law which funds technology at our ports. If you want to help defeat the cartels, fund the President's budget as he applies historic resources to do this. If you want to erode the power of the cartels, advocate to end Title 42. If you want to secure the border, I sure wish you would have voted for historic funding for the Department of Homeland Security in December. Every member of the Republican party, every colleague actually on this panel who is a Republican voted against that funding. In fact, in December President Biden asked for $5 billion for the Department of Homeland Security. Republicans cut that in half and then voted against it. Judge, in that funding was money for communities like ours, for governments like yours that help partner with us. If the Republicans would have had their way, and if that funding wouldn't have made it to you to help, who or what agency would have been hurt the most? Mr. Samaniego. Oh, my goodness. Just the fact of not having the funding, obviously everybody gets hurt because now NGO's have to step in without any money. Everything gets shifted away from what they need to do. I can tell you, FEMA helping us really took a--that was such an incredible opportunity for us to be able to shelter, to process, to do the things that we wanted to do in a very organized manner. Ms. Escobar. When you can't help, what agency has to pick up the burden, what Federal Law Enforcement Agency? Mr. Samaniego. Well, the Border Patrol. Ms. Escobar. That is right. Mr. Samaniego. Border Patrol. They, that is why we have such a great relationship, because they know that if we weren't doing our job with the community, they would have to have--they have 1,200, they have 1,200 beds available. Sometimes they have as much as 5,500. When we help them, the flow comes through, they are feeling good about it, and we take all that pressure away from the Federal Government. Ms. Escobar. Thank you, Judge. My time has expired. I yield back. Mr. Biggs. Before we go to our next interlocutor, I guess do any of you need a five or 10 minute break? Do you? OK. So, we are going to recess for 10 minutes, or the sound of the gavel. We are in recess. [Recess.] Chair Jordan. [Presiding.] The Committee will come to order. The gentleman from Oregon, Mr. Bentz, is recognized. Mr. Bentz. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Let me just start with Sheriff Dannels. Sheriff, I am interested in knowing about how you would view a system that did not allow asylum claims. If we decide to secure the border completely and cut asylum claims and cutoff parole claims, that doesn't mean necessarily that the border is going to be secure. There are still going to be issues because the border is a long space and folks will be coming across it. The reason I bring up this reference to asylum and parole is because when Secretary Mayorkas appeared before us, he assured us that the border was secure and that the law was being enforced. Of course, he neglected to point out that literally tens of thousands of people were being allowed in under the guise of both of those perfectly legal devices. So, two questions to you. First, I was looking at your suggestions on what we needed to do to perhaps secure the border. So, the first question is, which one is the most important if we are actually going to do it? The second one in the same vein is, can we do it? Do you think that we can actually secure the border? If so, tell us how much money it is going to take. I saw your list. I have no idea what the cost would be. Can we actually secure the border? Mr. Dannels. I do believe, Congressman, that we can secure the border to a manageable State. We've seen it done before. I've seen it almost four decades of law enforcement where we have a manageable border. It'll never be perfect. I've seen that. I don't ever see perfection on the border. What I do see is having the right programs which starts with the President of the United States. I know it was mentioned before, different Presidents, different ideologies. The bottom line is when we have a President that, (a) prioritizes all our borders, not just our southern border, and then (b) we enforce the rule of law. We can always polish the rule of law. We have to enforce the rule of law. Mr. Bentz. Stop there. That takes me nicely to asylum and parole. Those are the laws. Are you suggesting we do away with those and say, the border is now closed? We don't want anybody coming across. Is that what you are suggesting? Because I can't let you get away with abolish the rule of law without talking about asylum and parole. Mr. Dannels. Congressman, when I say--I always put border security first and then immigration second because we can talk immigration all day. If the border is not secure, we're going to be fighting ourselves like we are in this meeting today. So, when I talk about asylum, I believe in asylum. You got to do it legally. You got to go through a Port of Entry as designated by our rule of law. You can't come across our border illegally and then have no consequences. I've been a cop for 38 years. I've been in the military. I support the rule of law. I'm never going to change from that. I've done that for so long. So, we've got to have rules that we're going to follow, not that we make them subjective to what political ideology fits. We have to have a rule that fits. That's why I say we have to enforce the rule of law or we change it to make it fit current times. Mr. Bentz. Correct. With mass migration, that is a real challenge. Mr. Dunn, I am really, really sorry for your loss. I had some of the staff ask you during break if there was a way of testing for fentanyl so that children, such as your son, could have some means where they could check to see if that which they are taking has been contaminated with fentanyl. I understand that there may be a way to do it. It is designated as drug paraphernalia and thus not available. Tell us what the future is when it comes to trying to warn kids who are taking these kinds of things of the danger. Mr. Dunn. There are fentanyl test strips that are available. Right now, they are classified as drug paraphernalia. Excuse me. One of the things that we're working on along with other families that we talk with in Texas and as well as multiple of our democratic State representations, our current representative is a Democrat is to have these removed from that classification. Governor Abbott has already stated that he will sign any legislation that decriminalizes fentanyl test strips. They just have to get that legislation out there, so it can be enacted. Mr. Bentz. So, why would anybody object? Mr. Dunn. They won't. Everybody that we've talked to is on board with it. It's just our session in Texas doesn't meet as frequently. So, they have to--we've been told it is one of the priorities. I believe there's several different bills out there. So, I think it's finally just getting everybody on board and getting it done is what we're waiting on. I think our session just convened a few weeks ago. That is one of the top priorities from the representatives that we've spoken to. Mr. Bentz. Yes, thank you for being here. I yield back. Mr. Dunn. Thank you. Chair Jordan. The gentleman yields back. The gentlelady from North Carolina is recognized. Ms. Ross. Thank you, Mr. Chair. First, Mr. Dunn and to your wife, I am just so profoundly sorry for your loss. I have met with the families of focus who have lost loved ones to fentanyl. It is a problem in my home State of North Carolina. I think it is quadrupled the problem. So, I am 100 percent with you in finding a way to stop this drug from coming into our country and spreading throughout the country. So please, please know that. I am just somewhat saddened by this hearing because we have had the opportunity to work on bipartisan immigration reform, both immigration reform that deals with the safety and security of our border and that addresses the needs of our workforce. I represent North Carolina. So, we have a huge agriculture industry that is dependent on migrant farm workers. We also have a lot of people in our State who come to work in high tech companies and in biopharma. They are having difficulty with their visas and extending their stays. It really is incumbent on all of us to work together to solve this problem. We are seeing some glimmers of hope on the Senate side. My great fear that we are going to have one-sided hearings on the House side that don't bring people together to be able to both solve the situation at the border which is both a humanitarian and a safety issue and make sure that we have the workforce that we need. As I said, in my State of North Carolina, that workforce comes from all corners of the world, but has insecurity about whether or not they are going to be able to stay and whether or not their children are going to be able to stay. So, it is my hope that the majority on this Committee really wants to do that hard work. I know that Congresswoman Lofgren is not here right now. The work that she did on farm worker modernization was bipartisan and important and helped with border issues and helped with making sure we had enough farm workers. I worked last session in a bipartisan way to help the documented Dreamers. These are young people who come here legally with their parents on a visa. Because our immigration system is so broken; they have to self-deport at age 21. We have bipartisan sponsors on the House and Senate side. It got through the House. We are really, really hoping to work on that. So, it is in that spirit that I would both ask my colleagues to work on this issue and I will be asking some questions of our witnesses. My first question is for our judge. Please tell me how to appropriately pronounce your name. Mr. Samaniego. It's sort of easy. It's Samaniego. Ms. Ross. Samaniego. So, as I have said, immigration has become such a partisan issue. What I would like to know from you, what are things that work where you think we can get some bipartisan support at the border? Mr. Samaniego. I'm glad you're saying that, Congresswoman, because we gain a lot of traction and things seem to be moving in the right direction. Then when politics enters, it sort of distracts us from doing what we need to do. I think you would think at this point that necessity would give us the way toward getting job creations and we hear a lot about that. I ask two questions from every migrant, every person I meet. (1) How long have you been traveling just to get them to sympathize with what's happening with them? (2) What is it that you did in your country? ,I can tell you plumbers, teachers, bricklayers, and agriculture. Everyone has--there's no one that has said, I'm just a laborer or I'm just a--they've worked in farms. They've worked in doing things that we need. So, if you connect the two that we have a tremendous need, I know just in El Paso, right there on the border, we have maybe 20 percent, that we could use 20 percent, especially in the service industries, in the entertainment industries. They have all that talent and the abilities. I think the first thing is instead of trying to eat the elephant in one sitting that we start saying, what are some of the small things that we could do? I believe from just my experience that job creation and connecting the immigration situation to jobs. We've already lived through the bracero situation that we need it, and we used it properly. It was very successful. So, I think the first thing is that I hear is they're ready to work. If we could connect it with our needs here in our country. Ms. Ross. Thank you so much, and I yield back. Mr. Samaniego. Thank you. Chair Jordan. The gentlelady yields back. Judge why wasn't it fixed last year? Mr. Samaniego. Pardon me? Chair Jordan. Why wasn't it fixed last year? The gentlelady talked about working in a bipartisan fashion to fix this problem. Why wasn't it fixed last year? Mr. Samaniego. Why wasn't it fixed last year? Chair Jordan. You talked about the concerns and how we have to work together to fix--I am just wondering, why wasn't it fixed last year? Because they didn't need bipartisan support last year. Last Congress, they controlled everything in the Federal Government. If it is a Federal Government solution, why didn't they fix it? Mr. Samaniego. Well, one of the things that we're doing today, and I appreciate that is we're having a dialog. Those dialogs can lead to-- Chair Jordan. I am all for dialog. I am all for working together. Now, it is all bipartisan. First, they say there is no problem at the border. The border is secure. Then they come in here and say, oh, no, no. We got to work in a bipartisan way to fix it now that we are in control of the House of Representatives. All I am saying is last Congress, they controlled everything. Joe Biden is a Democrat in the White House. The Senate was controlled by the Democrats and the House was controlled by the Democrats. Why didn't they fix it then? Mr. Samaniego. I think that falls more in your corner than mine. Chair Jordan. My corner? Mr. Samaniego. Yes, because-- Chair Jordan. The minority last Congress? Mr. Samaniego. All we do is maintain the flow and try to do the best we can with a broken system. We have nothing to do with fixing a system. So, this-- Chair Jordan. You understand how the U.S. Government works, right? You get a majority in the House and majority in the Senate. They pass something that goes to the President. He signs it. They could have done that last Congress. They didn't. Mr. Samaniego. Well, what a great-- Chair Jordan. Why not? Mr. Samaniego. --opportunity for you to be different. Chair Jordan. Great opportunity. That is why we are having the hearing. They criticize us on the hearing. They said, why are we starting this Congress off with this hearing? They can't have it every way. They can't blame Republicans when they were in control. You come here and you can say, oh, no, now it is time for bipartisanship. We welcome that. If we really want to address the problem, the problem that caused Mr. and Ms. Dunn to lose their son, the problem that Sheriff has talked to us about that has been so, so dramatically changed in the last couple of years. That is what we want to address. I yield the remainder of my time to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Roy. Mr. Roy. I thank the Chair for his remarks. I am just going to followup, Judge with the question of the--well, you and I came to an agreement about the numbers of 55,000 roughly that had been encountered in December in the El Paso sector, some 200 and I can't remember the exact number. I am sorry, a 145,000 or 50,000 encountered over the fiscal year, the three- months. How many of those encountered have been turned away under Title 42? Mr. Samaniego. Have been what? Mr. Roy. How many of those have been turned away under Title 42 with respect to the-- Mr. Samaniego. I'm not sure of the number. I think from the border patrol, they're looking at about 35 percent. Mr. Roy. Yes, that tracks with the numbers that I understand, right? So, you are talking out of the 55,000, you would have 18,000-20,000 that would have been turned away under Title 42. You have about 50,000 of those 150,000 that would have been turned away under Title 42. Yet, we know that there was a situation in El Paso with the difficulty of dealing with the processing and the numbers. Now, we have got bussing going on across the country. What happens if Title 42 is no longer being enforced? Mr. Samaniego. Well, I think you're doing the right thing because as you know it was a public health mandate. It had nothing to do with migration. If you want to figure out and get to the problem, that was very confusing because it had to do with something totally different that is now being utilized. To me, I think the reason we would lift it is because we can continue the process and do it properly. You're not going to have all these other individuals that are trying to cross illegally because that's their only way to get here. Because as I said over and over that there's a lot of them that have been stuck in middle that they came thinking that Title 42 is going to be lifted. When it wasn't lifted, then they fell into this desperation. I believe and I've said over and over that if we-- Mr. Roy. Judge, I am running out of time. I am sorry. I don't want to--we just have limits on time. Mr. Samaniego. Go ahead. Mr. Roy. I would say to you that what you just described is all in the context of border security. It is all in the context of who comes in and who doesn't, right, which is what border security is. So, there have been some who have been critical of saying that we should enforce our existing laws with respect to asylum laws, asylum laws which require detention. That is what our current laws require, detention while you make a determination, right, a determination of credible fear for persecution under our asylum laws which is a smaller number than the number of people who are coming that would qualify. So, we are saying we should detain to make those determinations. The connection to Title 42 is really important because the current administration is even in all its bluster about Title 42 still defending the law in court because they know what happens when Title 42 goes away. What you just described is really important for the American people to understand. You just described it in the context of border security, not the context of COVID and a pandemic because it is being used as a border security Band- Aid. What we must do as a body is embrace policy changes to ensure we can effectuate management of the flow while respecting our laws with respect to asylum which is precisely what House Republicans are putting forward, notwithstanding the allegations of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. I am over my time. I yield back. Chair Jordan. The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Ivey. Mr. Ivey. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I want to thank all you for coming to testify today, Mr. Dunn and your family, in particular. I want to commend you actually. You have turned a tragedy in your family into action to making a difference in your community and your State. I was especially appreciative of your comments about the effort to legalize testing for fentanyl, I guess, in Texas, in this Texas State legislature. Mr. Dunn. Correct. Mr. Ivey. OK. Well, I think it is important for people like you to continue that kind of work, bring that activism into the public arena, because I think you have voices that are immensely important. It is certainly an impact in my community just the past week or two. In fact, Congressman Trone and I were having to deal with a situation, a family that straddles our two districts in Montgomery and Prince Georges County is having issues with fentanyl. I have seen recently there have been high school deaths and overdoses with respect to fentanyl. So, it is clearly a major problem. I am supportive of your efforts to try and address it. I was a prosecutor beginning back in 1990. So, it wasn't fentanyl then. It was crack cocaine. When I became an elected prosecutor in Prince Georges, we still had cocaine. There was PCP. There were all sorts of drugs like that, some of it coming across the border like cocaine, some of it like PCP not. I think it is clear that this is an issue that we need to do more to address. That is kind of why I was disappointed with H.R. 29. It is a bill as I reviewed it that was supposedly the Republican leadership effort on addressing these kinds of issues. I just took a look at the bill, and it didn't really do anything with respect to addressing many of the problems you discussed today such as the need for additional resources. To get rid of the backlog, I think judges and courts and the like to address some of those issues. I think Congressman Swalwell asked about whether 20,000 additional border agents would be helpful. There are no additional resources that are provided under this legislation. Their legislation raised some additional issues too that I wanted to raise. We got a letter from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which they submitted to the Congress in response to their reading of H.R. 29. Their position was they asked for Members to vote against it. We urge you to vote against H.R. 29, as well as any subsequent legislative proposals that would unjustly deprive vulnerable peoples the legal right to seek humanitarian protection in the United States. I know we have had a little discussion about whether this bill impacts humanitarian rights. Clearly the Catholic bishops had concerns about it. This bishop wrote this. Most concerning is that the bill effectively expands the policy that's of Title 42 without any exceptions for those with bona fide asylum claims, unaccompanied children, victims of torture, victims of trafficking. Protecting these populations delineate, and they lay out some of the statutes that are in place currently. Moving forward with this piece of legislation would exacerbate the harm faced by vulnerable persons while also failing to meaningfully address the root causes of migration and the unsustainable conditions at our southwest border. Not only will the challenges we face persist, people will suffer. We must remain true to our laws and our Nations proud tradition of offering safety and opportunity to those who have lost everything besides hope for a better future. They end with this. The Bishops Committee called on us to reject the contemporary forces of division that tempt us with a false choice between our security and our humanity. Our great Nation is capable of safeguarding both our humanity and our security. Judge, let me ask you, what sorts of resources and support do you think would be helpful in addressing this crisis that we are having at the border? I think you testified a little bit about the Governor and the absence of support at the State level. I wondered if you would elaborate on that. Mr. Samaniego. Yes. I mean, they have resources, and they should be understanding what we need. Texas, for some reason, people forget. They think we're maybe part of New Mexico because we're so far away from the capital. So we need to be able to have those discussions on sheltering, on processing. Like I said, we could go up to as much as 1,200 a day processing. All of these are individuals that have sponsors and they're able to move quickly, that same day. That helps us to be able to address all the other concerns that we have of the other 60 percent. I want to, real quickly, if you don't mind, just to comment on the Congressman from Texas. Mr. Ivey. My time is expired. So, perhaps we should wait until the next round. Chair Jordan. You can get that on the next round. The Chair now recognizes the gentleman from Kentucky, Mr. Massie. Mr. Massie. I yield my time to Mr. Fitzgerald from Wisconsin. Mr. Fitzgerald. I thank Mr. Massie for the time. Sheriff, one of the things I try to focus on in the hearings that we have had on the border is the corridors that exist throughout the United States because I am always perplexed when you hear people talk about, well, it is an issue at the border, but it is not an issue in Wisconsin or South Dakota or North Dakota. That is not the case, right? The other thing I would say is strip clubs, head shops, truck stops, all these types of locations is kind of where this stuff is transported, right? We started to see that probably 10 years ago, maybe even longer, and how it is being distributed. So, I was wondering if you could comment on that because the one thing we have with fentanyl is we still have issues related to it not being a Schedule 1 drug. That is something this Congress should do as well. I wonder if you can comment on that. Mr. Dannels. I can. There's been a shift over the last couple years on smuggling. I'll answer. There are two thoughts on this. First, since there's less border patrol on the border now and they're more into processing, they're very thin. So, the migrants that are being smuggled, they get them up to the closest asphalt, the closet highway. Cars pull in, grab them. They're gone. So, the old corridors like you're talking about that was very common, they're not as used like they used to. They don't have to because they don't have to get that deep into our counties. The other aspect of what you're talking about, the trafficking aspect of it where they're trafficking kids and adults, females and males, the trafficking aspect, the nonconsensual part of it is, yes, they're taking them to stash houses. They're making them servant, within truck stops, for example, within strip clubs and places like that. Just a little side note on that, and the question has been asked to me. One of the things we've done on the many innovative thoughts is we have a program through our nonprofit where we're going after the cartels that are trafficking these people. We're going after them not just in my county. Working with sheriffs in Dallas, Texas, Sacramento, California, and throughout urban areas where we know they're being taken to and exploited. So, we're doing that program. Again, that's a multimillion-dollar program that we're putting forward. Mr. Fitzgerald. Thank you very much. I appreciate the comments, and I would yield back to Mr. Massie. Mr. Dannels. Thank you, Congressman. Mr. Massie. Thank you. I yield my time to Mr. Roy from Texas. Mr. Roy. I thank the gentleman from Kentucky. Kayla Hamilton, 20 years old, Aberdeen, Maryland, she was recently brutally murdered by an MS-13 gang member who was allowed into the United States as a UAC last year who is 17 years old. There is a 24-year-old Honduran immigrant was charged with murder and the brutal stabbing death of a Florida man after crossing the U.S. border illegally while posing as a UAC. He was found covered in blood after allegedly killing a father of four who had taken the immigrant in because the immigrant had posed as a UAC. It is not always as simple as some of my colleagues say. Some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have been spending some time today misleading the American people, telling untruths about legislation that I have put forward, H.R. 29, and in so doing, using words like unchristian. The legislation to be clear to all is legislation that reiterates existing law. It makes very clear that under existing law we are supposed to detain when we have somebody who is seeking asylum. It maintains our asylum laws in full and requires that we detain. To be clear and for everybody to listen, I want to follow with Mr. Dannels for your view on this. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle are universally saying to the American people and to all they represent, to every single American citizen they are saying that they believe we should release against current law, that we should release into the United States using parole, which is supposed to be on a case-by-case basis. Release into the United States under parole where notices to appear without having full intention of someone making an asylum claim. They are making false accusations about a law saying that we should follow the law and detain. So, my question for you, Sheriff, with your knowledge of the law is, if we were going to follow the law, would that not slow down the numbers, funnel in those who can make a legitimate asylum claim so that they can then be detained for an adjudication of that claim, so they can still claim asylum and Americans would be safer and migrants would be safer? Could the sheriff respond to that? Mr. Dannels. Yes, Congressman. The answer to that is yes. That's our approach. National sheriffs, western sheriffs, southwest border, I addressed that with Secretary Mayorkas in a room about enhanced judicial oversight when it comes to how we address them at the border. Right now, there is no consequence. I mean, they know if they come here, they claim those couple words, they're in the country. They'll come back within the year for their first hearing and then-- Mr. Roy. So, that is key. They know that they will get released. Mr. Dannels. Yes. Mr. Roy. Therefore, that is the problem at the border. I yield back. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman for yielding. The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Gooden, is recognized. Mr. Gooden. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Judge Samaniego, I was listening to your testimony earlier. In your opening statement, you said there is no open border in Texas. Yet, it seems that you have spent the last several years processing as you said, migrants that have come across. So, I don't know how you can say there is no open border. You mentioned several times, in fact, that you are processing illegal immigrants. I would like for you to elaborate what you mean by processing, because a little over a month ago, about 1,500 migrants crossed the Rio Grande in a single night. A report suggested because there weren't enough beds, more than 600 of these were released--these migrants were released into the streets. Is that an example of processing? Mr. Samaniego. The example of processing is the border patrol lets us know about those that have been sponsored. They vet them at that point. This is where we work really closely with them. Mr. Gooden. So, you are saying if they have a sponsor they are allowed into the country? Mr. Samaniego. No. Mr. Gooden. That is the requirement? Mr. Samaniego. No, that facilitates the fact that they're allowed into our country. Then when they're processed, they become legal. At that point, the fact that they have a sponsor allows us to work with the legal--the persons that are legal. We never try to process illegal at any point at any time. There's no consideration for that. Mr. Gooden. One of the things you mentioned were these NGO's. Catholic Charities was brought up. Are you aware if taxpayer dollars are being spent on those? You talked about bus tickets and shelter. I have been to the border personally and seen Catholic Charities put migrants in hotels and send them to the airport and purchase flights. Where is that money coming from? Mr. Samaniego. Well, most of it is--in El Paso, most of them are donations from the public. They get donations. We have Annunciation House. Mr. Gooden. So, you don't believe there is any taxpayer dollars being spent on that? Mr. Samaniego. Well, let me give an example. One of the leading individuals at houses and shelters and moves them forward is Annunciation House. They will not take one cent from Federal money. They do not want Federal money because they just feel like they've be trapped into that. Mr. Gooden. Well, the information that I have from our government is that we have spent quite a bit on that. I hope this Committee will determine just exactly how much. I would also implore you to revise some of your wording. You have called several of us racist because of--yes, in your opening testimony. You said, ``There is no invasion of migrants in our country. Saying as such continues a false racist narrative.'' Then you went so far as to try to link these words to a horrible crime that was committed in your city. I would advise you to watch your words and be careful when you are talking about people like Mr. Dunn who are voicing a very serious issue. Migrants are absolutely invading this country. I applaud this bill. I am very disappointed in the testimony I heard from my colleague in Maryland, citing the Catholic Bishops. I believe the Catholic Bishops have endorsed this Catholic charity's ruse to encourage more migration. They have encouraged and facilitated child trafficking and a lot of the violence that we have seen. Our borders are absolutely open. I will yield the balance of my time to Mr. Roy from Texas. Mr. Roy. I yield back to-- Chair Jordan. Mr. Goodwin, would you yield? Mr. Gooden. I will yield to the Chair. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman for yielding. Sheriff: (1) On day one, President Biden terminated the national emergency declaration on the southwest border. (2) On day one, he halted construction of the border wall. (3) On day one, he revoked President Trump's immigration enforcement priorities. (4) On day one, he paused deportations. (5) He moved to terminate the asylum cooperative agreements with Northern Triangle countries. (6) He suspended enrollments in the Remain in Mexico program. Did any of those things factor into the conditions you described in your opening statement and this influx of people coming to our border? Did any of those six things that President Biden did on day one contribute to the situation we now find ourselves in? Mr. Dannels. Mr. Chair, it did. That's all of it. Chair Jordan. Every single one? Mr. Dannels. Every one of them changed. We went from what I consider probably in my 38-year career almost manageable borders. That was also shared-- Chair Jordan. So, I want to be clear what you said, Sheriff. The most manageable border we had in your 38 years in law enforcement was two years ago? Mr. Dannels. Yes, it was. Chair Jordan. OK. Then on day one, President Biden terminated the national emergency declaration of the southwest border. That is contributed to the problem we now have, right? Mr. Dannels. Yes, sir. Chair Jordan. He halted construction on the wall. Has that contributed to the problem we now have? Mr. Dannels. Yes, my border is frozen in time in my county. Chair Jordan. Yes, and he revoked President Trump's immigration enforcement priorities. Has that contributed to the problem we see now? Mr. Dannels. It has. Chair Jordan. Including the fentanyl getting to communities and harming people like Mr. Dunn's son? Mr. Dannels. Yes. Chair Jordan. Not harming, taking his life. He paused deportations. Is that hurting? That is what Mr. Roy was just talking about. Mr. Dannels. It's all a collective message that the border is open. Chair Jordan. Terminated the asylum cooperative agreements and suspended enrollments in the Remain in Mexico program, that is contributing to the situation we now have? Mr. Dannels. Yes. Chair Jordan. All right. So, this idea that if we just give more agents, build more wall, put in the roads, more drones, more border security which I am all for, that is not going to solve it until you go back to these policies. Is that right? Mr. Dannels. That is correct. Mr. Chair, if I could add one more thing is before President Biden took office, myself and several other sheriffs on behalf of National Sheriffs met with President Biden's transition team and went over all the current plans on the border to include what was working. I was told by his transition team, Sheriff, we appreciate all you're doing. They were very optimistic that things were doing well on the border. They took over. That all changed. Chair Jordan. Now, that is important what you just said. I know I am over time, and I will go the gentleman from Colorado. What you just said is important because you basically told the Biden Administration, do this and we will have a secure border, the most secure in your 38 years of experience in law enforcement. They said basically thanks but no thanks. Is that right? Mr. Dannels. They actually were very complimentary. I was shocked on day one-- Chair Jordan. Even worse. Mr. Dannels. Yes, I was shocked. They were very, thank you, Sheriff, for everything you're doing. Day one when I saw that, I was disappointed and shocked. Chair Jordan. I yield to the gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Neguse. Mr. Neguse. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair. A couple things, first, I want to say congratulations to the Chair on his ascension to the Chairship of the Committee. I missed the organizing this morning, and so I want to make sure-- Chair Jordan. We missed you. Mr. Neguse. Well, I appreciate that. I will be here for all the future meetings. I also want to say thank you to the acting Ranking Member, my colleague from Texas, Ms. Escobar, for her leadership during, of course, a very difficult time for the country and for her community in El Paso. We are all grateful for her service to the country, the caucus, and to her community that I visited and that I look forward to visiting again. To the witnesses, I want to say thank you, Judge, for your testimony and for your service. Of course, Sheriff, thank you for your service and the service of your many deputies and all the law enforcement who are engaged in herculean efforts in protecting our communities. Mr. Dunn, I want to tell you that our hearts and our thoughts and our prayers are with you. My wife and I are expecting our second child later this year, a son. It breaks my heart to hear your story and very much want you to know that I think across both sides of the aisle here everyone expresses our deepest condolences to you and to your family. Sheriff, I just want to dig in a little bit on your testimony. I reviewed the written testimony that was submitted by all the witnesses. A lot of--you had written testimony, but then also a memo that was essentially an appendix to your testimony. I reviewed that appendix. You suggest a lot of proposals of ideas of programs that I gather you believe would help us ameliorate the emergency and what is happening on our southern border. In digging through some of these, just for example, you list enhanced funding for regional communication interoperability with local law enforcement. I think that is something that all Members of Congress would support, Democrats, Republicans. That is a commonsense step that we ought to be funding. You list here continued funding and support for the Stonegarden program. I don't know if you can talk a little bit about what the Stonegarden program is. I am certainly aware of it. Some of my colleagues might not me. I know my colleagues from Texas are. If you care to talk a little bit about that program, the DHS program that you would like to have seen continued support for. Mr. Dannels. It's one of the only programs, Congressman, where Stonegarden actually brings partnership between CBP and sheriffs and local law enforcement to include our State law enforcement. It's a program that sheriffs nationally and beyond have supported. It pays our overtime to include EREs, employee related expenses, to work side by side with border patrol. It's a great program. Mr. Neguse. Here is why I bring that up. The Stonegarden program has been in existence for quite some time. Mr. Dannels. Yes. Mr. Neguse. Back during the Administration of President Obama, it was at about 50 million dollars given the fiscal year. Right now, we are funding it at 90 million dollars for the Fiscal Year 2023 budget the President has submitted. That is the exact same number that former President Trump submitted during the course of his Presidency. I guess why I offer that is because to me these aren't partisan proposals that at the end of the day are focused on blaming one side or the other. This is an example of something that President Biden has continued to do to support. I presume you support that, that he is-- Mr. Dannels. I do. Mr. Neguse. --continued funding for the Stonegarden. Similarly, you put here one of the items in terms of a proposal that you would like to implement is to hire more immigration and asylum hearing officers for all POEs or port of entries I presume that acronym. I am sure you are already aware of this that on January 5th--so a few weeks ago, the President announced that there would be an increase of officers at the border to help process migrants. That is in addition to the 25,000 officers. Obviously, we are waiting in terms of the President's budget to get the exact number. I think that is something you support as well, I presume, in terms of adding more officers? Mr. Dannels. I do. I do. Mr. Neguse. I reason why I am asking those questions again, just to kind of land here at the end, is that from my perspective and from my constituent's perspectives in Northern Colorado and Western Colorado, they are focused on solutions, trying to solve the problem. You have outlined a couple of solutions here. I would love to be able to have a thoughtful conversation with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle about these different prescriptive proposals and get to a place where we can find consensus. Unfortunately, at least as I have gathered from the parts of the hearing that I have heard, it is a lot of heat from some of my colleagues unfortunately about blame and sort of characterizing the problem instead of solving the problem. So, I am hoping that we can get to that. With that, I would like to yield my remaining time to the Ranking Member. Ms. Escobar. Thank you, Mr. Neguse. Two quick points: First, the folks that are being processed by CBP who are seeking asylum, I want to remind my colleagues seeking asylum is legal. So, once they have been processed, they are legally in the country. Second, Mr. Roy stated that we called his bill unchristian. We did not. We are quoting his colleague from Texas in the Republican conference, Mr. Tony Gonzalez. His is the one who called Mr. Roy's bill unchristian. Finally, I would like to ask my colleagues not to slander the U.S. Conference of Bishops, Catholic Charities, and the Catholic Church as one of our Republican colleagues did just moments ago. Thank you. I yield back. Chair Jordan. The gentleman from Texas is recognized, Mr. Nehls. Mr. Nehls. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to thank the witnesses for being here. It is no secret. Quite honestly, it is self-evident. We are facing the worst border crisis in the history of our great country. It is self-induced. It is a self-induced crisis. It falls at the feet of Joe Biden and his borders, Kamala Harris who have expressed very little interest in addressing our border crisis, evidenced by their unwillingness to place the American people first. I would like to address Sheriff Dannels. Thank you for almost your four decades of service in law enforcement. Sheriff, in your written testimony, you highlight tragedies in your country related to illegal immigration. I am a former Sheriff in Texas, Bend County. I feel your pain. Sheriff, I feel your pain. Mr. Dannels. Thank you. Mr. Nehls. I also experienced the loss of life of innocent county residents, Americans at the hands of Joe Biden's irresponsible border policies. It is very clear the individuals from around the globe that have been invited into our country by this administration do not have America's best interest at heart. I say this because they are willing to kill. Sheriff, you shared a personal tragedy in your written testimony of a citizen. It was Wanda, I believe. She was 65 years old attending her birthday party trying to go and celebrate her 65th birthday. Rammed by a car, high speed chase, ran a red light, and it killed her. The smuggler had three illegal aliens inside that vehicle. It ended her life. Then I understand that shortly thereafter her son ended up driving upon the scene. I can't imagine. I can't imagine how he felt, what he felt when he saw that car with his mother inside that vehicle. Stories like this are often too common. They are common today. I want to show you this here. This is me here. This guy, this guy, his name is Mr. Zavala. He ran over and killed Ms. Booth. Her last name is Booth, 81 years old. Ran her over, fled the scene, and took off. We apprehend him. Our sheriff's office apprehended him a couple hours later. We start booking him into the county jail. We run him. This knucklehead has been deported six previous times, six. I think the American people are going to want to say, how does a guy get deported more than once? Has been deported six previous times. These are just a few stories that Sheriff Dannels and I, we are sick of telling these stories. We are sick of having to have families come into our offices and explain that their loved ones were killed by people that should be here in the first place. I would like to turn my attention to Judge Samaniego's testimony. Judge, your written testimony claims your center has assisted 26,829 asylum seekers, and I think it opened up on October 10, 2022, correct? Mr. Samaniego. That's correct. Mr. Nehls. So, about four months, 26,000. Fair enough. Data has shown that between the years of 2008-2019 just 14 percent of aliens who claim credible fear were granted asylum. So, that means 86 percent don't. So, 14 percent of 26,829 is 3,756. Would you agree with that number? OK. Congratulations. Your center has assisted over 23,000 illegals that have been scattered throughout the country, coming into Houston, buses, right, bus every day, scattered throughout the entire country. There are 23,000 of those that will never be able to have a legitimate asylum claim because only 14 percent of them do. Sir, that puts the American people at risk. It puts the American people last. You stated there is no invasion of migrants in our community, nor are there hordes of undocumented immigrants committing crimes against citizens or causing havoc in your community. I will say this. El Paso PD, February 25, 2022, violent crimes on the rise in El Paso. The sergeant said we have seen a 27 percent increase in offenses involving weapons, stabbings, and everything. Here is another one. El Paso cops arrest two migrants and overwhelm border city. That is your city, sir. People selling dope, doing all sorts of stuff. Illegals, Venezuelan running around in stolen police cars. Cops are having to chase them. Here two days ago we have here in the city of Houston the enforcement removal operations. Had to remove a guy that was in Houston illegally. He goes out and commits an armed robbery in the city of Houston, right? We arrest him. Thank goodness we arrested him. We find out he has a murder warrant out of Mexico. So, we have some problems here, sir. I would like to ask you this question. Do you believe that these illegal migrants are coming into our communities harming the American citizens? Thank you. Your answer is yes. Mr. Samaniego. Not the percentages you mentioned. Mr. Nehls. You may know that Houston is right next to my district. I will say this. My eyes are wide open. The American people's eyes are wide open. I would ask you to open yours. I yield back. Mr. Moore. [Presiding.] Chair recognizes Ms. Bush. Ms. Bush. Thank you. To Mr. Dunn, my condolences. Very, very sorry for your tremendous loss. To Judge Samaniego, thank you very much for your testimony and for listening, enduring, and for giving your testimony. St. Louis and I are here to recognize the humanity of all people regardless of immigration status. We are here in opposition to any racist agenda pursued by Republicans. Let's take a moment to reflect on the is first month of Republican control of the House. The disastrous and embarrassing Speaker's vote that resulted in the selling of the gavel to a bunch of pro-coup Members of Congress, the seating of insurrectionists and someone who defrauded his way into Congress. That is where we are. Now, this hearing whose purpose it seems it to amplify the anti-immigrant hysteria and right-wing conspiracy theories. The Republican position on immigration is to inflict as much cruelty as possible on people fleeing suffering and persecution. As Democrats, we need to recognize this reality and refuse to be a part of it. That is why I strongly oppose the administration's expansion of Title 42 and the reinstatement of the asylum transit ban. These lawless and inhumane policies deny the right to asylum while failing to address any of the underlying structural problems of our immigration system. So, Judge Samaniego, I want to ask you, do you believe Title 42 is an effective or a humane immigration policy? Mr. Samaniego. It is not. I thank you for being practical, because I need to get back to this idea of detaining them until they're able to vet them. That's one of the most impractical things I've ever heard of. Right now, Border Patrol is shivering thinking, how are we going to do that? Without the community being involved, we're pushing that on them where they have 1,400 spaces. We're going to detain them? We talk about the humanity of the Border Patrol. Just think about what it would take to detain until we vet them. It'd be impossible. I remember growing up and we'd say, how do you put 50 people in a Volkswagen? Twenty-five in the front and 25 in the back. That's about as impractical as this idea of detaining them until you can let them go when you don't the facility. You don't have the manpower. It's those impractical solutions that confuse people. So, I tell you that we've been able to manage things. We know that when there's issues in other parts of the border is because of the lack of organization. It's the lack of collaboration. It's a lack of a lot of different things. When you have people running in to your country because you're not well organized and you're not using collaboration. We've had two or three incidents. We have 800 people out that we're not able to manage because of funding. There are communities that have had as many as 10,000 because they're not organized properly. So, I can tell you our strategy works. If people listen to it and we were able to share the ideas in how we've been successful, I can tell you that we minimize the problem, incredibly minimize the problem for the Federal Government. There should be some kind of appreciation for a community that is sensible about what's happening in El Paso. We all know that we don't want it to happen to the rest of the Nation. All we hear is that I used the wrong word or that I said racist. I never said that. What I said is that using those narratives creates more racism in a community. I didn't say anything about the people involved in it. So, I thank you for looking at practical reasons. I'm appalled when somebody has an idea like detaining them as a solution when that's the most impractical thing you could probably do. Thank you. Ms. Bush. Thank you. Thank you for your work and thank you for explaining that. As Democrats, we must refuse to adopt illegal and ineffective solutions to this complex, longstanding crisis. We must be better than what we are seeing coming from Republicans. Republicans want to talk about Biden's border crisis. The reality is we have a broken immigration system because Republicans want us to. So, they can hold these hearings to mask the fact that they have no affirmative agenda that actually helps people. So, they can spew their lies about immigrants bringing fentanyl across the border while exploiting victims and refusing to support advancements in public health and addiction treatment. So, they can take out their anger and insecurities on the most vulnerable. History will not look kindly on those politicians. Thank you, and I yield. Mr. Moore. Chair recognizes Mr. Hunt from Texas. Mr. Hunt. Thanks, Mr. Chair. I really appreciate it. Mr. Dunn, thank you, sir, for being here. My condolences to you and your family from the bottom of my heart. I am very sorry, and I hope we can do something to fix this issue of fentanyl in our country. Mr. Dannels, sir, thank you very much for your continued service from the bottom of my heart. Thank you very much, sir. Judge, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to be here. I greatly appreciate everybody on this panel today. We have heard a lot of talk today about the five million people--illegal people that have entered this country. That is a fact. There is just absolutely no getting around that. Five million people have entered our country illegally. That is the equivalent to seven congressional districts. Enough Fentanyl has poured into country to kill every American five times. I will say that again, to kill every American five times. Sir, your son is one of those Americans. This is a fact. I am from Houston. Houston is known for a lot of things. We are known for the world champion Astros. We are also known as being the human trafficking capital of the entire world. That is not anything I am proud of. This is all happening at our southern border as we live and breath every single day. Sir, Judge, I am not criticizing what you are saying, and I have listened to you. I can hear your heart and understand where you are coming from. You did say that there is no invasion here. I am somebody that likes to look at the definition of things before we actually can have this conversation. For the definition of an invasion is an incursion by a large number of people or things into a place or sphere of activity. I will say it again. An incursion by a large number of people, and I would say five million people constitutes a large number, or things, and I would say enough fentanyl poured into our country to kill an American five times is a thing. I would consider that to be the direct definition of the word invasion. My colleague, Mr. Gooden, talked about race and using the word racism and racist. I have been Black for a long time, sir. So, I get it. I have been a minority in this country for a very long time. This is actually not about race. This is actually an issue of public safety. If I call this an invasion, sir, I am not racist. I can assure you I am not racist. What I can assure you is that I want to make sure that fentanyl doesn't indiscriminately kill any race, religion, color, or creed because fentanyl doesn't care where you are from. Fentanyl doesn't care about race. Fentanyl kills indiscriminately. This gentleman right here works his tail off every single day to stop that from happening. Now, there has been a break in the dam and that is pretty obvious because a couple of years ago, of course, we have got some problems. It wasn't amplified to the level that we are seeing every single day. The reason why we have to be careful with what we call and what we deem racist moving forward in the future is because we start to lose focus on what the actual problem is. This administration of the Democrat party unfortunately uses race as a scapegoat for everything. As somebody that wants to make sure that we do attack racist issues when they do occur, we can't be the boy who cried wolf and blamed racism all the time. I am here to hold this administration accountable to understand that there are issues of race that need to be addressed. Sir, this ain't one of them. I applaud some of your actions in El Paso. It sounds like you are doing some great things. I am going to tell you being born and raised in Texas, living in Houston, we have a problem. This problem has precipitated over the course of the past two years. That is a fact. I get working together. I get reaching across the aisle. This morning, I can't believe that we had a one-hour debate over whether or not we should say the Pledge of Allegiance before we convene every day, one hour. That, to me, is antithetical to the point of this meeting today. I implore you all to be careful with using race because your son is no longer here and I am sorry. There are 100,000 sons and daughters that are no longer here because of fentanyl last year. This debate is very important and very spirited. I implore this entire Committee to take a strong look at what is happened over the course of the past few years and to derive substantive solutions to this problem so that our youth can continue to have a future for these country. It ain't about race. We are all in this together. I yield back, Chair. Thank you. Mr. Moore. The Chair will recognize himself for five minutes. Let me first say thanks to all the witnesses. We appreciate you being here. Mr. Dunn, you and Ms. Janel, I am reminded of Romans 8:28. It says, I know the plans I have for you, the plans to prosper and not do you harm. More importantly, all things work together for those who are called according to your purpose. Ms. Janel was telling me how you are using this to share to young people across the country. That is a service to our great Nation, and we are grateful. Thank you for being here. With that, Sheriff Dannels, I want to cut away to you here for a little bit. I went to the border, been a couple times down there. One of the things that I took away, and we talked a lot of statistics. A lot of the things we have seen, the record five million which is basically my State's entire population of Alabama. We had that many encounters on the border. The one thing that kind of struck me the most and it was what I begin to talk about and find out that there was a price that these people were paying to come across the U.S. border. So, will you explain to me exactly who is controlling the U.S. southern border and who is getting paid? Mr. Dannels. Congressman, it's a simple answer and that is the criminal transaction organization that's called the cartels. They control the south of our national border, south of it's all controlled. They control guns across. There are prices based on who you are. Are you a terrorist coming from a different country? India was 21,000 dollars, for example. The minimum is, like, around 7,000 dollars right now. Most of these people don't have it. So, when they come across the country, though they might go through a processing as Hon. Judge has talked about. They're servant to the cartels at the end which is usually for sex trade, gangs, drugs, labor, you name it. I have seen no win-win in this, because we don't have a manageable process right now. Mr. Moore. So, Sheriff, one of the things I heard was initially, of course, with inflation in our country, the rate we are spending money, everything is going up. When I was out there, it was about 4,000 dollars for anybody just south of the U.S. border. Then the Triangle countries further south, it was seven to eight thousand. We had a price at that time 20,000 dollars for Syrian refugees. Just recently, I think August Pfluger testified or told us that we had two Chinese nationalists captured on the U.S. southern border, paid 80,000 dollars each to come in our country illegally. So, my question is, what happens to that individual that says we want to come to America, we want to come to the great land of prosperity, and they don't have the money? Say they cut a 7,000-dollar deal with--whatever you call them cartel. Say they cut that deal, and they agreed to pay 7,000 dollars. From there, what happens? Do they come in the country? Do they have to have the money prepaid? Are they indentured servants? I think the term slave I heard earlier today. Mr. Dannels. It truly is modern day slavery. I mean, the lessons of life and history should be playing out today. These people that don't--they go through processing. There is no doubt about it. They are well watched by these cartels that are on the U.S. side. When they are released into a family member, a known family member, whoever, the bottom line is they are also receiving it by the cartels. We know that. We hear it. We see it. The American dream that you are talking about, Congressman, what we talk about, what people in this room are talking about, in those circumstances never met between they are a servant to these criminal cartels for bad, bad things. Mr. Moore. Sir, one scenario I heard, and you maybe can help me with this too. I heard that if they want to cut a deal and didn't necessarily want to be indentured servants and make installment payments, they could, in fact, back pay it, heroin, cocaine, or fentanyl across the border as their payment. Is that the case? Mr. Dannels. It's all part of the drug labor. They're going to do what the cartels do. A lot of the people make the comment when they're here in the United States, they're protected. They also have family in Mexico that they hold hostage. That keeps them doing what they do here. So, they have the strings on family in Mexico. We hear that all the time. Mr. Moore. Got you. One other thing I want to touch on really quick. When I was out at Fort Bliss, I went to the emergency intake center. That was for unaccompanied minors coming to the United States. So, I decided just--I didn't take the tour through the facility. I decided to kind of stay outside. Sheriff, I was keeping an eye on things. I actually started videoing buses with young people being shipped all over the country. They seized my phone onsite. They did not want any record of people being shipped, young unaccompanied minors, to Google addresses in the United States. So, I asked the admiral onsite. I said, sir, can you tell me where are we shipping these children to? His response to me, well, we are just building the bus as we drive. They had never seen the influx of youth that we are seeing coming here unaccompanied. They were building a bus as they drive. Here is the thing, guys. Here is the thing. Young unaccompanied minors, they were not doing background checks on who we are shipping them to. So, we are shipping these children to Google addresses instead of back home to their country. Who knows what happens to those minors in this country. So, with that, my time has come to an end. Who do I need to recognize? Mr. Kiley, you are recognized for five minutes. Mr. Kiley. Mr. Dunn, I want to thank you again after going through the unthinkable, every parent's worst nightmare for your courage to speak out and do everything you can to stop other families from having to go through the same thing. The reality is that far too many families in this country have found themselves in the same unthinkable position. I have worked with a number of them in my own district, one of whom is the Didier family. Laura and Chris Didier lost their son, Zach, two days after Christmas in 2020. He was a 17-year- old senior at Whitney High School, an Eagle Scout, soccer player, star of the high school musical, no history of drug use. I have had the chance to get to know Laura and her husband, Chris, Zach's parents, over the course of the last couple years as they, like you, have worked to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl. As part of her work, Laura is actually here in Washington, DC, today meeting with lawmakers and is now here with us in the room. Laura, I don't know if you want to just briefly stand up so everyone can see your button there. It says Zach here. Laura will also be my guest next week at the State of the Union. Thank you for everything that you are doing. Thank you, Mr. Dunn again as well. There is bipartisan support in this country among Americans for securing the border. There should be bipartisan support in this Committee and in this Congress for supporting the border. I have been rather discouraged by what I have heard at today's hearing. Now, there have been some thoughtful comments on both sides of the dais. Frankly, on one side of the dais, there has been a lot of excuses. We have heard that there may be other sources of the fentanyl in this country. Does that mean we should ignore the overwhelming nexus with the vulnerabilities at our border? We have heard that what we really need is comprehensive immigration reform. That is a question separate and apart from securing the border which is about enforcing the laws that we already have. We have heard that illegal immigration has been a problem for the last 50 years. Well, the two biggest years in terms of number of illegal border crossing by far have been the last two years, 2022 fiscal year, 2021 fiscal year. The month with the highest number of illegal border crossings is not some random month in the last 50 years in the 1970's or the 1980's. It was last month, December 2022. The problem keeps getting worse. What strikes me is the lack of compassion from this administration and those making excuses for it. Compassion for the communities and families being ravaged by fentanyl. Compassion for those who are victims of the horror of human trafficking. Compassion for the migrants themselves who are now dying in record numbers. During Fiscal Year 2022, a record number 856 died attempting to cross the southwest border. That is three times as many as just in 2020. Another facet of this problem is the issue of sanctuary jurisdictions which we are seeing increasingly across the country where jurisdictions actively interfere with Federal immigration enforcement. My own State of California in 2017, the super majority legislature and Governor declared California a sanctuary State, forbidding local law enforcement from communicating with ICE regarding the whereabouts of wanted criminals. These are folks who are not just immigrants, not just undocumented immigrants, but who have committed crimes while they are here. From the very beginning, it was predicted this would raise serious problems. The State's sheriff's Association wrote, Before this was adopted, our overarching concern remains that limiting local law enforcement's ability to communicate and cooperate with Federal law enforcement officers endangers public safety. They said it would preclude staff in our jails from notifying ICE at the request of the pending release of certain wanted undocumented criminals. We have seen time and time again this prediction bear itself out in tragic ways. Just last year in California, there was one of the most horrific crimes I have ever seen. You had a man who murdered his own three daughters and their chaperone at a church just a few miles from the State capitol. It turns out this individual was in the country illegally and had been in police custody just the week before because he had assaulted a police officer. ICE had asked to be notified of his release. The sheriff's office said we can't tell you because of the sanctuary State law. So, Sheriff Dannels, I just wanted to give you a moment if you had any thoughts on the ways that sanctuary policies are contributing to these problems. Mr. Dannels. Well, Congressman, thank you for your comments. Thank you because that's something sheriffs around the country are talking about. This is where that partnership with our Federal partners, State and local, have to work together. That collective recipe of success as I stated in my opening statement is true to how we protect our communities. Thank you for saying that. Chair Jordan. [Presiding.] Thanks, gentlemen. Sheriff, I know you got to catch a plane. Mr. Dannels. Yes. Chair Jordan. We are going to go--if you can, I think it is a five plane you got. We are going to go really quick with our last three here, and then we will get you out of here just ASAP. The gentlelady from Wyoming is recognized. Ms. Hageman. Thank you so much. Border security is national security. The failure of the Biden Administration to secure our southern border and uphold our Nation's laws has created a situation where the effects of the border crisis are felt nationwide. The number of people crossing the southern border last year dwarfs the number of people who live in the State of Wyoming. Since Biden took office, over ten times the Wyoming population has crossed the southern border illegally. Statistics from the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigations show a significant increase in fentanyl seizures within the State. In 2022, the Wyoming Department of Health put out a notice titled Fentanyl Burden Growing in Wyoming as the number of synthetic opioids involved overdose deaths more than quadrupled between 2018-2021. This situation is simply unsustainable, and it is untenable. Sheriff, you have stated that you have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly being a border county and working in a border county. Can you highlight for the Committee where we were in 2013, 2018, and 2022 going into 2023 and how they might fall on that scale? Mr. Dannels. Well, besides my collective statements I have made during this hearing, I would like to hit on many of the aggravated attacks toward law enforcement. That has not been addressed today. I've always seen border issues in my 38-year career. What I'm seeing now is something that I've never seen where almost every other car runs from us. They try to assault us. This is a fight and flight syndrome. That's why we don't get the give-ups. To give you an example, I'll give you a story. I've got a deputy right now on administrative leave where he made a traffic stop at 10:00 at night on a vehicle. The driver got out. Fentanyl was thrown all over the highway. The driver was noncompliant. Border patrol came in behind my deputy to assist him because we work so close with them. It turned into a physical altercation based on his noncompliance. There were three illegal migrants in the back seat that ran during this, added more confusion to the case for my deputy. As they got into the altercation to secure the driver, they fell into the roadway. Just as they get him cuffed up, the deputy looks up, within half a second, sees a car barreling at him. Actually, hits the suspect driver. Take him right from the deputy's hand, kills him, the deputy, and the car keeps going. We suspect it was another smuggler driver. That's an opinion. The deputy performed life saving measures on the individual. Medics got there, took over that. As the deputy went back to the car to check the truck, which is standard, that's just what we do. Open the truck. A male migrant was being smuggled illegally actually attached my deputy a second time. Ms. Hageman. Goodness gracious. Mr. Dannels. When it got to the scene moments later, the deputy made a comment to me. He goes, Sheriff, I don't know how to prepare for this. I go, I don't know how you do it either. The bottom line is this is a day in Cochise County with assaults. We had an agent that was attacked on a trail south of my area toward the border. They tried to take his gun from him. One round was fired. They actually took a knife, tried to cut the agent's throat. He fought him off for seven minutes before my deputy got there. The assaults were seen on--I've had deputies' drug by cartel drivers. I've seen them assault for no reasons and threats. I had the cartels across the line actually come across. We had a couple different sources. They're coming to my county to kill one of my deputies, a random hit. So, I could talk all day on this, and I know you only got five minutes. Ms. Hageman. Well, Sheriff, giving us that report and that information is incredibly important. We all hold all the folks down there in our prayers. Mr. Dannels. Thank you, ma'am. Ms. Hageman. One aspect that is important to remember is that President Biden has not only halted the enforcement of the Nation's laws at the border but he openly showcased his action to the world which only further encourages this security and humanitarian crisis. In contrast, the Trump Administration not only enforced our humane immigration laws, but also made enforcement known to the world. The reality is that Joe Biden has enabled the largest human and drug trafficking operation in U.S. history. The tragedy of that is, as Milton Friedman saw, you can have either an open border or you can have a welfare State. That is just an economic reality. You can't have both. It is the poorest U.S. citizens who suffer the most when the government refuses to enforce our immigration laws and secure our border with overextended services, lack of affordable housing, and suppression of wages. This tragedy is not only manmade. It is government mandated which is a tragedy and a legacy of this administration that must be fixed. Thank you. Mr. Dannels. Thank you, Congressman. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentlelady. The gentleman from Texas, recognize--Sheriff Dannels, when you have to go, you just tell me. Mr. Dannels. We're pushing time here. Chair Jordan. OK. Mr. Dannels. Maybe one more. Chair Jordan. All right. One more. Mr. Dannels. He knows my pain. Chair Jordan. Yes. Mr. Moran. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Judge Samaniego, I want to address my comments to you and some questions to you as well. Until my election to Congress in November 2022, I actually was a Texas county judge as well, serving for six years in East Texas in Smith County. So, I am very familiar with the limitations of your job and the demands of your job, both in terms of manpower and financial resources to meet the needs of your local country just like I had to do for six years in Smith County. One of the things, though, that I can say is even in East Texas, we recognize that there is a real need to support border security and that there is a crisis on the border. So, I am surprised by your comments here today that would indicate that there is nothing wrong and nothing going on, on the border out there. I have been out to the El Paso sector as well. So, I know firsthand that is simply not the case. During my tenure as a county judge, we worked even in East Texas to fight against the cartels doing things like setting up a financial crimes unit that was a statewide unit that is now leading the way against financial crimes that the cartel is using for human trafficking to underwrite their human trafficking and the drug trafficking. We also in conjunction with our neighboring counties and several State, local, and Federal law enforcement agencies set up a TAG unit, a Texas Anti-Gang unit. You guys probably have one in El Paso County as well. hat works against the cartels. So, I really am shocked here today that you would really dismiss the concerns of the right side of the aisle and say there is simply not a problem and not a crisis at all. I want to also address the fact that Judge Carruthers is not here today because being the Terrell County judge, she is a good friend of mine. As county judges, we had lots of conversations about what was going on in Terrell County. I recall those personal discussions way before I even decided to run for Congress of her saying, listen, there is times at night when the sheriff will call me and I am alone in our ranch on that 17,000 acre ranch by myself and he is calling me to say there are a large group of individuals that just crossed the border. You need to be very careful. You are in a very precarious situation. She could not sleep well at night because of that. There is a lot of instances like that where she can recount that. I hope you are not discounting her story about what is going on in Terrell County. Are you at all doing that, sir? Mr. Samaniego. Absolutely. I think you're mixing things. That is, at El Paso is very, very different from those other communities. So, I cannot speak for them. I can speak for El Paso. You've got the largest FBI. You've got the largest law enforcement. You've got a lot of conditions that you don't see. Having crime in El Paso is not--people know that's the worst place that you could go. Mr. Moran. In your capacity as county judge, you are focused on county operations. Mr. Samaniego. Absolutely. Mr. Moran. So, let's talk about that for a moment. Have you guys analyzed from the El Paso County standpoint what is the total cost of having to deal with on the local taxpayers' burdens and their backs issues related to migrants crossing the border illegally? Have you guys analyzed that cost? Mr. Samaniego. Absolutely. Ninty-five percent is paid by FEMA. They're the ones that are assisting. The Federal Government is assisting. Otherwise, we couldn't do it. Mr. Moran. Your sheriff's office I am sure is having to deal with those issues, or are they not? Mr. Samaniego. Well, we have not had increases in jails or migrants or related to migrants in the sheriff's office. It's related to-- Mr. Moran. What percent of your population in your jail are migrants that have come over illegally across the border? Mr. Samaniego. Very small. Very small. Mr. Moran. What would characterize as very small? Mr. Samaniego. I wouldn't want to say something without fully understanding that. I could tell you I ask the sheriff all the time. Has there been an increase because of migrants? We don't face that. Mr. Moran. Has your dispatch operations tracked the number of calls that your sheriff's officers have to go on that deal with illegal immigration? Mr. Samaniego. Our biggest impact, Congressman, has to do with medical, like, people falling trying to get across the wall and hurting themselves and children hurting themselves. One of the things that you keep saying that things have changed. We're not taking into consideration that the world has changed, and there's an increase of a necessity to move into the border. It's apples and oranges. When I talk to every single migrant that I talk to, they're having to experience things that they didn't experience last year, experience two years ago. These are new changes in the world that's creating the increase as well. So, it's not fair to say-- Mr. Moran. I understand. Some things don't change like good fences make good neighbors. That is something I learned as a 12-year-old boy when my next-door neighbor told me I could swim in his swimming pool. Then the next thing I did was I took my friend over there without permission. He said, you know what? That is not what I authorized you to do. He had that right. It is not because he didn't like me. It is because at the end of the day, that is his property. We were good neighbors as a result of ourselves respecting each other's property. Shouldn't we do that-- Mr. Samaniego. Absolutely. I think there's some confusion that we don't want orderly. We don't have that luxury. Mr. Moran. So, then would you support Congressman Roy's bill that would just simply say enforce the laws currently in place? Mr. Samaniego. Well, that's what we do. There's nothing that we do--asylum is legal. The majority of people that come across is through asylum. That's legal. There's nothing I can do about that. [Simultaneous speaking.] Chair Jordan. Thank you, Mr. Moran. Thank you, Sheriff, for your testimony. More importantly, for your work that you do in the law enforcement community and express that same thanks to your deputies as well. Mr. Dannels. Thank you, Chair. Thank you all. Chair Jordan. I now recognize the gentlelady--you bet. I now recognize the gentlelady from Florida, Ms. Lee. Ms. Lee of Florida. Thank you, Sheriff, for being with us here today and to all our witnesses. The testimony that we have heard today makes clear that the crisis and lawlessness at our southern border is endangering every American community. Drug cartels and human traffickers are exploiting our failure to secure the southern border, and their criminal activities are eroding community safety across America. In my community, authorities in Polk County confiscated recently 11 pounds of fentanyl. Following this drug bust, our State's aAttorney General, Ashley Moody, announced that authorities had seized enough fentanyl in the last few months to kill every single Floridian. We have an obligation to take action to protect our communities. We are a Nation of laws. We have an obligation to enforce our laws, to secure our borders, and to keep our community safe. I would like to return, Mr. Dunn, to your testimony and first express my sincere condolences for your loss. As a mother, it is particularly important to me that we always remember that this isn't just a crisis of statistics. This is a tragedy in individual American families that cannot be set right. I would appreciate it, sir, if you would do us the honor of sharing with us a little bit more about your son. What was he like? Mr. Dunn. He was an athlete, played football. He was an honor roll student. He was a friend. He had so many friends. Ms. Lee of Florida. How would you describe the threat of fentanyl poisoning to your son and to other young men and women who are like him across America? Mr. Dunn. It's there. I mean, he was exposed to it by somebody that he considered a friend. He unfortunately didn't survive. He had other friends days later that were poisoned also. Luckily, they were saved. The threat is real. We've met at least 30 or so families personally in the short amount of time that we've been doing what we've been doing. We don't get into what politics each other follows. I don't know the political affiliations of any of them. We don't talk about politics. It's not a political issue. Every single one that I've talked to since, they found out I was coming here, was tell them we have a problem. Ms. Lee of Florida. Could you tell us about your organization, the Forever15Project? Mr. Dunn. We primarily speak to schools. We're really trying to reach the youth in our communities. We do public speaking at schools, churches, any organization that'll have us come out and speak. We've partnered with the Hays County Sheriff's Department. They do a presentation that presents facts and statistics on fentanyl. Then Janel will tell our story to make it relatable to the young people we're talking to. We also do a lot of awareness through billboards. We paid to have a billboard in Hays County. We were fortunate enough to be provided other locations throughout the State of Texas because of the overwhelming response that media company received about our billboard. Just anything we can do to get the word out is what our focus is. Ms. Lee of Florida. Are there changes that you would like to see enacted or things that we can do to help ensure that another tragedy like this doesn't occur? Mr. Dunn. Just stop it from getting here. There's always going to be drugs smuggled in. It's happened forever. In the last couple of years, not just fentanyl but all of narcotics smuggling has increased exponentially. While that in and of itself is bad, fentanyl is far deadlier than any other drug out there. It has a greater ability to kill more Americans than any other drug out there. Ms. Lee of Florida. Thank you, sir. Mr. Chair, I yield the remainder of my time. Chair Jordan. Thank the gentlelady. The Chair recognizes the gentlelady from Texas for unanimous consent request. Ms. Escobar. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I ask unanimous consent, and this is on behalf of Mr. Ivey to submit into the record a letter signed by El Paso's bishop, the Most Reverend Mark Seitz, who is the Chair of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops Committee on migration. It is a letter asking Congress to oppose H.R. 29. Chair Jordan. Without objection, so ordered. The Chair now recognized for our last five minutes of questioning, the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Fry. Mr. Fry. Mr. Chair, thank you for having this hearing today. Thank you to our witnesses that are here. Mr. Dunn, words can't express how sorry I am for your loss. I was in the general assembly in South Carolina up until recently and served as the Chair of the House opioid abuse prevention study committee where we passed 18 bills, a record investment. I will tell you that every hearing that we started and every hearing that we finished, we started with families who were going through exactly what you are going through. So, I know how incredibly tough it is for you. I know how incredibly brave it is for you to be here today to share your story. Mr. Chair, I will tell you it is amazing to me just hearing some of the things that have come out of this Committee that we on this side of the aisle have imaged things that we are engaging in conspiracy theories. We are not imaging the increase in human trafficking on our southern border. We are not imagining the record of amount of fentanyl seizures, fentanyl into this country, fentanyl associated deaths and overdoes that occur every single day. We are not imagining five million people in this country or the 1.2 million got-aways we talked about a little bit, Judge, earlier about the amount of people who were seeking asylum. What is interesting to me just looking at the statistics was that, as was alluded to earlier, 14 percent of those individuals were considered lawful. Now, this was under an Obama Administration and a Trump Administration. So, 14 percent of all people who said that they were seeking asylum were actually legitimate asylum seekers. Of that, a third--according to Biden v. Texas, a third of that absconded into the United States, never appearing for their immigration proceedings again. So, I look at the way in which the other side today has really glossed over the problems that have been exacerbated by this administration. As somebody who has dealt with the opioid epidemic in my State and how I have studied how other States have handled it in Texas and elsewhere, I am incredibly frustrated by an unwillingness to deal with this problem. I did want to ask a few questions of both of you. I will start with you, sir. You have been to--you have obviously seen Texas and other States and you have talked to parents involved. In your opinion, are governments attempting to trying to deal with in good faith the fentanyl epidemic in this country? Mr. Dunn. Honestly, up until Noah's passing, we really didn't hear much about fentanyl. We had started to hear some about it shortly before he passed. Since then, our local sheriff's department has been very proactive. I don't hear a lot on the State level. I know there's stuff--we know about the test strips and whatnot. I haven't heard--I've seen billboard media in the Dallas area. So, I'm sure there are other areas where awareness is being raised. I don't think on a wide scale level the issue is getting much attention. Mr. Fry. We are not getting any attention in your opinion or much attention from the Federal Government to the level it should be? Mr. Dunn. No. Mr. Fry. What would you tell--piggyback on what Ms. Lee was talking about earlier. What would you tell parents and children about the risks associated with fentanyl? Mr. Dunn. Like we tell our five-year-old daughter, don't take anything from anybody. You have to assume that everything is dangerous now. One of the comments, the sheriff that we do speakings with makes, ``is the days of experimentation are over.'' When you were a kid, you could try smoking pot or you could try this, that, or the other. Now, it's fentanyl has been mixed with everything. So, you can't assume anything is safe. If you don't get a prescription from a pharmacy, you can't assume that it's what you're getting. Mr. Fry. Thank you, sir. Judge, really quick. President Biden recently visited the border passing through El Paso. I think there was a comment from you in the press that he didn't get to see the real difficulties. What did you mean by that and what difficulties did he not see on his trip? Mr. Samaniego. Well, I know a lot of people thought that we had something to do--they call it sanitizing. I could tell you that would be crazy on my part for him not to see what really was happening. It just so happened the numbers had come down. We wanted anybody please see what we really go through. So, we were not-- Mr. Fry. What do you think took him so long to visit the border? Mr. Samaniego. I can't tell you. I know that thanks to Congresswomen Escobar, we're really connected through her. She's connected to the Secretary, to the Ambassador. We're constantly communicating through them. So, I have a lot of trust that Congresswomen Escobar is relying the information that he needs. I don't think it's that important that he's not there, but that he supports what we're trying to accomplish and that is the humanitarian component that El Paso has been doing for centuries. Mr. Fry. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I am out of time. I yield back. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman. Judge, just really quick if I could. You said the numbers went down. It just so happened they went down when President Biden visited your city and the Ranking Member's city. Are they back up now? Mr. Samaniego. No, no. We're still pretty low. Chair Jordan. OK, OK. I want to thank everyone. Before we adjourn, we want to inform all Members about a CODEL our Committee will be taking to the border on February 24th. I make the minority aware of that. This hearing has made clear some of the problems that we-- real problems that we see at our border and across our country. So, we want to make sure we can get down to visit that area here later this month. Without objection, all Members will have five legislative days to submit additional written questions for the witnesses for additional materials for the record. Without objection, this hearing is adjourned. [Whereupon, at 3:45 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.] All items submitted for the record by Members of the Committee on the Judiciary can be found at https:// docs.house.gov/Committee/Calendar/ByEvent.aspx?EventID=115264.
- Mr. Brandon DunnCo-Founder, Forever15ProjectWitness Statement [PDF 73KB]Witness Truth in Testimony [PDF 953KB]
- The Honorable Mark DannelsSheriff, Cochise County, AZWitness Biography [PDF 103KB]Witness Statement [PDF 5MB]Witness Truth in Testimony [PDF 113KB]
- The Honorable Ricardo SamaniegoCounty Judge, El Paso, TXWitness Biography [PDF 111KB]Witness Statement [PDF 100KB]Witness Truth in Testimony [PDF 366KB]
- Statement for the Record of Human Rights First, submitted by Ms. Jayapal [PDF 478KB]
- An Article for the Record titled, “El Paso Forced to Bus Immigrants out of Town Amid Mass Migration,” submitted by Mr. Biggs [PDF 36KB]
- An Article for the Record titled, “El Paso Looks Like a ‘Third-World Country' After Texas Border City is Overrun by Migrants,” submitted by Mr. Biggs [PDF 36KB]
- A Statement for the Record from Church World Service, submitted by Ms. Jayapal [PDF 106KB]
- Statement for the Record from National Immigration Law Center, submitted by Ms. Jayapal [PDF 36KB]
- Letter for the Record from U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, submitted by Ms. Escobar on behalf of Rep. Ivey [PDF 109KB]
- An Article for the Record titled, “Over 73,000 ‘Gotaways' at Southern Border in November, Highest Ever Recorded,” submitted by Mr. Buck [PDF 1MB]
- Statement of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, submitted by Ms. Jayapal [PDF 116KB]
- A letter from the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, submitted by Ms. Jayapal [PDF 264KB]
- Statement for the record submitted by Ms. Jackson Lee [PDF 241KB]
- An Article for the Record titled, “El Paso Joins Gov. Abbott in Busing Migrants to New York City,” submitted by Mr. Biggs [PDF 2MB]
- An article for the Record titled, “Rhode Island High School Staff Solicits ‘Donations' to Pay Cartel ‘Coyote' who Brought Students to US,” submitted by Mr. Buck [PDF 2MB]
- A Written Statement of Southern Border Communities Coalition, submitted by Ms. Jayapal [PDF 180KB]
- Statement for the Record from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, submitted by Ms. Jayapal [PDF 338KB]
- Statement for the Record from First Focus Campaign for Children, submitted by Ms. Jayapal [PDF 232KB]
- Statement for the Record by Kids in Need of Defense, submitted by Ms. Jayapal [PDF 171KB]
- Letter for the Record from the Project on Government Oversight, submitted by Ms. Jayapal [PDF 228KB]
- An Article for the Record titled, “Fentanyl Is Smuggled for U.S. Citizens By U.S. Citizens, Not Asylum Seekers” submitted by Mr. Lieu [PDF 569KB]
Transcript: THE BIDEN BORDER CRISIS: PART II
======================================================================= HEARING BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED EIGHTEENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION __________ THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2023 __________ Serial No. 118-4 __________ Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary [GRAPHIC NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] Available via: http://judiciary.house.gov __________ U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 51-491 WASHINGTON : 2023 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY JIM JORDAN, Ohio, Chair DARRELL ISSA, California JERROLD NADLER, New York, Ranking KEN BUCK, Colorado Member MATT GAETZ, Florida ZOE LOFGREN, California MIKE JOHNSON, Louisiana SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas ANDY BIGGS, Arizona STEVE COHEN, Tennessee TOM McCLINTOCK, California HENRY C. ``HANK'' JOHNSON, Jr., TOM TIFFANY, Wisconsin Georgia THOMAS MASSIE, Kentucky ADAM SCHIFF, California CHIP ROY, Texas DAVID N. CICILLINE, Rhode Island DAN BISHOP, North Carolina ERIC SWALWELL, California VICTORIA SPARTZ, Indiana TED LIEU, California SCOTT FITZGERALD, Wisconsin PRAMILA JAYAPAL, Washington CLIFF BENTZ, Oregon J. LUIS CORREA, California BEN CLINE, Virginia MARY GAY SCANLON, Pennsylvania LANCE GOODEN, Texas JOE NEGUSE, Colorado JEFF VAN DREW, New Jersey LUCY McBATH, Georgia TROY NEHLS, Texas MADELEINE DEAN, Pennsylvania BARRY MOORE, Alabama VERONICA ESCOBAR, Texas KEVIN KILEY, California DEBORAH ROSS, North Carolina HARRIET HAGEMAN, Wyoming CORI BUSH, Missouri NATHANIEL MORAN, Texas GLENN IVEY, Maryland LAUREL LEE, Florida WESLEY HUNT, Texas RUSSELL FRY, South Carolina CHRISTOPHER HIXON, Majority Staff Director AMY RUTKIN, Minority Staff Director & Chief of Staff ------ C O N T E N T S ---------- Thursday, February 23, 2023 Page OPENING STATEMENTS The Honorable Jim Jordan, Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary from the State of Ohio......................................... 1 The Honorable Tom McClintock, a Member of the Committee on the Judiciary and Chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement from the State of California..................................................... 3 WITNESSES Dr. Robert Trenschel, President and CEO, Yuma Regional Medical Center Oral Testimony................................................. 6 Prepared Testimony............................................. 9 Leon Wilmot, Sheriff, Yuma County Sheriff's Office Oral Testimony................................................. 11 Prepared Testimony............................................. 14 Jonathan Lines, Yuma County Supervisor, District 2 Oral Testimony................................................. 33 Prepared Testimony............................................. 35 THE BIDEN BORDER CRISIS, PART II ---------- Thursday, February 23, 2023 House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Washington, DC The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 4 p.m., in Yuma City Hall, One City Plaza, Yuma, Arizona, Hon. Jim Jordan [Chair of the Committee] presiding. Present: Representatives Jordan, Gaetz, Biggs, McClintock, Tiffany, Bishop, Spartz, Cline, Van Drew, Nehls, Moore, Kiley, Hageman, and Fry. Also present: Representative Gosar. Chair Jordan. The Committee will come to order. Without objection, the Chair is authorized to declare a recess at any time. We want to welcome everyone to today's hearing on ``The Biden Border Crisis, Part II.'' I'd like to start our proceedings with Mr. Gosar, who's been kind enough to let us come to his great district. Where is Paul? I haven't seen--oh, here comes Mr. Gosar. We'd like to ask Congressman Gosar to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. If you would, if you'd all stand for the pledge. All. I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Thank you. Paul, thank you. First, I want to say thanks to the good folks here in Yuma for hosting us. We've had a wonderful 24 hours. I guess it's been 24 hours, Supervisor, seeing all kinds of interesting things. We want to thank you for your hospitality. To the mayor, thank you for the facility and for all your hospitality as well, and our witnesses who we'll get to you. We talked to doctor earlier today, and, Sheriff, we're glad to have you with us, as well as so many folks from our law enforcement community. It's not easy. It is not easy being in law enforcement today, so we want to thank all of you for what you do. [Applause.] Obviously it's even tougher when we're down here on the border and dealing with what we have. It's a shame that not one Democrat Member of Congress would join us on this trip despite having weeks of advance notice. It's disappointing, but it's not surprising. In fact, the Democrats have called this a stunt. I would argue it's not a stunt, not what we've--my guess is our witnesses wouldn't call it a stunt, what we've learned today from them, what we've seen last night on the border. It's disappointing that they're not here. Democrats dismiss the experiences of these real people that we've had a chance to visit with the last 24 hours, people affected by the Biden border crisis, and Democrats seem to believe that solutions can only come from bureaucrats in Washington. We actually think they come from the American people. [Applause.] If Democrats were here and saw what we're seeing, maybe we'd have a chance at ending this crisis and actually securing our southern border. According to Border Patrol agents, last night, there were over 200 folks who crossed the border last night. We got to see the unfinished wall. Everyone tells us that walls work, walls help. Every agent we've talked to says that's the case, and yet we saw places where it should've been finished but wasn't. This morning we were at the Yuma Regional Medical Center. We heard from Dr. Trenschel and his great staff about the $26 million in uncompensated care that they've had to administer. Now, they're willing to help everybody, and they do, but it would be nice to get actually paid for the great work that they do, and some other concerns that they had, that impact the residents of this wonderful community. Of course we saw the damage--we heard from growers today-- the damage that happens to them, and the crops in the fields, and a host of other issues that we'll get to in the course of our hearing this afternoon. By not being here and seeing firsthand is no excuse for inaction. Numbers don't lie. The January southwest border encounter number was 156,000, 30 percent higher--36 percent higher than the total number of encounters in January 2021 and January 2020 combined. Let me just say that again. The number of encounters this January, last month, were more than a third higher than the last two Januarys of the Trump Administration combined. Yet, a Biden Administration official touted this 156,000 encounter number as the result of, quote, ``a highly effective border security strategy.'' Only in Joe Biden's America is over 5,000 illegal migrants encounter per day on the southwest border a cause to celebrate. Never forget what happened on day 1. Day 1, January 20, 2021, Joe Biden said: We're not going to build the wall anymore, we're not going to keep the Remain in Mexico policy, and we're not going to deport any illegal migrants who come in for an immigration violation. So, think about that. They're not going to--there's no wall to get over, you won't have to wait in Mexico to have your asylum claim evaluated, and you will not get deported, you'll get to go wherever you want. Well, it's no wonder so many migrants want to come to the greatest country ever. That's the situation he had. He's also called on Congress to pass a massive amnesty package. All these reckless actions let people around the world know that our border is open, and the illegal border crossings haven't stopped since that day. Again, numbers don't lie: 4.75 million encounters since Joe Biden's been in office. Nearly a million of those have crossed in just the first four months of Fiscal Year 2023. Over 1.89 million illegal aliens encountered along the southwest border have been released into American communities by the Biden Administration. There was 14,700 pounds of fentanyl were seized by Custom and Border Protection officials during Fiscal Year 2022; 12,500 pounds of fentanyl seized by Customs and Border officials just in the first four months of this fiscal year. Americans are dying as a direct result of President Biden's open border policies. It's a shame that the Democrats did not join us today in Yuma. They would have learned a thing or two. They could've heard from the farmers and landowners and the growers that I talked about earlier. They would've seen how overrun the hospital is with illegal migrants and the cost to our healthcare institution here in Yuma. They would've heard directly from the people here in Yuma who live President Biden's border crisis each and every day. Instead, they've accused us of political grandstanding because we're here trying to hear from real people outside of Washington, DC. Why don't Democrats want to hear from local law enforcement? Why don't Democrats want to talk to hospital administrators? Why can't Democrats be bothered to hear how fentanyl continues to kill tens of thousands of people in communities across this great country. I think the answer--I think we know why. It's because Democrats' open border policies caused this crisis, and rather than choosing to do anything to fix it, they want to call it a stunt and they want to play political games. I want to thank our witnesses for being here today, and I hope we can discuss what Congress can do to help fix this problem. With that, I would like to recognize our Subcommittee Chair--there he is--our Committee on Oversight and Accountability, from the great State of California. Mr. McClintock is recognized. Mr. McClintock. Thank you. Mr. Chair, as you know, the morning of inauguration day 2021, illegal immigration had slowed to a trickle and our borders were finally secure for the first time in decades. The border wall was nearing completion, the Remain in Mexico policy had all but stopped phony asylum claims, and ICE was actually enforcing court-ordered deportations. By the afternoon of that same day, Joe Biden had reversed these successful policies and initiated an unprecedented illegal mass migration on a scale that no civilization in history has ever survived. Since that afternoon, this administration has deliberately admitted into the interior of our country 1.9 million illegal immigrants, 600,000 of whom have not even been given notices to appear in court. While the Border Patrol has been overwhelmed changing diapers and taking names, another 1.2 million known got-aways have entered our country as well. So, that totals 3.1 million illegal immigrants who've been allowed into our country to violate our borders and demand billions of dollars of taxpayer resources that were supposed to be helping Americans. The 3.1 million is a population larger than the entire State of Arkansas, a State that has Seven Congressional Districts. That's just in the last 25 months. The vast proportion of these people are homeless, impoverished, and desperate. Gallup warned us last year that there are 42 million people living in poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean alone who intend to come here now that they can, and they are. There's no question that this policy is deliberate and calculated. For two years, we couldn't get the Democrats to hold a single hearing on this crisis, not one. In the first six weeks of this session, Republicans have held two, and we've come to the border today to ask the people who are at ground zero to tell us of their experiences. Not a single Democrat on this Committee has bothered to show up to listen. If not already affected, every American soon will be, because every community will soon face the practical effects of this collapsed border. We have to ask ourselves; how does it make our schools better to pack classrooms with non-English speaking students? How does it make our hospitals more accessible by flooding emergency rooms with illegals demanding care? How does it strengthen our social safety net by adding millions of impoverished individuals to a system that's already strained to the breaking point? How does it make our children safer with fentanyl flooding our neighborhoods and killing nearly 300 Americans a day? How does it make our communities safer to introduce violent cartels into them and make it all but impossible to deport criminal illegal aliens? How does it help working Americans to undercut them by flooding the labor market with cheap, illegal labor? We are here today to listen to our fellow Americans who live with the full impact of this new and lawless age, one that's rapidly making its way to every town and every neighborhood in the country. On my last trip to Yuma this past fall, I asked rank-and- file Border Patrol officers what laws they needed us to write to do their jobs. To a person, every one of them said the same thing: We don't need new laws, we need to enforce our existing laws. [Applause.] When President Trump faithfully executed those laws, our borders were secure. There's still much that can be done legislatively to assure this never happens again. The law requires every asylum claimant to be detained until their case is adjudicated. We need a Title 42-type mechanism to assure that we have the capacity to enforce this law. Credible fear standards need to be tightened to prevent the admission of anyone who has a criminal record or who has passed through a safe country. Unaccompanied minors need to be returned safely to their own homes immediately. E-Verify should be required to streamline compliance with the law that protects Americans' jobs. The current abuses of parole authority must be stopped. Well, the two parties are far, far apart on this issue, as evidenced by the lack of any interest by the Democrats on this Committee today to even address the crisis or listen to the people who've been directly affected by it. The trust gap is also immense. If this administration refuses to enforce existing laws, why would anyone trust it to enforce future laws? This won't stop us from trying. That's why we're here today. I'm afraid that this is going to get worse until the American people demand that these policies be reversed. History is screaming this warning at us. Countries that cannot or will not enforce their borders simply aren't around very long. We can't and we won't let that become the epitaph of the American Republic. I yield back. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman. Well said. [Applause.] Without objection, all other opening statements will be included in the record. I want to introduce, we have three great witnesses today who are--and I want to introduce them--who are here to give us the facts, to give us the truth, not here to complain. Complaining doesn't solve--what's the old--the great football coach, Lou Holtz, said that, ``stop complaining about your problems, 90 percent of the people don't care, and 10 percent are glad you got them,'' right? That is not what this panel is about. These are folks who want to give us the facts and the truth from here on the ground on the front lines, and we welcome them being here today. Mr. Jonathan Lines has served as District 2 Yuma County Supervisor for two years, a previous Chair of the Republican Party of Arizona. He is now a Member of the Arizona-Mexico Commission, serves as Vice-Chair of the new Water Infrastructure and Finance Authority for Arizona and, of course, as you all know, is a small business owner here in this community. The Honorable Leon Wilmot. Sheriff Wilmot has served in law enforcement in Yuma, Arizona, for 38 years. This is our second hearing, and this is the second hearing where we've had a sheriff from this great State. We had Sheriff Dannels a few weeks ago up in Washington, DC. It's interesting, I think he served 28 or 38. I think you've served 38 years, and currently serving his third term as sheriff of Yuma County. He's a veteran of the United States Marine Corps--thank you for that service too--and serves on the Executive Committee on the National Sheriffs' Association. Of course, our third witness is Dr. Robert Trenschel. He's President and CEO of the Yuma Regional Medical Center where we spent the morning. Amazing facility. He has nearly 20 years of experience in senior management of medical care. Graduated from medical school at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which is dear to my colleague's heart here from the great State of Florida, and was in private practice from 1990-2000. Dr. Trenschel holds a master's degree in public health from Florida International University in Miami, Florida. We want to welcome all three of our witnesses and thank them for appearing here today. As I said earlier, I also want to welcome several Arizona sheriffs. Now, I'm not sure if I got everyone listed, but I'm going to go on my list, and if I didn't get you, I want you to stand up and tell us who you are. I want to make sure I pronounce these. Lu Paz, Lu Paz, did I say that county right? Voice. La Paz. Chair Jordan. La Paz, OK, county sheriff--that's what a Buckeye does when he gets to Arizona. Sheriff William Ponce and Chief Deputy David Gray, are they here? Oh, right there, there we go. Thank you, thank you. Pinal County Sheriff--did I get that one right. Mr. Biggs. Pinal. Chair Jordan. Pinal. You got to help me, Biggs. What the heck. [Applause.] Pinal County, Sheriff Mark Lamb, and Chief Deputy Matthew Thomas, thank you as well. Cochise--I got that one right--Cochise County, Mark Dannels. That's because I had that before. He was there two weeks ago. I know Mark couldn't make it, but he was there in DC. Graham County Sheriff Preston Allred. Excuse me. Yes. [Applause.] Gila--thanks for the help--Gila County Sheriff Adam Shepherd. Thank you, Sheriff. Thank you. Yahopie, wow-- Mr. Biggs. Yavapai. Chair Jordan. Yavapai. I would've never got that one. Sheriff David Rhodes, thank you as well. [Applause.] Navajo--I would've got the last one--Navajo Sheriff David Clouse, thank you as well for being here. God bless you all. [Applause.] We need to--we will begin by swearing in our witnesses. If you'd all stand and raise your right hand, our three witnesses here. Do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you're about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information, and belief, so help you God? Let the record show that each witness answered in the affirmative. We're going to give you five minutes. You guys can be seated. We'll start with Dr. Trenschel, and we'll go right down the line, five minutes, and then the sheriff and then Mr. Lines, and, yes, pass that microphone. I'll give you a little mike tap with the gavel when you get to about 4\1/2\ minutes, but we're going to be--we're among friends here; if you got to go a little longer than 5-5\1/2\ minutes, that'd be fine too. So, Doctor, you're recognized. Thank you again. STATEMENT OF DR. ROBERT TRENSCHEL Dr. Trenschel. Thank you, Chair. Good afternoon, Chair Jordan and Members of the Committee. I'm Dr. Robert Trenschel, President and CEO of Yuma Regional Medical Center. Thank you for being here in person today to get a firsthand account of the impact that open borders have had on our hospital and community over the past year and more. I've been in Yuma for close to eight years as CEO, and I bring over 30 years of experience in healthcare administration. Yuma Regional Medical Center is a 406-bed hospital that offers a full range of acute care services. The closest hospitals that do what we do are located 180 miles away in Phoenix or San Diego. Given our geographic location, our hospital and health system hold a deep responsibility of keeping local families close to home for care whenever possible. For many who live here, traveling out of town for care is simply an unbearable challenge. They depend on us to be here. Our mission to meet the needs of the community is always in the forefront of every decision. I also want to acknowledge the work and heart of our staff at Yuma Regional Medical Center who continue to work and care for patients each and every day. They provide the same high level of care for every patient. We do not treat anyone differently, and we take pride in that. If your mother or grandchild walks through our doors or if a migrant walks through our doors, they will receive the same level of care. We've had a significant increase in the number of migrants crossing the border into our community. Our hospital saw an increase in the number of migrants seeking care beginning late fall, early winter of 2021. They arrive to our hospital emergency room in a multitude of ways. Some patients come to us via Border Patrol, who typically release them from custody upon arrival. Other patients walk in, take taxis, some even come by Uber. As I've said, we're the only acute care hospital in the area, which means diversion to another facility is not an option. We are it. Some migrants come to us with minor ailments, but many come in with significant disease. We've had migrant patients on dialysis, cardiac catheterization, and in need of heart surgery. Many are very sick. They have long-term complications of chronic disease that have not been cared for. Some end up in the ICU for 60 days or more. One of the largest cohorts we have seen are maternity patients who present with little or no prenatal care. These higher risk pregnancies and births result in higher complication rates and longer hospital stays. Due to a lack of prenatal care, many of these babies require a stay in our neonatal intensive care unit, some for a month or more at a time. There are language and cultural concerns with migrant patients. We work through those, but when you consider the volume and associated case management that comes with it, resources have to support this as well. Migrants often require three times the amount of human resources to resolve their cases and provide them with a safe discharge as defined by CMS. That effort includes assisting in locating families, making sure they have a safe place to go when they are discharged, arranging, and sometimes purchasing durable medical equipment when needed. We have paid for emergency air transport when they need a higher level of care, hotel rooms, taxis, and car seats. We do all these things because it's the right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective, but it also allows us to open up a hospital bed sooner for another patient in our community. None of these expenses are included in the $26 million figure. Our reality is this: We have delivered over $26 million in uncompensated care to these individuals in the 12-month period from December 2021-November 2022. That's an auditable figure. Let me assure you this is not an approximation. That number comes from a detailed review of unpaid patient bills directly attributed to migrant patients. The $26 million in uncompensated care is simply not a sustainable business model. While this is a huge number that we have validated, the point is that any number is not acceptable. It is an unsustainable model to have a hospital like ours bear the entire burden of paying for migrant healthcare. No business or service can survive ongoing, large-scale expenses without any offsetting revenue. Because of this surge in migrant care, we've had to hire additional staff at a time when healthcare labor post-pandemic is higher than ever. Every dollar in uncompensated care has a direct impact on our hospital. Migrant patients are receiving free care. They have no ability to pay. We have no ability to bill anyone. We don't know their final destination. We don't know anything about them. We cannot provide completely free care to the residents of our community, so the situation is simply not fair and understandably concerning to them. Let me put this into perspective. The $26 million is equal to the salary and benefits to support 212 bedside nurses. The city of Yuma has 100,000 people, and we've had over 300,000 people cross the border here. That's three times the population of Yuma coming across the border. We're the only hospital within a three-hour radius, which means they come here. We've contacted our State and Federal leaders, and no one has a solution. They are willing to listen and are empathetic to our situation, but so far, we have no solutions or reimbursement for the care. We've been at this for well over a year now. On behalf of our entire healthcare team, I'm here seeking your leadership support to find a payer source for the care we have already provided and will continue to provide in the future, and to put long-term solutions into action that will support our daily commitment to be here for our community for years to come. One hospital should not and cannot bear the healthcare costs of a national migrant problem that is deeply impacting Arizona and our community. We need a revenue source for the patient population so we can sustainably provide high-quality care to all comers and remain viable for the future. [The prepared statement of Dr. Trenschel follows:] [GRAPHICS NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] Chair Jordan. Thank you, Doctor. We appreciate your being with us and your testimony. Sheriff, you're recognized for five minutes. Yes, pull that nice and close, and everyone in the room will be able to hear you. STATEMENT OF SHERIFF LEON WILMOT Sheriff Wilmot. Good afternoon, Mr. Chair Jim Jordan and distinguished Members of this Committee. I appreciate the opportunity to address this Committee regarding the status of our southern border from the perspective of our community and local law enforcement. I've served our border community for over 38 years with the Yuma County Sheriff's Office, and prior to that as a member of our military, serving in the United States Marine Corps, stationed here at MCAS Yuma, located within Yuma County. I've always been a genuine believer in my oath of office, to protect my country and now Yuma County as a duly elected sheriff for the past 11 years. I'm an active member of the Arizona Sheriffs' Association, currently serve as an Executive Committee Member for National Sheriffs. I'm a board member and past Chair of National Sheriffs' Association Border Security Committee, Executive Board Member at Western States Sheriffs' Association, and an active member and past Chair of the Southwestern Border Sheriff's Coalition. All these associations share three objectives: Public safety, national security, and addressing humanitarian issues in our communities. In my submitted brief, I have shared with you all an overview of Yuma County and the history of our border. I have personally experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a border county. Unfortunately, my office has always had to deal with border- related crimes, death investigations, and the smuggling of illicit drugs, humans, weapons, and cash by our transnational organizations--the cartels. I am proud of our relationship with our Federal, State, and local law enforcement partners that serve our communities. I do want to take this opportunity to thank our Customs and Border Patrol officers and agents who have worked tirelessly and diligently to protect this great Nation. I also want to thank all my fellow sheriffs that stand united for the rule of law and the protection of their communities. Finally, I want to thank my constituents for their patience and support in a time of crisis and disarray. To best understand my presentation, you need to understand where we were two years ago. My county was one of the safest border communities and counties based on our collective governmental efforts, messaging, and yes, delivering a hundred percent consequence delivery and enforcement efforts against the criminal element supported by the rule of law. Apprehensions by Border Patrol were an average of roughly 40 a day. When the policies of this administration changed, our Federal agents immediately averaged 200 a day, then 400 a day, to over a thousand a day in apprehensions along the river corridor. Chair Jordan. Wow, wow. Sheriff Wilmot. The citizens of Yuma County and law enforcement face a huge migrant crisis along the river corridor. Last Federal fiscal year, you've heard, there were 310,000 give-ups. So far, this Federal fiscal year, we are currently at 93,000 in Yuma County. We had 28,000 known got-aways last Federal Fiscal Year in the east part of our county alone, and so far, 5,000 this Federal fiscal year. Yuma County is an agricultural community, supplying 90 percent of the winter leafy greens to the whole of the United States during the winter season. Because of the proximity of the fields to the river corridor, it's visually an environmental disaster on the river area ecosystem with the tons of trash, pharmaceuticals, and biological waste being left by those crossing the river illegally. Yuma County Emergency Management alone has had to budget general fund dollars to lease Porta-Johns to put down by the river corridor to prevent the defecation in the fields. The price tag for migrants being illegally smuggled by the cartels begins at roughly $6,000 per person and up to $15,000, depending on what country they're coming from. These smugglers include juveniles being recruited, via social media, by the cartels to smuggle not only humans and narcotics into Yuma County, but children are also the pawns on the cartel's money- making schemes. Roughly 400-800 juveniles cross our border every day to go to school in Yuma County. The cartels use them to body conceal and carry narcotics across and tell them that the Federal Government will not charge a juvenile for smuggling, so you don't have to worry about being arrested. Border-related bookings of undocumented immigrants committing State crimes in Yuma County has cost us, in Federal Fiscal Year 2021, $440,000, and last fiscal year, over $300,000. These charges included sexual exploitation of minors, narcotics, assaults, kidnappings, burglary, and theft cases, and of recent, we have one smuggler that was caught and is being charged by our agency for committing murder on another individual he was smuggling into this country. All of this is borne on our local taxpayers' dollar. Our Federal partners across the southwest border made 40,000 arrests of individuals with criminal convictions or individuals that were apprehended and wanted by local law enforcement. In 2021, over five million dosages of fentanyl were seized on the Arizona border. In 2022, over 12,000 pounds of fentanyl was seized on the southwest border. From a local's perspective, there were 50 overdose deaths between 2021 and 2022 in Yuma County. We've also had to encounter 700-plus deaths in the desert along the southwest border as a whole. In 2021, our agency investigated 30 of those. In 2022, we investigated 70 deaths just in Yuma County's desert. In 2021, 1,821 encounters by my officers with individuals that were smuggled into Yuma. In 2022, my officers encountered over 4,600 who were being smuggled into the United States into our county. We've had to handle over 750 911 calls through our dispatch center, on and above the ones that Border Patrol gets, from migrants wanting to be rescued out in the remote deserts of our county. In 2021, I authorized an effort to identify and combat the influx of illegal moneys into Yuma County. The ensuring effort resulted in the discovery of the use of local banking institutions to move moneys from the United States into Mexico. In the four-month period of September 2021-January 2022, two people and one business moved over $600,000 from U.S. banks into Mexico. In a two-month period between April and June 2021, one business moved over 300,000 alone. As the initiative has expanded and matured in 2022, three people were discovered to have moved about 1.6 million in a 10- month period, in addition to another estimated 950,000 from other accounts in a four-month period, for an estimated total of over 2.5 million. Our initiative continues in the latter part of 2022. Eleven individuals were identified in Yuma County as moving roughly over $3 million between the U.S. and Mexico in a three-month period, and one company was identified as moving 1.9 million in a 90-day period. Chair Jordan. Wow. Sheriff, if you can, we got your written testimony, so on that, maybe just, if you could just finish up, and then we'll--we got your written testimony, it's been given out to every member, and then we can get to Supervisor Lines. Go ahead and finish up if you can. Sheriff Wilmot. Absolutely. I will cut mine short and I will leave you with this final statement. We all serve the priorities of Americans based on our shared oaths of office to keep them safe, enhance their quality of life, and support the rule of law, absent political affiliation or the concern of reelection. I ask each and every one of you today to reflect on this statement as you serve those that placed you into the office of trust. Once again, I thank this Committee for the invitation and the opportunity to provide testimony. [The prepared statement of Sheriff Wilmot follows:] [GRAPHICS NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] Chair Jordan. Sheriff, thank you. Very interesting numbers. The financial dealings that you've uncovered too, the stuff going on there is something new that we--I don't know that the Committee had seen much of before. Thank you so much. Supervisor Lines, thank you. You're recognized for five minutes. STATEMENT OF MR. JONATHAN LINES Mr. Lines. Chair Jordan, Members of the Congressional Judiciary Committee, thank you for being here. For many of you--Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Biggs, and my Congressman Mr. Gosar-- they've been here multiple times, as well as Mr. McClintock. So, thank you for taking a personal interest in some of the challenges that we have here along our border. For many of the freshmen that just came into office, congratulations, and hopefully you can come back to discuss other things like great weather. Except for yesterday, we noted. I'd like to welcome you to the most patriotic community in Arizona as declared by Insurify. I serve my community in many different capacities: As a county supervisor and sitting on boards like the Yuma Community Food Bank, Amberly's Place, and through service organizations. Yuma has been my family's home since the 1930's, and Arizona, our State, since the 1870's, prior to statehood. Here's where we choose to carve out an existence in the desert. I am sad to be before you today to discuss the failures of the Biden Administration on the southwest border in the Yuma Sector. Since the first days of this administration, we have seen a significant deterioration in border security, despite the massive efforts from the men and women who have been working tirelessly to secure the border to safeguard our national security. Since President Biden took office, we saw a huge surge, a record number of people crossing illegally from 106 different countries. Seventeen of those countries are designated as special interests because of the negative relationship with the United States and a desire to do harm, and that has steadily continued these many months. Along with illegal entry into the United States across an open border, the increase in trafficking of narcotics, both human trafficking and drug trafficking, remain at an all-time high, significantly greater than any other administration in our history. In addition to the known give-ups, we are extremely concerned about the backgrounds and intentions of the got- aways, the 1.2 million as noted, those who evade law enforcement, enter the United States illegally, who are not willing to give themselves into the custody of Border Patrol for processing. These are estimated to exceed the 1.2 million since Biden took office. I've had many opportunities to visit with the border from elected officials from all over the United States, and the message they have shared with me is that this is not just a Yuma, Arizona, problem, but that illegal entry, human trafficking, and narcotics, especially fentanyl and methamphetamines, has now compounded and pervaded across the United States to affect every community across our Nation, now making them too into border communities. These leaders stood with us in asking the President to fulfill his commitment through Secretary Mayorkas at his visit last year, who had pledged to Mayor Nicholls and myself, to close the Yuma gaps in the border wall and provide financial support, safety and security for the men and women who are on the front lines battling a very porous border, which support has yet to materialize from the Executive Branch. Today you'll have the opportunity, as you have, to hear testimony--and I thought I was going to go first, so I have to change this a little bit. You've heard their testimony, and now you'll have the opportunity to ask them questions. Last week, we learned that the average number of people who entered illegally across the Yuma Sector is now percolating up at 2,500 a week. Prior to, that number was 5,000-6,000 per week. Yet, at the same time, fentanyl, methamphetamines, and cocaine seizures were up between 200 and 400 percent because the men and women in uniform were able to direct their attention and efforts to border security, national security. Fentanyl is the scourge of our Nation. It's being shipped from Mexico--to Mexico from China. In conjunction with the cartels, it is being marketed and sold to children through social media apps. These stories are tragic when parents talk about the loss of life of their sons and daughters due to fentanyl and opioids. My hope today through this hearing is that we can shed light on the challenge we face as a small community, as well as to remind the Nation, like many elected officials have done after coming to see for themselves, that every community in the United States is now a border community due to an abject failure by this administration to control and stem the tide of illegal entry along the southwest border and to commit to take back control of the border from the cartels. Mr. Chair, thank you. [The prepared statement of Mr. Lines follows:] [GRAPHICS NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] Chair Jordan. Thank you, Supervisor. Now, I want to go to one of the experts in the U.S. Congress on this issue and done so much to bring its attention to colleagues in the Congress and folks around the country. The gentleman from Arizona, Congressman Biggs, is recognized for five minutes of questions. Mr. Biggs. I thank the Chair. I appreciate being here in Yuma, where it's always a very hospitable group of people that greet us, and I'm grateful for that. It's reflective of the unity of this community and how great you are. We just heard from three great witnesses, and I also tip my hat today to the officers and agents of CBP and law enforcement. We recognize the challenges that you have. I'm going to try to first undercut a narrative that our colleagues across the aisle raise, and they tell you that 90 percent of fentanyl is seized at the border--at the port of entry, right, port of entry, as if there's not a massive amount of fentanyl and other drugs coming between the ports of entry. So, I'm going to ask the panel: Why do you suppose that we are more successful at interdicting drug smuggling at a port of entry that has, I don't know, dogs, X-ray machines, material, and more agents, than we would be between ports of entry? Mr. Lines, you look like you're just chomping at the bit to answer that question. Mr. Lines. No, the sheriff winked at me and told me to go. Mr. Biggs. Very good. Please. Mr. Lines. Mr. Biggs, Congressman Biggs, thank you for the opportunity. We learned last week, and this number we made public toward the end of the month, but the narrative of 90 percent coming through the ports has been changed a little bit in that because of the downturn over the January timeframe, 48 percent of the fentanyl was being intercepted between the ports and 52 percent at the ports. To combat that narrative, Border Patrol has now had the opportunity, because they're not spending 1.5, 1.7 hours processing each individual, and so they are now on the border being able to provide national security and border security. Mr. Biggs. Sheriff, do you want to add on that? Sheriff Wilmot. I would just confirm what Jonathan Lines just said. Mr. Biggs. Thank you. Sheriff Wilmot. With our agents being able to get back out in the field, it's helped us intercept that. Mr. Biggs. Thank you. Sheriff, I'm going to ask you a question. You mentioned juvenile drug smuggling, juveniles being used and exploited to smuggle drugs coming across, who have legal purpose to enter the country--or legal authority to enter the country through the port of entry. Please tell us about that. Sheriff Wilmot. That is correct. When we speak with our port of entry personnel, they are the ones that typically are the screeners when juveniles come across from Mexico to go to school each and every day. The cartels exploit them by asking them to carry fentanyl and other narcotics across the border when they're walking into the United States. These individuals are then apprehended by port of entry personnel, who then get ahold of DEA or the local narcotics task force, and then they end up getting charged as an adult because of the amount of narcotics that they have in their possession. Mr. Biggs. Thank you. I'm going to make a quick statement and then try to get time to get to Dr. Trenschel to ask him a question too. There's just so much. This is an incredibly broad topic. The violation of laws of this administration, I'm going to point out four quick things. They've changed the parole--they haven't changed it. They are violating the parole of the law-- the parole law. The parole authority typically would be a case- by-case basis, 12-20 people a year, per year, until the Biden Administration came in. Last year, more than 300,000 people received parole, and there's a promise of 360,000 more people this year from four different countries: Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. That's one violation. The second is the no deport. One of you mentioned the no deportation law. More than 1.2 million individuals have received due process and an order of removal because their asylum claim was bogus--found to be bogus by a court. This administration has forbidden ICE to pursue, look, and deport. The third thing is the violation of the first safe nation international law. That's another reference to the Remain in Mexico policy. If you had the First Safe Nation Law and you enforced the First Safe Nation Law, which we did under the Remain in Mexico policy, Yuma Sector, the last year of the Trump Administration had fewer than 9,000 encounters. Last year, well over 300,000 encounters. That's the third thing. So, I will just leave it there, so I can ask Dr. Trenschel this last question, because you said something that I think every American needs to hear. You are actually expending hospital funds--community hospital funds--to actually move people to family members or elsewhere around the country. There are many that you are sending, that you don't even know their destination. Please expand on that and tell us what that looks like. Dr. Trenschel. Sure. So, when a patient comes into the hospital, we have to provide them with a safe discharge, per CMS, and we do that. So, a lot of that includes tracking down their family members. We've had to fly them to their families. We've had to air ambulance individuals for higher levels of care. We've just had to--durable medical equipment, wheelchairs, walkers, all these other items that we have to provide for patients for a safe discharge. Mr. Biggs. you're not being compensated by the Federal Government or anyone else, and these individuals are not those that have been brought for medical treatment by CBP through some kind of legal mechanism. Dr. Trenschel. Correct. Some individuals may have walked in, declared themselves a migrant and we treat those. They could've have come in by taxi. They could've come in by any means, yes. Mr. Biggs. Thank you. Mr. Chair, thank you so much. I yield back. Chair Jordan. Thanks for all your good work. The Chair of the Subcommittee on Immigration, the gentleman from California, is recognized for five minutes. Mr. McClintock. Well, thank you, Mr. Chair. Dr. Trenschel, you said that your hospital has incurred $26 million in uncompensated care over the past year. Obviously that money doesn't come from nowhere. It comes out of what you'd otherwise be spending. So, does this mean that there's $26 million less equipment for your patients, $26 million less staff to care for them? Dr. Trenschel. It does. That extra revenue that we would've brought in would've gone back into the community, and we do that as a nonprofit. So, it would've been either to purchase equipment, have additional access ports for patients here, bring in additional physicians. It would've been used for the benefit of our community for sure. Mr. McClintock. Now, you say you serve all patients equally, but it is a zero-sum equation, isn't it? A bed that's taken by one person is not going to be available for another. An hour of a doctor's time on one person is not going to be available to care for another. So, if your emergency room, for example, is packed with illegal immigrants, doesn't that mean, just as a simple, mathematical equation, that legal residents must wait exactly that much longer for care? Dr. Trenschel. Yes, it does. That's very true. We've had that experience in our emergency room. We've had that experience with patients who've had to delay elective surgery because other urgent migrant patients have come in who needed emergent surgery. We've had to delay maternity patients with planned inductions, because we've simply been out of space in our maternity unit with migrant patients who've had deliveries. Many of them just coming in at the same time for deliveries. Mr. McClintock. Now, of course, virtually all these migrants don't stay here. Where do they go? Dr. Trenschel. We don't know where they go. Some may go to Florida. Other--they really go everywhere. We don't know. Mr. McClintock. So, this is going to be impacting every hospital in the country? Dr. Trenschel. Yes, yes. Mr. McClintock. Sheriff Wilmot, are Mexican cartels operating in Yuma County today? Sheriff Wilmot. There is a cartel influence in Yuma County between--we have two States in Mexico that border Yuma County. We have the Baja California, which is the Sinaloa cartel in Sonora. Mr. McClintock. What are they doing on this side of the border? What are the cartels doing on this side of the border? Sheriff Wilmot. Well, they're the ones that are orchestrating the smuggling of narcotics and the humans toward the east part of the county. Mr. McClintock. What are your greatest concerns for public safety from their activity here? Sheriff Wilmot. Well, obviously, first concern is the loss of life and the impact on our local communities. It's also the fact that when we have that many get-aways, and we know how many countries have actually come through Yuma County, those also being special interest countries, what is this country going to expect to happen of these unknown individuals coming into the United States? Where are they going, and what is their intentions? Mr. McClintock. Could we expect to see the kind of violent cartel gun battles in our cities that we're now seeing in Mexico? Sheriff Wilmot. We have seen victims of that come into our county as well as other counties along the U.S.-Mexico border. We have not-- Mr. McClintock. Is it just a matter of time before we see the same things here? Sheriff Wilmot. I believe they've already seen it in other States as of late. Mr. McClintock. We saw it in Tulare County in California just a few weeks ago. Sheriff Wilmot. Yes. Mr. McClintock. What is your warning to other communities from what you've experienced here? Sheriff Wilmot. We've been trying to warn other communities for the past couple years in regard to the activities that we're seeing here. It's not staying in the border, it's going across the Nation, and I don't think you'll find a sheriff now throughout the United States that doesn't say that they're actually now a border county because of what the impacts they have had in their communities. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman. I now yield to the gentleman from Florida, my friend, Mr. Gaetz. Mr. Gaetz. Mr. Chair, I observe that the people of Yuma are good folks, and they deserve a lot better from the Federal Government than they have been getting, and whether or not they'll get it depends heavily on the House of Representatives, and particularly this group and whether or not we will fight for them. We don't have a single Democrat that we could even convince to come to this briefing to get evidence from these experts. You think we're going to get President Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer to pass legislation without a fight, without demanding that it go in must-pass bills? We have to use every bit of leverage, or this is a deeply unserious exercise. Now, Dr. Trenschel, about 1 in 4 of the migrants who use birthing services at your hospital need neonatal intensive care unit services, NICU, right? Dr. Trenschel. That is true, yes. Mr. Gaetz. That rate, 1 in 4, is way higher than with the nonmigrant population, right? Dr. Trenschel. Very much higher, correct. Mr. Gaetz. You got about 20 beds at any given time? Dr. Trenschel. Correct. Mr. Gaetz. They fill up sometimes, don't they? Dr. Trenschel. Yes, they do. Mr. Gaetz. So, when you have those beds that are full up because of the pressure of these migrant communities, where do you have to send the residents of Yuma when they have a baby that needs NICU? Dr. Trenschel. We would have to fly them to Phoenix or another venue. Mr. Gaetz. That's 170 miles away? Dr. Trenschel. Yes, it is. Mr. Gaetz. There are few prayers that I have ever seen more sincere and deeper than the prayers of parents when their little babies are at the NICU. For all the folks on the left who want to lecture to us about how humane an open border is, there is nothing humane about putting a parent on a 170-mile journey when they need NICU services. Supervisor Lines, we hear Secretary Mayorkas come to us all the time on the Judiciary Committee and testify that the most important partnerships above all else for the Department of Homeland Security are the partnerships with local officials. We hear it time and again. So here is my simple question for you. Has Secretary Mayorkas ever lied to you? Mr. Lines. Yes. Mr. Gaetz. What was the substance of that lie? Mr. Lines. So, the mayor and I had the opportunity to visit with Secretary Mayorkas, and the Yuma Sector Chief, as well as the chief of the entire Border Patrol at sector headquarters almost a year ago. During that meeting, he committed to, after reviewing the border, both from the ground and the air, to specifically address, quote, ``9 of the 11 Yuma gaps,'' unquote. Mr. Gaetz. How many of those gaps have been addressed? Mr. Lines. To date so far, none. We see infrastructure on two, and yet they will not deter anyone. Mr. Gaetz. This is my fourth time here with you. Mr. Lines. Yes, sir. Mr. Gaetz. I think if I come any more often, I'm going to be eligible to vote in Yuma County. Mr. Lines. Thank you for coming back, Matt. District 2 is great. Mr. Gaetz. It seems as though it's not a great mystery where the pressure points are, where we have gaps in the wall, and where we have recalcitrant tribes. So, in those circumstances, should we observe that this is a lack of capability or a lack of will to go and plug those holes? Mr. Lines. A lack of will. We've followed up multiple times, as well as Yuma Sector Border Patrol staff and--with Under Secretaries, and we were told time and time again that they were issuing contracts, that we would have it no later than June of last year, then no later than September, then no later than November. Every time it kept getting pushed out while-- Mr. Gaetz. So, would a reasonable person observe that this is on purpose? Mr. Lines. My wife says I'm not a very patient person, but I was patient every time that I called, and they continued to push this process out. It's not reasonable. Mr. Gaetz. Well, the American people are losing their patience, we ought to be losing ours, and while we greatly appreciate the three of you being here to answer our questions, the day will come soon when Secretary Mayorkas has to come and answer our questions. To my colleagues, if he'll lie to Mr. Lines and lie to the community here, then he will lie to us, and he will lie to the American people, and that's why I'm very proud to cosponsor Representative Biggs' Articles of Impeachment against Secretary Mayorkas, because this is not a lack of ability, it is a lack of will. [Applause.] Mr. Lines, I'll give you the last word. Mr. Lines. Mr. Gaetz, thank you very much. To what Mr. McClintock was saying as far as the cartel violence, over the last 14 months, the sheriff and I have been made aware of over 200 assassinations in San Luis Rio Colorado, where the cartels are targeting law enforcement. This last weekend we had another officer shot and then retribution the following night. So, when you talk about that violence, it's here at our border. They are in control, and we want to take our control-- our border control back, and we need an administration that has the will to secure our borders. That's what we're asking you to do. I thank you very much for being here. Mr. Gaetz. Mr. Chair, my time's expired. I yield back. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman from Florida. I now recognize the gentleman from Wisconsin, Mr. Tiffany. Mr. Tiffany. Thank you very much. Let me followup on that. Sheriff, do you believe the U.S. Government has control of the border here with Mexico? Sheriff Wilmot. I believe that we are trained, and our Border Patrol partners are trying very hard, but the cartels are the ones that are creating the narrative and controlling the activities all along the 2,000 miles of international boundary. Mr. Tiffany. Do you have the ability to identify migrants who are inadmissible to the United States for criminal reasons or prior deportations? Sheriff Wilmot. We do not have access to that. Mr. Tiffany. Is ICE or CBP actively assisting you in processing the migrants, in your charge? Sheriff Wilmot. In the law enforcement aspect, we work with them quite a bit in regard to those that are in my jail. As far as the immigration side, that is something that is not in our wheelhouse. I can tell you that, because of their constraints, that I've actually cross-deputized our Federal partners in the different entities to be able to seek State charges against individuals that the U.S. attorney would not charge for crimes. Mr. Tiffany. Have you had--say that last part again, the United States attorney. Sheriff Wilmot. The part in regard to the United States Attorney not wanting to charge an individual for a crime, then I've cross-deputized them so they can take that case to a county attorney to get prosecution. Mr. Tiffany. Have you had any detainers issued by ICE for migrants in your facilities? Sheriff Wilmot. Yes, I have. Mr. Tiffany. As a result of the illegal migration coming across our border, are they harming the environment? Sheriff Wilmot. Absolutely. The vast amount of trash, pharmaceuticals, garbage, clothing that's being dumped along our river corridor has been astronomical, and the impacts for our farmers in their fields as well. Mr. Tiffany. When we had a hearing just a couple weeks ago, we had a Judge Samaniego, from I believe El Paso, and Sheriff Dannels on the panel. They had very divergent statements to say in regard to fentanyl, that the reason for fentanyl--the expansion of its use in our country and the devastating consequences was not because of the border being open. That was the case being made by Judge Samaniego. Sheriff Dannels said that it is a result of the borders being opened over the last couple years that fentanyl use and its migration into the United States has gone up exponentially. Who's correct? Sheriff Wilmot. I would tend to support Sheriff Dannels' statement in regard to that. I would agree with his statement as well. Mr. Tiffany. So, you've seen--are you saying you have seen the same thing as Sheriff Dannels in Cochise County? Sheriff Wilmot. We have seen the same type of activity where individuals were recruited to come and pick up individuals that entered this country illegally between a port of entry and come to pick them up because it's a money-making adventure. They've also been found to be in possession of narcotics too at the same time. Mr. Tiffany. Has Secretary Mayorkas secured the border? Sheriff Wilmot. No. Mr. Tiffany. I just have one further question and then a final statement, Mr. Chair. Do any--to Dr. Trenschel--do any of the NGO's out there, nongovernmental organizations, have they compensated you for any of the uncompensated care that you're providing for migrants? Dr. Trenschel. No, they have not. We've not received any compensation from anyone. Mr. Tiffany. Thank you. I'm just going to close with this. You know, folks, set aside--we've had the most number of people that are on the terror watch come across our border in the last couple years, in the history of the United States of America. You can set aside the human trafficking. You have the largest--your U.S. Government, via the Biden Administration, is running perhaps the largest human trafficking--or complicit in perhaps the greatest, biggest human trafficking operation in the history of the world, along with the cartels, along with the International Organization of Migration, a United Nations outfit, and others. Set those things aside. Just fentanyl alone should be a national emergency in America, and I can't believe we do not have colleagues on the other side of the aisle that are not here today, and even if they're not here today, that are not calling for the same thing that we're calling for: At a minimum, secure the border to stop the fentanyl, or at least reduce the amount of fentanyl coming into America that has made every State, including my State of Wisconsin, a border State. I yield back, Mr. Chair. [Applause.] Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman. I now recognize the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Bishop, for five minutes. Mr. Bishop. Thank you, Mr. Chair. That does it. I sit up here and I wonder what you must be thinking, who are here, kind enough to spend your time watching us today, and you must be troubled that only one of the major parties is here. You must be discouraged as you ponder what it would take for the Federal Government to fix this problem. I appreciate your hospitality and your interest, and I love everything I've seen about Yuma. How many fentanyl deaths in Yuma this year, Supervisor Lines, in the past year? Mr. Lines. Mr. Bishop, I was just able to submit data that I acquired from the hospital. That number continues to increase. The average nationwide is 1 in 100,000, and yet we've had 16 fatalities directly attributable to fentanyl, so more than 16 times the national average. Mr. Bishop. How many ODs? Mr. Lines. Sixteen--well, there were 117 overdoses, and 16 of those were fatal. Mr. Bishop. Sixteen deaths, right? So, you're way above the national average in that key thing. You made a point earlier that about--this was very interesting, because a lot of our colleagues in Washington say over and over and over again that the uncontrolled immigration between ports of entry really doesn't contribute to the illicit drugs because they come through the ports of entry. You've touched on that already. You've said your data that Border Patrol has furnished to you is that about half--about half--I hope everybody's listening in Washington--about half of the seizures are occurring between ports of entry. Mr. Lines. Yes, sir. Mr. Bishop. It means it is coming from this uncontrolled problem. Yet, we have colleagues that--Katie Porter said at a hearing, she's a Democrat from California, she said last week at a hearing: We had a change in President in 2020 and some changes in border policy, and what we can see here is that the facts show we are seizing a lot more fentanyl, and for me, as a mom, that is a sign of success. I don't even know what to say about that. Border Chief Raul Ortiz said a couple of weeks ago--put a tweet out that said that Yuma--let's see ``so far, in Fiscal Year 2023, we have seized over 476 pounds of fentanyl between ports of entry along our southwest border.'' That's enough to kill 100 million people. I'd say that's a problem even that Washington should be able to recognize. I want to use my remaining time--Supervisor Lines, I hope you won't be offended. I was taken with a moment of conversation between you and me at the lunch before we came in here. I hope you won't mind my sharing it with the Committee and with those attending, because for me it connects to the issue that we are grappling with. As extraordinary as your story is, I would say that--and I don't articulate it to single you out but to recognize that the law enforcement officers who are sitting next to and behind you and the healthcare professionals, like Dr. Trenschel, and the men and women attending this, there are hundreds of lives who likewise have fulfilled and even exceeded their potential to contribute to building and sustaining a culture that has proved the most successful in the history of mankind for the flourishing of human beings. Everyone wants his family--his or her family and children to thrive. I submit that what we're talking about is not really a question of the stresses on the safety net--the provision of food for the people who can't provide if for themselves, the provision of medical care, the jail, the detention services, keeping the community safe--this is about how we maintain and protect a culture that has been the most successful in the world. That is what is at stake too. You and your wife have 11 children, and with three remaining at home, your wife has undertaken developing subdivisions. Mr. Lines. Yes, she has. Mr. Bishop. You have four grandchildren. Your children are hardworking and productive, and yet you've made time not only to serve in office but as a charitable leader, particularly as Chair of the Food Bank, et cetera. So, you've not only reckoned with the task of--the awesome task of figuring out how to provide for 11 children, but you've produced and served in a way to demonstrate just how constructive and productive human lives can be. [Applause.] Mr. Bishop. So, I'm grateful to you for having us here, for your hospitality in this great community, to show me that yet again, and to remind all of us that we must act. We must act. The first thing we must do--I'm going to finish this way, because I think everybody's got a responsibility to say: What are we going to do? Matt Gaetz summarized it correctly, that it is a question of will. The first thing to preserve this culture we must do is we must restore order. The best vehicle at hand--Chip Roy of Texas is not here today, can't be here today, but his H.R. 29, which says to the Secretary of Homeland Security: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, with respect to every migrant that you encounter, you must detain or turn away. You cannot just release them into the country, you cannot continue doing this to all our support services, our safety net on which our culture depends, you cannot do this to our culture, or we will surely face, not only what you just--the shocking information you just mentioned, Supervisor Lines, about the assassinations. I haven't heard that story, I'm afraid to say. [Applause.] Mr. Bishop. So, I'm grateful to you for having us here, for your hospitality in this great community, to show me that yet again, and to remind all of us that we must act. We must act. The first thing we must do--I'm going to finish this way, because I think everybody's got a responsibility to say: What are we going to do? Matt Gaetz summarized it correctly, that it is a question of will. The first thing to preserve this culture we must do is we must restore order. The best vehicle at hand--Chip Roy of Texas is not here today, can't be here today, but his H.R. 29, which says to the Secretary of Homeland Security: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, with respect to every migrant that you encounter, you must detain or turn away. You cannot just release them into the country, you cannot continue doing this to all our support services, our safety net on which our culture depends, you cannot do this to our culture, or we will surely face, not only what you just--the shocking information you just mentioned, Supervisor Lines, about the assassinations. I haven't heard that story, I'm afraid to say. There was this--on January 5th of this year, I think it's Culiacan, Mexico, there was a warfare, there was a war between the Sinaloa Cartel and the Mexican Army with helicopter gunships firing against people on the ground and burning cars, blocking the entrances to the town so that the people were cowered in their homes. That will occur in the United States of America if we do not get control of this problem. It sits squarely as the responsibility of the Federal Government, and we must have the will to act. Mr. Chair, I yield back. [Applause.] Chair Jordan. Well done. Well done. Thank you. The gentlelady from Indiana is recognized for five minutes. Ms. Spartz. Ms. Spartz. Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's my pleasure being here today. I can tell you one thing: That the great State of Indiana will stand with the great State of Arizona to protect your border, I can assure you. [Applause.] People do care, because it's not an issue of one State, it's a national security issue. Unfortunately, we can debate and deliberate on a lot of issues and have disagreement, but we're always able to come together to protect our country. This is a crisis. It's a national security crisis. It's unacceptable. It's unfortunate that my colleagues from this Committee couldn't come here today to see what's really happening, the impact of real life. I just want to have a couple questions to this panel. I grew up in a Communist, totalitarian regime, under mob rule. So, have lots of guns and ammunition. We have constitutional carry in Indiana. So, I am good to go, but that's not where we want to go. I sometimes wonder, listen, if I have come here illegally, I would really not have to go through all the struggles I had to go for the last 23 years. So, my question is for Dr. Trenschel. When I was listening to you, I thought, like, OK, as a legal immigrant, a legal citizen in this country, you have to pay for healthcare, you have to get insurance, you have to work and do all those different things. Isn't it we're creating perverse incentives for people to come here illegally? Because it's not just hurting people that try to be within the system, but, actually, you get a free ride, and we have now illegal immigration to welfare. So, I would like you to comment on that. Dr. Trenschel. I agree. We're required by law to see all comers and to provide the same level of care we do to everyone else. When a migrant comes in that crosses the border without insurance, without a payment plan, we give them the same healthcare we provide to the other residents of our community. We have no ability to bill. We don't know where they're going. We don't know if their name is right. We don't know anything about them. Ms. Spartz. It's unfortunate that we're starting to incentivize the lawlessness in our country. I have a question to the sheriff. I think really my colleagues on the other side are always talking about this human trafficking and what was happening, and it's really--it's a humanitarian crisis, too, because these people become slaves. It's like modern day slavery. To the cartels, it was a lot of big money made on these people. I understand they're desperate, but we created perverse incentive. So, I want you to comment on human trafficking and the issues of getaways, how dangerous it is. Sheriff Wilmot. I'll use the word from the Yuma Border Patrol Chief: It's narco-slavery, every bit of it, that we are seeing along our border, and it's gone to the interior throughout the United States. There's indentured servitude in a lot of these States and counties because of the cartels controlling the narrative right now. So, there's not been many sheriffs that I have ran into that have not had to investigate those types of crimes. We've seen in the past where you had indentured servitude discovered by Border Patrol agents happening in the Carolinas, 3,500 cases of children being used, as recycled to get more people in. So, we have seen the indentured servitude. If you can't pay, you're going to pay another way. Ms. Spartz. So, thank you for your service. I would like to let you know we have great sheriffs in the State of Indiana. If you need help, let us know, because if we cannot fix it at the Federal level, States can also step up and help each other. Mr. Lines, some quick question. Even though I have a little problem with being called flyover State, so I need to work on that. Hopefully you'll visit Indiana more often because we have a lot of great things. It's a great State, as well as you have a great State here, too. It's far from a flyover State, but actually farther. I want to just have a quick question for you. With what we have happening right now with agriculture, and I was actually surprised at some of the numbers, isn't it really pose some issues with food safety and food security, what's really happening at the border? Mr. Lines. So, it's a challenge along the border. Our agriculture practices here in Yuma exceed the expectations and even the minimum standards or the maximum standards of any growers against any region in the United States. They have about a 500-page volume that they use, it's self-imposed, to make sure, and they have hired people to watch over. We have had entry into fields. At that point in time, depending upon what they have been able to locate, they either plow it under or remove it altogether. Ms. Spartz. It would add that additional cost placed onto the consumer, right? Mr. Lines. It's an additional cost, yes, absolutely. Ms. Spartz. Because it's extra cost that everyone has to do because ultimately you have to be able to survive and pay money to be able to run your business. Mr. Lines. Ms. Spartz, may I comment a little bit just on the narco-labor, narco-trafficking of human trafficking? It was interesting, just before the China virus hit, the AP did a story, and they were talking about the L.A. Basin specifically, but they estimated that between 65-75 percent of all manual labor was undocumented in the L.A. Basin. That remains a challenge and a problem today, because many of these people, as they come across the border, are still subject to the cartels to pay a debt and are indefinitely remanded to their service. They actually never leave. Ms. Spartz. Thank you. It's unfortunate. I yield back. [Applause.] Chair Jordan. I thank the gentlelady. The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Cline, is recognized for five minutes. Mr. Cline. I thank the gentleman. I want to thank the witnesses for being here. I want to thank the people of Yuma for being here, too. We stand with the people of Yuma. My constituents are far, far away from here. They are in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, another farming community, another agriculture community. We have many ties that bind us to Yuma. We also stand with you in protecting the national security of this country, making sure that we secure our border, and we will do everything in our power to do that. We recognize it as a national security crisis. The things that we have seen and heard here during this visit have reinforced that view. My decision to cosponsor legislation that was introduced by Warren Davidson from Ohio to authorize the use of military force to ensure that, Sheriff, you have those resources that are needed to secure this border and make sure that the cartels do not continue their march into this country, into this community, and into our neighborhoods and our homes, we will make sure that you have those resources, sir. Thank you. We did see some things that just show and demonstrate the brazenness of what is transpiring here in this community when it comes to the cartels. On the drive down to the border, to San Luis crossing, we had in our convoy cars that slowed down, that entered, that forced their way into our line of vans. I didn't think anything of it. I thought someone was trying to exit. I couldn't figure it out. It was only today, after, we realized that they were cartel members who were infiltrating our caravan to try and figure out what we were doing, what we were looking at. Just being able to have that close reinforced just what a security crisis this is on this side of the border. Sheriff, I've heard of cartel violence erupting similar to the cartel violence that's erupting across the border from Yuma in Texas, leading to members of the cartel actually escaping into the United States and asking for asylum. Have you ever seen that happen? Sheriff Wilmot. Yes, sir. Thank you for that question. Yes, Yuma has seen it. Cochise County has seen it. Texas has seen it. Mr. Cline. That is shocking and just goes to show just how porous the border has become, how abused it is, when cartel members themselves are creating the violence that's happening and then trying to escape the violence by taking advantage of the very laws that are protecting the citizens and enabling them. The lack of the enforcement by the Biden Administration is enabling them to take advantage of those laws. Mr. Lines, I want to followup on a conversation we had a little bit earlier. My eyes have been opened to the breadth and depth of the impact of this porous border and this lack of enforcement by the Biden Administration on society in Yuma, but also across this country on districts like mine. We talked about the impact on hospitals. We went to the hospital. We saw the NICU. We saw the emergency room. We know that there's a finite number of beds, and that when there's a bed being occupied by someone here illegally, there's a bed not available to someone here legally, someone who is a resident of Yuma. We talked about the food banks and the agriculture. We met with farmers. We listened to them talk about the impact of people, thousands of people crossing their fields, and just one incident taking away a whole entire set of acreage from being able to be harvested. What other areas are we talking about here where this open border is having such an impact? Talk about the schools, talk about transportation, other areas. Mr. Lines. Everything that you discussed has been a challenge. Most recently, I had a call from an ESL teacher who said that she had a significant number of students being enrolled into her classes that did not speak either English or Spanish, and many of them Eastern European or Central Asian. So, there is a concern that we will continue to see that type of influx. For the most part, people have not been taking up residency in Yuma. So, it was surprising to me that an ESL teacher was calling me to say, ``I now have a new challenge here in my classroom,'' and it wasn't something that she expected to confront. Mr. Cline. In terms of housing-- Mr. Lines. Oh. [Applause.] Mr. Lines. Well, the sheriff can speak specifically to the jail. I appreciate everything that he's done as a county supervisor, and we work hand in hand. His Federal reimbursement is at 10 percent. So, when he has cross-deputized the Border Patrol officers to go and assist, because the U.S. Attorney General won't prosecute, he then is faced with those challenges, and it's up to the county to make him whole. Sheriff, do you want to talk a little bit more about that? Mr. Cline. Well, let me just-- Mr. Lines. OK. Or, Mr. Cline, sorry about that. Mr. Cline. Let me just wrap up and say, I've been a prosecutor, I've used the ICE detainer process to have illegals who have committed crimes in Harrisonburg deported and made sure that the community is kept safe. I've talked to troopers who pull over vans on Interstate 81 in my district who encounter the human trafficking that crosses the border here in Yuma. I see the criminal aspect of it in my district. Never have my eyes been opened to the impact on healthcare, education, housing, food, and agriculture that this porous border is having. I'm going to go home with this information to ensure that we fight even harder to secure this border so that the people of Yuma are protected, but the people of the Sixth Congressional District are protected. We stand with Yuma, and we stand with our citizens. Thank you all for being here today. Mr. Lines. Thank you, Mr. Cline. [Applause.] Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Van Drew, is recognized for five minutes. Mr. Van Drew. Thank you, Chair. As I was sitting up here, first, great testimony all around, it really is, if you think about what these gentlemen and ladies are saying. I was thinking of how tired of it I am, how worn out of it I am, how tired I am of the President lying. I know people don't like to say it that way. I'm a little rough around the edges. I don't care. He doesn't tell the truth. [Applause.] I'm tired of Secretary Mayorkas even worse, because with the President you can kind of tell when he's lying. He gets that weird look in his face, which is most of the time. Mayorkas will look you dead in the face. I used to be on the Homeland Security Committee. We interviewed him I think three times. Every time I would ask him, ``Is there anything going on, on the border, is anything wrong, are there any problems, anything we should do?'' he said, ``We fully have it under control.'' Then not long after I would go to the border, and you would find that you actually watched the people illegally crossing and getting through. He just wouldn't face the facts. He wouldn't tell the truth. I'm tired, to be honest with you, of Congress people--and I'm not always partisan, I'm not, but it happens to be on the other side of the aisle--not fulfilling their constitutional responsibility. They owe it to you to be here today. They owe it to America to debate these issues. They owe it to America to prove why what they've done is a good thing. You know why they're not here? Because they can't prove it, because they can't show it, because they know it's bad. To the gentlemen over there, both Mr. Bishop--all you guys actually said it. This is more. This is more than just Yuma. It's a big deal in Yuma. I know that. This is the United States of America under attack. We're losing our country. If you think about it-- [Applause.] I don't want to digress, because we only have a certain amount of time and there's a couple of questions I want to ask. Think what's going on. There's all this stuff at the border, all over our border--which is now all over the country, by the way. I tell the folks in New Jersey, they say, ``Gee, you're going all the way to Arizona.'' Because guess what? It's in New Jersey, too. People are dying of fentanyl. Guess what happens? It comes through the border. It's in Michigan. It's in New England. It's everywhere. It's everywhere because of what these people did to a situation that we had fully under control. I agree that you have those hearings, you have hearings for impeachment. I'm there. I'm voting for it. I've cosponsored it with you. I'm proud to do it because I really believe we have a case where somebody--Mayorkas--has committed treason, has broken the rule of law, and deserves not to be there anymore. What he's done is too bad. [Applause.] What we pay in taxes. Do you know how much this costs us? Billions upon billions of dollars. What we're doing to our kids, with our safety. You don't really have the words to say. It's easy to fix. It was pretty much fixed. Get the fence up everywhere. Get the electronics that are needed up. Get the Remain in Mexico policy back. Get the immediate returns of illegals that do make it through right back to where they came from. Get agreements made with Mexico. If they don't want to listen to the agreements, you make it clear, like it's been done in the past, that you're going to be in a lot of trouble trade-wise if you don't, so you better do it. We can do this. We're the most powerful nation still. We're working at demeaning ourselves, but we are still the most powerful nation on the face of the Earth. [Applause.] So, it's time to stop it. It's time for us to move on. It's time for us to get back. It's time for us to bring our America home. So, Supervisor Jonathan Lines: Cartels. Let's just really quickly just make clear. I want people to understand. They make a relationship. It's almost like a contract with the people that they get across the border, which are a lot of them. Once they get across the border, they get them fixed up to go to a particular area in the United States, and then they own them. Then they push the fentanyl on your kids and my kids, whether it's in New Jersey, New York, or Arizona. Is that correct? Mr. Lines. Yes, sir. Mr. Van Drew. Spreading--how do I say this? We're spreading all this throughout the area. I know we know the answer to this. Has it gotten worse in the last two years? It's a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyhow. Mr. Lines. There's no question that's stupid, right, just the unasked question. Mr. Van Drew, it has exceeded anything that we could have ever imagined. Mr. Van Drew. Exactly. Mr. Lines. We've had more than 600,000 people come through Yuma since this administration took office. Mr. Van Drew. So, we get this administration in. They make you just do a lot of paperwork. We don't protect our people. We don't protect our Americans. Things have gotten worse. Costs to the hospital. Again, I know you said it, but I want everybody to really think about this. Is anybody helping? Dr. Trenschel. No. Mr. Van Drew. No, Doctor, they're not. Dr. Trenschel. No, they're not. Mr. Van Drew. You know what? When you go in with your maternity and your maternity patients, guess what? It's the job, and they're doing a good job, of health professionals and nurses. They have to take care of the people that are sickest first. That's just the Hippocratic Oath. They've got to take care of those people. Guess who's waiting with their children? Guess who's waiting with their families? Guess who's paying for all of it? You know the answer. Am I correct, Doctor? Dr. Trenschel. Yes, you are. Mr. Van Drew. Am I correct that your nurses had to go out and buy safety seats for these people because we used so many in the last big tranche of folks that came over? They went out, and the hospital had to pay for them, and they had to go everywhere in the area to buy safety seats because they didn't have any. Is that true? Dr. Trenschel. Yes, that's true. Mr. Van Drew. Is it true that when we spoke today to a food bank, that she told us that some of the people, believe it or not, that were illegals and had come over expressed dissatisfaction with the food? Is that true? Mr. Lines. Yes, that's-- Mr. Van Drew. I'm not making this stuff up, right? Mr. Lines. Yes, Mr. Van Drew, that's-- Mr. Van Drew. I'm so tired and worn out of it, and so are you. We're tired of it. Twenty-six million you're in the hole, right? Dr. Trenschel. That's correct. Mr. Van Drew. Who's going to pay for that? Dr. Trenschel. We are. Mr. Van Drew. I'm looking at you. Americans. So, it is time to change. It is time we had a real Secretary that did a real job. It's time we had, I'm sorry, a real President. It's time we have Congressmen--guess what? These guys will go into any meeting no matter how much of a disadvantage you think you are to really talk the issues. When you believe in something, when it's in your heart, when you know it's right, you're going to stand up and you're going to fight for it. They can't. Because you know what they know? At the end of the day, they're hurting our American people, and they're hurting America, and it has to come to an end. I thank you guys so much for what you did. Sheriff, thank you for what you do. I know you guys put your lives on the line all the time. People are dying. People are getting hurt. This isn't just some imaginary things like we're told when we go back to Washington, and we will do everything that we can. Dammit, I hope we have those impeachment hearings. Thank you, Chair. [Applause.] Chair Jordan. Thank you. The gentleman from Alabama is recognized for five minutes. Mr. Moore. Thank you, Mr. Chair. In Alabama recently, I was told that in Birmingham we seized enough fentanyl to kill every man, woman, and child in my entire State. So, I tell everybody this. This may be affecting border communities, but it's a crisis for our entire Nation, and so we're going to try to address it. Sheriff, this is my third trip down, and so I want to talk a little bit. Some things that just kind of stuck out when I was asking the agents along the border that kind of concerned me and really kind of, as I talk about it, is something that kind of--it strikes a chord with a lot of people. You were saying earlier that the price that you're seeing now to come across the southern border, it's ranging from 6,000-15,000. Is that correct? Sheriff Wilmot. In Yuma County, yes, sir. Mr. Moore. Now, who's getting that money, Sheriff? Sheriff Wilmot. The cartels. Mr. Moore. The cartels. Of course, when we talk about inflation, the money we print, everything has gone up. A few years ago, I heard it was $4,000 just south of the southern border and then the Triangle Nations further south. We had a price for Syria of up to $20,000. Are you seeing some high prices from other countries around the globe as well? Sheriff Wilmot. That's my understanding, yes, sir, when you're looking at Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia. Russia has been an increase where I think Border Patrol roughly 70 a day was the number that they were encountering just from Russia. Mr. Moore. What's the price on a Russian now coming across the border? Sheriff Wilmot. I wouldn't think that it would be that much, yes, sir. Mr. Moore. I would imagine. I don't know. I haven't heard the Russian price. We actually seized some Chinese nationals, the sheriff's department in Texas, and it was $80,000 each. Folks, they're not coming here to do us any favors, just so you know. Sheriff, my question now. You said that--so we got a price. What about if somebody--have you guys heard--and maybe other law enforcement officers would know, too--what if they don't have the money to pay the cartel? What are the options then? Sheriff Wilmot. So, the option is that they're--it's indentured servitude, slavery. They're going to be sent to a certain location. I've found pieces of paper down on the border that list the location that they're ordered to go to, and that's where they will work off their debt, depending on what you're capable of doing. Mr. Moore. Wait, wait, wait, now, Sheriff. So, you're telling me that Biden's policies on the southern border are actually creating American--are slaves from around the globe. Is that correct? Sheriff Wilmot. Correct. Mr. Moore. Wow. So, the Democrats who accuse us of all the awful things that we do, they're actually enforcing polices now that are creating slaves in this country? Sheriff Wilmot. It's lending to that right now. Mr. Moore. So, not only are they creating slaves, but I also heard when I was on the border, and I found this rather intriguing, if somebody was coming across the border and they actually didn't have the money and they didn't want to be an indentured servant, is it true that they can backpack now heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine and pay that passage? Is that an option as well? Sheriff Wilmot. That is an option. Mr. Moore. So, the Democrats' policies--two things now. So, they're creating slaves and drug mules. Is that where we're going with this? No wonder they don't want to come talk about it, right? So, now that we've got this issue of slaves and drug mules, I want to change over to a little something I saw. This is troubling to me. I went to Fort Bliss, the emergency intake center--you guys heard of this? Fort Bliss, to handle all the unaccompanied minors coming to this country. As I was there, the admiral is running it, and I'm like, ``Sir, why don't we send these kids''--these are unaccompanied minors now--``back to their home country, back to their town?'' the admiral said, ``Well, they don't know where they came from.'' So, these kids are from--I saw one, I know he's probably no more than five, and I saw some probably--the average was 16-17- year-olds. So, they're saying these kids, these unaccompanied minors, do not know where they came from. I said, ``Well, where are we going to send them to?'' ``Oh, we're going to send them to a Google address in the United States of America.'' Then we don't background check the people we're sending them to. So, one of my friends here, I remember earlier, hit on this. We are actually, with taxpayer dollars, are now trafficking children, and we're paying to get them there on American taxpayer dollars and putting them in God knows what and God knows where. So, the thing that really--I think Andy Biggs has mentioned this--is we've lost 20,000 children. Mayorkas said himself in a hearing he does not know where 20,000 of these children are. That's just staggering to me. So, Sheriff, is it mostly heroin and cocaine now and fentanyl, or is it just mostly fentanyl? Sheriff Wilmot. Unfortunately, for Arizona and California right now we're the worst and the top as far as fentanyl, and below that is methamphetamine. To address your other comment, what you're looking at is a ploy by the cartels marketing in a way to work with Mayorkas on the reunification policy that he put into place. So, if you send your child across as a child that's by themselves, then you can be reunified when you come at a later date and time. So, the cartels are exploiting every policy that this administration has put into play. Mr. Moore. It's almost like they're better at the game than we are, right? I mean, they know before we know what's happening. I know that they're talking about the new rules that the Biden Administration wants to enforce, and basically that just adds another step. My understanding--last night I was talking to one of the border agents--is once the illegals, when they cross into the country, they want that MTA, that motion to appear in court. Is that correct? Now, Mr. Lines, could you tell me for sure, when they get this MTA, does that automatically qualify them for benefits? Mr. Lines. Yes, it does. Mr. Moore. So, you're telling me they come into the country, they turn themselves in, and then they get the MTA, and they are qualified for benefits from the American taxpayer? Mr. Lines. Yes, sir. Mr. Moore. Do we have any idea how much those benefits run or any idea? Have you heard that, Mr. Lines? Mr. Lines. Up to $800 a month. Mr. Moore. Eight hundred a month. So, I understand, too, we give them a cell phone. Mr. Lines. Yes, they do. Mr. Moore. Have you heard that we actually give them a cell phone? My kids would probably rather come across the border, honestly, sometimes. [Laughter.] Mr. Lines. Yes, sir. Mr. Moore. So, we give them a cell phone that they can jail break and use it however they want. My understanding--go ahead, Lines. I'm waiting. I want to hear what you've got to say. Mr. Lines. No, no. Well, it's just they give them the phone so that they know where they're at, but we have a 95 percent failure rate to appear for those motions. Mr. Moore. So, you mean they take our phones, but they don't take our phone calls? Is that what you're telling me is going on? Mr. Lines. Yes, sir. It's the worst date. Mr. Moore. Man, that does sound like my kids. Mr. Lines. Yes. Mr. Moore. Now, Doc, one last thing and then we'll get off and I'll give Mr. Jordan--I didn't have a timer over here, Jim. Am I over time? Chair Jordan. You're definitely over time. Mr. Lines. The benefits continue, Mr. Moore. Mr. Moore. I'm definitely over time. Mr. Lines. The benefits continue. Mr. Moore. The Chair has said I'm definitely over time. Chair Jordan. You can ask your last question. Mr. Moore. Last question, Doc. So, 100 percent of the immigrants, when you deliver the children, you have to give them car seats, I understand. So, because the Federal Government requires you. Isn't there some rule that says that you can't send a child away from a hospital without a car seat? Dr. Trenschel. Correct. CMS rule. We cannot do that. Mr. Moore. So, we're buying all the car seats as we send them on their way and paying for all the healthcare, and you're $26 million in debt, basically. Dr. Trenschel. Correct. Mr. Moore. Very good. Thank you for your time. I appreciate it. I yield back, Mr. Chair. [Applause.] Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for five minutes, Mr. Nehls. Mr. Nehls. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to thank Dr. Trenschel and Mr. Lines for your leadership in this community. You're doing a great job going to visit that hospital. My oldest daughter just graduated from Texas Tech. She's now a NICU nurse in Houston, Texas. You guys are doing a great job over there. Of course, Sheriff Wilmot, it's good to see you. I see Sheriff Lamb there and all the other sheriffs. Thank you for your service. Some of you know that I served in law enforcement for 30 years. I was a sheriff in Fort Bend County, Texas, for eight years before I decided to run for the swamp. I will never forget; I will never forget where I came from. I am with you. I support the Thin Blue Line. [Applause.] Sheriff Wilmot, in our first hearing, we had a hearing a couple weeks ago some of my colleagues mentioned on the Biden border crisis, we had a Democrat witness there. He was the El Paso County judge. He testified, and I quote, There is no invasion of migrants in our community. Nor are there hordes of undocumented immigrants committing crimes against citizens or causing havoc in our community. I was able to quickly, quickly discredit his testimony by producing numerous, numerous articles of crime in his community as a result of this invasion. Then I also did a quick search, Sheriff, of crime here in Yuma. I point out one here, a former gang member arrested by border agents in Yuma. This guy was a gang member, convicted felon, been arrested by border agents in Yuma, an illegal immigrant, was arrested for entering the U.S. from Mexico. He's 25 years old. Was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in Santa Barbara, California. Served three years now, served three years in prison, which was enhanced for being a criminal street gang. After completing his sentence, he was removed from the U.S., and he will be prosecuted for reentry. So, this guy's coming back. No problem. He can just come back. I highlight this guy here. He's the alleged migrant killer arrested after a four-month run. Sheriff, you mentioned this guy in some of your testimony. He killed, I guess, somebody on his way up here. Folks, you don't want this guy to be your neighbor. You don't want this guy in your neighborhood at all. Just another guy. This was here on January 17, 2023. You arrested him four months later. At the Yuma County Detention Facility for second degree murder after having been arrested by border agents for trying to come back, to try to come back into the U.S. This child molester here, he was caught hiding in the brush. Again, February 17, 2022. He was a child abuser, convicted child abuser from Honduras. You arrested him, took him to Yuma here for processing, looked at his record. Montgomery County, Maryland, circuit convicted Vargas in December 2009, first- and second-degree child abuse for fracturing the skull of a newborn while babysitting for his girlfriend. He got seven years, served seven of the 25 years in Maryland, before being placed on supervisory probation. Removed to Honduras in 2018, and now here he is coming back. This just goes on and on, 1,400 border crossers charged with coming back, reentry. It just goes on. Sheriff, I want to ask you the same question I asked our former witness. Are the aliens crossing illegally committing crimes across this country? Sheriff Wilmot. Absolutely. Mr. Nehls. Joe Biden, are you listening? Mayorkas, are you listening to the sheriffs? Sheriff Wilmot. No, they are not. Mr. Nehls. Sheriff, you have--in some of your written testimony-- [Applause.] Sheriff Wilmot. Sorry. Mr. Nehls. In some of your written testimony, Sheriff, you talk a little bit about the rising crime due to Biden's border crisis. How has it impacted your agency with response times and resources? I mean, my guys are chasing criminals all over my county in the whole southwest Houston area. How has it affected your ability to keep these people in your community safe? Sheriff Wilmot. Thank you for the question, sir. In regard to our response times, when we have to respond out and do a rescue out in the desert, which is about 40-50 miles away from civilization, that ties up our resources from doing their normal service delivery to the community that we serve. When we're processing the crime scenes out in the desert, when we're investigating the calls of the thefts, burglaries, rapers, and the delayed rapes and robberies that happen to some of the immigrants coming to the border that we have to handle, it taxes your resources and otherwise takes away our ability to do proactive enforcement versus reactive. Mr. Nehls. What we all know in this room, what we all have witnessed under Former President Donald J. Trump, the greatest President in my lifetime, that border crossings were down-- [Applause.] Yes, yes. Border crossing were down, and our country was proud to uphold the rule of law. When you look at our United States Constitution, and you see that it's the Federal Government's responsibility to secure our southern borders--we could talk about it. I sent a letter to Biden calling him to invoke that Guarantee Clause. If you don't understand, if you look at Article IV, Section 4, there's an ``invasion clause,'' folks, and I'll just read it. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republic Form of Government and shall protect each of them against invasion. We are being invaded, yes? [Applause.] Article I, Section 10 states, self-defense clause, reserves to the States the sovereign power to repel an invasion and defend their citizenry from the overwhelming and imminent danger. Your attorney general is doing a hell of a job. Our attorney general is doing well as well in Texas trying to invoke it. Let's just say this. The American people are the victims here. We are the victims. We must take the fight to the cartels, to the enemy, and we must use extreme prejudice to eliminate them off the face of the Earth. I yield back. [Applause.] Chair Jordan. The gentleman from South Carolina is recognized, Mr. Fry. Mr. Fry. Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's good to be here. I appreciate you, Chair, holding this hearing right here at the center of our border crisis. To the good people of Yuma, thank you for having us. Thank you for showing us. I'm a freshman. So, this has been incredibly eye opening for me. Mr. Chair, I remember our first, my first committee hearing this year, the first one ever, when the ranking member said that we were imagining a border crisis. My first question to the good people of Yuma: Are you imagining a border crisis? Is the border secure here in Yuma? Has the border gotten worse under President Biden? Final question: Do you think this administration has faithfully executed their obligation to secure that border? We got a ``hell no.'' Thank you to the panel. From the short time we've been here in Yuma, one thing is very crystal clear to me, and it's that President Biden's open door, open border policy is an abject failure to the people of this country. We have seen firsthand the prioritization by this administration of illegal immigrants over the people of America. Illegal immigration, obviously, you know this here in Yuma more than anyone else, it deprives your community of safety in your homes and in your community of healthcare. It costs the taxpayers billions of dollars. It destroys property, farmers, where you are at. It destroys families through fentanyl poisoning. Congressional Democrats should be here, Mr. Chair. It's actually a shame that we were ``imagining'' a border crisis. Everything that we've seen, thus far, proves exactly that we are not, that you see it. Of course, in my home State of South Carolina, as has been talked about, we are a border State. Myrtle Beach is not just famous for its beaches and Chinese spy balloons. It also has record fentanyl overdoses that happen year after year. The first question to the sheriff. What Federal policies were in place under the prior administration that really helped, in your opinion, secure that border? Sheriff Wilmot. I thank you for that question, because I also told Secretary Mayorkas the same thing. The Operation Streamline was the most successful program that we ever had, and that was 100 percent prosecution for anybody that entered this country between the port of entry and denied them the access. Mr. Fry. Would you say that the Biden Administration has been able to control the cartels in two years? Sheriff Wilmot. No, sir. Mr. Fry. What policies do you think promote or enable the cartels to act more freely across the border or even in our country? Sheriff Wilmot. Well, when they removed the migrant protection protocols that were put into place, plus Operation Streamline, and they got away from any kind of prosecution at all, that just enabled the cartels to do what they're doing today, and they continue to escalate in their capabilities. Mr. Fry. Mr. Lines, you tweeted back in January that the border was 100 percent not secure, that it was wide open. Do you believe that still to be the case? Mr. Lines. Yes, sir. Mr. Fry. OK. In both you and the sheriff's experience, what are you seeing from real world impacts that you're hearing from people out here in the community that are happening from a crime perspective or a cartel perspective in their homes or neighborhoods? Mr. Lines. We've had some home invasions. Those were few and far between just because border patrol has been able to interdict. Yesterday morning one of the farmers you heard from this morning testified that his daughter was returning home from feeding her 4H project and was almost hit by a van full of people being smuggled across the border. So, we continue to see those types of instances. He's had two of those experiences in the last six months. One of the things that--and I apologize, but I should have addressed when Mr. Cline asked, but it's been a negative impact in our community, is the ability of 911 services to respond adequately, and that's been a severe challenge. I met with the first responders from every group in Yuma, and they shared with me their concern or the ability to be able to respond when they continue to receive a high volume of 911 calls from the border. Now, not all those people were actually looking for medical assistance. They were simply tired of waiting to be processed because they had somewhere to go and someplace to be. So, that has affected the people of this community, and I was absolutely blown away to hear them tell me that. They do not care about the value of life, and that is something directly related to the cartels. Mr. Fry. Sheriff, what instances have you heard from the residents here in Yuma of crime or cartel activity? Talk about that. Have you heard these similar instances? Sheriff Wilmot. Absolutely, sir, and you can refer to my document that I submitted as well. My jail already this last year had over 55 individuals booked into custody that had entered this country illegally and committed sexual exploitation of minors. They're trespassing. The smuggling of narcotics not only for use but for sale and trade. That's the majority of what I have in my jail right now for those kinds of offenses. Mr. Lines. Mr. Fry, over at Amberly's Place, our youngest victim coming in for a sexual assault was 10 years old. The challenge is that we don't know in which country it occurred and by whom. So, we're able to collect the data, but because of jurisdictional challenges, there's no one to prosecute. So, a 10 year old was violated by someone under cartel control or by the cartel itself. Just here, at Morelos Dam, Congressman Biggs and I have had the opportunity to walk around and pick up Plan B, and that was an area commonly referred to as the rape tree. So many people coming across were victims of the cartel where they exacted that last price and denied them their dignity. Mr. Fry. Thank you to the panel for being here. Mr. Chair, I yield back. Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman. The gentlelady from Wyoming is recognized for five minutes, Ms. Hageman. Ms. Hageman. Thank you. Others have asked you questions. There have been some excellent questions today. You've provided some incredibly helpful testimony. I'd like to take a little bit different approach. I want you to know that I think that maybe you believe here in Yuma and along the border that you've been forgotten and that we don't care. But you haven't, we do care, and it's why we're here. We read the statistics. We see the film on the 5 o'clock news. We hear about the fentanyl deaths. We have some awareness of the human trafficking across our borders and spreading across our country. Reading about it is fundamentally different than being here and seeing it for ourselves and in talking to you about what you've been experiencing. I want you to know that everyone on this Committee has heard you, they are listening, and they want to represent you. They want to represent your voices. They want to hear what you have to say. I want to thank this entire community for your candor. I want to thank you for your willingness to talk to us and engage with us and to show us what you're dealing with. I want to thank your growers and producers for providing us with fresh and healthy food and for creating the beautiful Eden and oasis carved out of the surrounding desert. Thank you to our law enforcement, our sheriffs, our Border Patrol, and our police officers. Thank you to our local business owners and community leaders for what you do. Again, I want to be your voice, and to do that, I'm going to read to you some of the notes that I have taken just in the last day or so in visiting with the folks that we've had the opportunity to talk to. Now, you've heard some of this information, but I want to make it very, very clear: These are not Republican talking points. These are not an effort to just attack the Biden Administration for the sake of attacking the Biden Administration. These are my notes of my conversation with your fellow citizens. As we've already talked about, there's $26 million in uncompensated care for illegal immigrants in just one year. There is no payer source for those fees. The folks that come here are sick, not all of them, but a lot of them. They have hypertension, they need dialysis, they need heart surgery, and they need intensive care. Twenty-five percent of illegal babies that are born here end up in NICU because they don't have any prenatal care. We have to assure that we give a safe discharge, is what our medical professionals told us, which means that they have to provide wheelchairs and walkers and transportation. They may have to make contact with a family member. None of the NGO's that are working with the Biden Administration to further this agenda have offered to pay these costs, and the Feds have refused. You cannot discharge a baby without a car seat, and so basically the hospital has been out purchasing car seats throughout the entire surrounding area. Many of these babies have brothers and sisters that also need car seats. So, they may end up buying two and three car seats for the same family. The hospital has essentially had to set up a hotel upstairs because they can't discharge the patients. They had one baby in NICU for almost two months. So, the mother had to live there as well. There are lots of signs of abuse with the female migrants that are coming across. It is a Federal law that the facility treats everyone who comes to the hospital. In other words, the Federal Government requires you to provide care but refuses to pay you for it, the ultimate in an unfunded mandate. You've had illegal immigrants in ICU for over 30 days, some as long as 90 days. You've had to transfer residents to other places, as there have been times when there aren't enough ICU beds because the illegals are taking them. It takes two to three times the amount of resources to take care of an illegal as it does a resident. One woman at the hospital very compassionately noted that a loss of one person to fentanyl is one too many. In other words, they're very compassionate about what you're dealing with. The illegals, the increase in illegal immigration has coincided with an increase in fentanyl overdoses. When Trump was President, there were 810 people seeking asylum in 2020. In 2021, it had gone up to 110,000, and in 2022, it was 310,000. That's just in the Yuma Sector alone. These people are processed here and then they're sent to communities throughout the entire country as the cartels are telling them where they must go to pay back what they have to pay to be brought across to the United States. The CBP has essentially become a concierge service for illegal immigrants. You have aliens from over 100 different countries entering this area. The cartels are controlling all aspects of the border. They earned $3.2 billion last year in human trafficking. The Biden Administration is jeopardizing our food supply and our food security, and they're prioritizing illegal aliens over and above American citizens and legal immigrants. These are real life facts told to us and as expressed by real life citizens from this very community. Again, I will say it: You're not forgotten. We will never make life better in foreign countries by destroying the United States of America. [Applause.] We will never make foreign leaders do a better job of taking care of their poor or prosecuting their criminals by sending them across the border illegally. We must protect our borders, we must recognize that citizenship matters, and we must enforce the law. Mr. Chair, I yield back. [Applause.] Chair Jordan. Thank you. The gentlelady yields back. The gentleman from California, Mr. Kiley, is recognized for five minutes. Mr. Kiley. Good afternoon. Sheriff, could you please summarize the ways that the cartels are involved in illegal border crossings? Sheriff Wilmot. So, you have the Jalisco New Generation in Baja California, then you have the Sinaloa Cartel in Sonora, Mexico, on our very southern border. So, the Jalisco New Generation, theirs is the movement of bodies that are coming across the river corridor, so they are the ones that are coordinating. They actually have contacts in different countries that have been identified as being the travel agents, for lack of a better term, to get the people here and to be able to control that coming across. So, right now, between midnight and 4 a.m., 40 at a time come across down by the river corridor. So, the Sinaloa Cartel, they are the ones that are doing the narcotics side of it. So, they coordinate between those that can afford and cannot afford to be able to pay the price, and they utilize those people to smuggle the narcotics in, whether it's on a vehicle through the port of entry or whether it's through the remote deserts of our county. Mr. Kiley. Thank you. So, would it be fair to say that the relaxation of border policies has redounded to the benefit of the cartels? Sheriff Wilmot. Oh, absolutely. Mr. Kiley. I mean, just to be blunt, it's been a bonanza for them, right? It's expanded their business opportunities for their criminal enterprises, has it not? Sheriff Wilmot. Absolutely. They have scouts that are in our mountains. So, they can watch Border Patrol's actions out in a remote part of our desert. So, they can coordinate the loads getting through, whether they're human or narcotics. Mr. Kiley. So, we know who is benefiting. So, then we have to ask: Who is paying the price? Well, first, of course, is the victims of fentanyl. In 2020, Border Patrol seized 4,800 pounds; 2021, it was 11,200; 2022 fiscal year, it was 14,700; and in just the first four months for the 2023 fiscal year, 12,500. I have a chart here showing basically a quadrupling in overdoses here in Yuma just over the course of a few years. Of course, this is not a localized matter. Throughout the country, fentanyl poisoning is now the leading cause of death for young people, more than car accidents, more than suicides, more than anything. Sheriff, is it your opinion that fewer Americans would be dying of fentanyl poisoning if the border was as secure as it was at the start of this administration? Sheriff Wilmot. Absolutely. Mr. Kiley. In addition to the victims of fentanyl, we then have the victims of human trafficking as well. Supervisor, I believe we discussed earlier some evidence that you've seen of the increases and the impact of human trafficking here in Yuma? Mr. Lines. Yes. So, in the first three months, we've seen a 350 percent uptake in human trafficking, people who have come forward seeking assistance on their own who have declared that they have been trafficked. If nine were willing to do it, I'm sure that there are many more out there looking to free themselves of that bondage. Mr. Kiley. Sheriff, is it your opinion that fewer people would be suffering through the horror of human trafficking if the border was as secure as it was at the start of this administration? Sheriff Wilmot. Absolutely. Mr. Kiley. Then we have the migrants themselves. In 2022, 856 died attempting to cross the border. That was 300 more than it was in 2021 and three times as many as it was just in 2020. Sheriff, is it your opinion that fewer migrants would be dying crossing the border if the border was as secure as it was at the start of this administration? Sheriff Wilmot. Yes, sir. Mr. Kiley. So, there you have it. We have a set of policies that has been a bonanza for the cartels, for foreign criminal organizations, and this windfall is being underwritten by pain and suffering and death. That's why this is not a partisan issue. Usually we have to weigh costs and benefits, we have to adjudicate competing values. Here it's just bad all the way around. It's negative on both sides of the ledger. So, how does this make any sense? Well, it really only makes sense when you look at it from a political perspective. We had a set of border policies that were working. Everyone here will tell you that. This administration came into office, and to make a political statement, not only reversed those policies, but swung the pendulum radically in the other direction, exploding whatever bipartisan consensus there was on this issue and ushering in a crisis unlike we have seen in American history. So, I'm not interested in criticizing our colleagues on the other side of the dais for not being here. I want to encourage them to come here, talk to the supervisor, the sheriff, and the hospital, see what we have seen. I want to work with anyone who is interested in getting this crisis under control. That includes the President, who I implore to accept responsibility, to admit his policies have failed, to find a new Secretary of Homeland Security. Let's all work together to replace pro-cartel policies with pro-America policies. [Applause.] Chair Jordan. I thank the gentleman. The gentleman yields back. Mr. Lines, who benefits? That seems to me to be the fundamental question, right? Who benefits? We talked earlier. On January 20, 2021, the first day, President Biden says no more wall, no more Remain in Mexico, no more detain and deport.two years ago this was the safest border county in the country. Today we have what's been described here in the last two hours. Sheriff Wilmot. Yes, sir. Chair Jordan. So, it sort of raises the fundamental, who benefits from this border that's no longer a border, from this open border chaos on our southern border? Who benefits from that? Does our healthcare system benefit, Mr. Lines? Mr. Lines. No, sir. No. Directly benefiting the cartels. Chair Jordan. Does our law enforcement benefit, Sheriff Wilmot? Sheriff Wilmot. No, sir. Chair Jordan. How about first responders, Supervisor? Does first responders, does that benefit-- Mr. Lines. No, sir. Chair Jordan. How about the taxpayers? Do the taxpayers? How about the growers and ranchers and farmers that we heard from earlier? Do they benefit from this chaotic policy that was put in place on day one? How about the legal residents? How about the citizens? Do they benefit? Mr. Lines. No. Chair Jordan. That's the takeaway here. How about now, who does benefit, though? Do the cartels benefit, Supervisor Lines? Mr. Lines. Yes, sir, 100 percent. Chair Jordan. Do the drug dealers benefit? Mr. Lines. One hundred percent. Chair Jordan. Yes, and the scary thing is, the sad thing is, too, the people--many times the people who are being trafficked across, they don't really benefit either. Things that happen to women, things that happen to kids, we've talked about that. So, this is the crazy thing. This brings us back to what my colleague and friend from Florida said earlier in today's hearing. I don't think they're going to change. I don't think Joe Biden is going to change. Because any administration that puts in policies that harm the citizens, law enforcement, taxpayers, farmers, ranchers, and everyone, it seems, and only benefit the bad guys, the cartels and drug dealers, I don't know that they're going to change without a fight. Mr. Lines. Mr. Chair, I think that it's good to remember the source of all fentanyl, and that's being shipped directly from China to the cartels to come and poison the people of the United States. Chair Jordan. Yep. Yep. I would just add this to it as well, and this is in your testimony, Supervisor. In your testimony, you were asked, I believe by Mr. Gaetz, I think you said Secretary Mayorkas lied to your face. That was your testimony here today under oath, here today you took the oath when we swore you in, you said the Secretary. So, if you have an administration that you pay for, your tax dollars pay for the Federal Government, they come here, they promise to work with local government, work with the local community to better the situation and then don't deliver on their promise, the only way we're going to fix this is a fight. The way our system works, the way our system works is when you have split government, you have to do it on the appropriations bills. We are going to have to attach on the appropriations bills: Hey, look, if you don't start enforcing the law, as Mr. McClintock pointed out, if you don't start enforcing the law, we're not going to fund certain things. Not our law enforcement, not Border Patrol, we need that, but other things. We're going to have to do that if we're going to remedy this situation. Mr. Lines. Yes, sir. Chair Jordan. That's how bad it is. That's how serious it is. We came here today to just underscore and hear from people who have been living it now for two long years, to hear from you all so we can go back and tell our colleagues: Look, we're going to have to fight. We're going to have to fight for the good people of Yuma County, the good law enforcement folks in Arizona, people providing healthcare, the mayor of this great town, and, as our other members have pointed out, folks all over the country, because every county is now impacted by five million illegal migrants coming into our country in the past two years. That's what we pledge to do. So, I want to thank you all for being here today. We're going to close with the gentleman who represents this fine community for five minutes, who has been a good friend of mine in Congress for a number of years, who does an outstanding job at serving the folks of his great district here in Arizona. Mr. Gosar is recognized for five minutes. [Applause.] Mr. Gosar. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you. So, I'm going to hit two things. I'm going to try to hit this a little differently. It's been alluded to by some of my colleagues. Ben Franklin was asked: ``What kind of government did you give us? A republic, if you can keep it.'' What is key to a republic? The rule of law, accountability, and defined, defensible borders. Now, let's take an example of one of those republics that fell: Rome. They actually invited the conquered to conquer. Now, think about that. Think about that. The reason I bring that up is that we've been bamboozled by the other side in the press that there's only 10 or 11 million illegals in this country. That's not true. The Ivy League study in 2014, 2015 that showed there was between 33 and 36 million. You add another six million that has come across during this tenure, you're over 40 million illegals. Now, why do I bring that up? Well, in a population of 360 million, maybe 10 million doesn't really make much of a difference, but when it's 40 or 50 million, they're changing culture. That's where this is going, changing culture. Now, the other thing is, is I keep hearing over and over again: What could you do about it? As has been alluded, we're one of the three stools. Well, there's the power of the purse. The Chair actually just brought this up. That fight's coming. That was part of the fight that the 20 held out for, to get that rule change. [Applause.] Mr. Gosar. It's even better than that. We have an opportunity that if they were never authorized by Congress, that we can defund them. This is going to be so much fun. Can you say ATF? Can you say OPT? So, now, we take the fight to them. Why is this important? Because we have to have that power of the purse. That also means that we have to get rid of the national emergency on COVID. It seems kind of strange that I'm bringing this up, but when you're under a national emergency, the Executive Branch has 120 additional powers, and one of them is to move money around. So, let me share with you an example. Congress in its wisdom a five-years ago authorized $2.some billion to go to COVID testing. It disappeared. It was rerouted by the administration for illegal immigration housing. Now, let's step back. This last fall, there was an omnibus bill of $1.7 trillion passed, and it was passed intentionally under the COVID national emergency. That means that simply not one of those dollars that Congress has obliged to send has to be spent that way, not that it will. I hope I'm sharing with you that they can get a lot more latitude. So, that power of the purse has to return. OK. We also have to do our job. In the national emergency, would you be surprised to find out that once upon--once a declaration of a national emergency occurs, that Congress, must/shall, no later than six months later, convene to decide whether to continue that national emergency or kill it. I dropped that bill twice. Ms. Pelosi killed it twice. So, the magic about this is that once you start the process, it has to go through. It's a privileged motion. So, we've actually enabled our Senate minority to actually take this up, because we've already passed it out of the House. So, play smarter, not harder. The appropriations process is going to be the big fight. You have a debt ceiling and you have these appropriations. Finding these programs, rules, agencies that are not authorized by Congress is a good step in the right direction. Because we have to get back the levity of equal justice under the law. We've been asleep at the wheel for a long period of time, folks. We saw this in the Obama Administration, the Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, countless. Who's paid the penalty for it? Nobody's paid the penalty for it. That they can do this to a President. They throw everything at him, and not one thing has been found on the guy. That's one of the founding principles that's failing now in our Republic. So, trust is a series of promises kept. I hope that you'll look at us, and when appropriations season comes, they told us they were going to march up there. They were going to get the power of the purse, because maybe we could earn your trust again. I'm going to end, because I'm a person of accountability. I do animes, I take full responsibility for those things. So, I believe that there has to be a personal touch to this. So, let me go through the roster of who's not here: Mr. Nadler from New York, Ms. Lofgren from California, Ms. Jackson Lee from Texas, Mr. Cohen from Tennessee, Mr. Johnson from Georgia, Mr. Schiff from California, Mr. Cicilline from Rhode Island, Mr. Swalwell from California, Mr. Lieu from California, Ms. Jayapal from Washington, Mr. Correa from California, Ms. McBath from Georgia, Ms. Dean from Pennsylvania, Ms. Escobar from Texas, Ms. Ross from North Carolina, Ms. Bush from Missouri, and Mr. Ivey from Maryland. Until we start putting names and holding people accountable, we are not going to get anywhere close to our goal. We, the people. Thank you, gentlemen. I thank you, Chair, for the privilege of sitting in and charging in your parade. Chair Jordan. Thank you. The gentleman yields back. Thank you, Paul. [Applause.] I would just close, I'll remind everyone it's a great country. My favorite scripture Verse 2, Timothy 4:7. Paul is the old guy giving advice to the young guy Timothy, and he says what? Fight the good fight, finish the course, keep the faith. I tell people I love that verse because of the action in it. It's not a sissy, wimpy verse, it's an American verse. Words of actions. Americans aren't timid people. We are people who get the job done. We fight, we finish, we keep faith with the principles that made our country special. That verse characterizes this community, and we have so appreciated your hospitality over the last 24 hours. The mayor, the supervisor, hospital administrator, sheriff, and everyone else we've had a chance to visit with, the Border Patrol agents, law enforcement, first responders, all the folks we've got a chance to visit with. You are living that verse here, and we appreciate it, and we owe you that same kind of commitment in the U.S. Congress. You pay our salary. We're supposed to fight for you. Your two guys from Arizona are definitely doing that. The rest of us need to do the same, and we pledge to you that we will. We understand how serious this situation is. I'll finish with this final story. I share this all the time because it had an impact on my wife and me. This is probably 10-12 years ago. We live north of Dayton, Ohio, near the town of Urbana, and about 12 years ago we had some good friends of ours in Dayton said, are you guys free for dinner. It was the summertime of the year. They said, ``yes, well, come down, we're going to meet us down here at our place in the Dayton area, we're going to go out to dinner.'' They said, ``before we go to dinner, we're going to tour the Wright brothers' home,'' and we said, ``great. We like history, we like, seeing that. We live in the house we raised our family, it was built in 1837, and we liked old things and history,'' and said, ``sure.'' So, we go down there. We pay the lady at the door with the historical society, like, $5, and they take you on the tour of this home, and you learn all kinds of neat things about these two amazing Americans. You learn about the bicycle shop, you learn about the things they tinkered and built and the stuff they did and all the things they were into, and it's a fascinating tour. The tour ends in Wilbur Wright's bedroom, and they tell you a few more things about this particular Wright brother. Then they finish the tour by showing you two pictures. First picture they hold up was that very first flight, 1903, and this thing they called a plane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. When you see that picture, your first thought was, wow, how did that thing get off the ground? How did that contraption fly? The truth is, it barely did. It flew like a hundred feet, got like 10-12 feet off the ground. They show you that picture, and you're like, OK, that's kind of neat, because you sort of remember that from when they taught you that in school, 7th or 8th grade, whenever you learned that. You're like, OK, that's kind of neat. They put that picture down, and then they hold up a second picture--1947, Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in a jet. I was like, wow, that I didn't know. I must not have been paying attention that day in school or something. I didn't know that. I'm thinking, that's amazing, in 44 years, we go from two guys flying a hundred feet in this jalopy contraption of a thing they called a plane to another great American breaking the sound barrier in a jet. It's amazing. They put that picture down. That was the end of the tour. Polly and I start walking out, and as we're walking out, I thought, wait a minute, wait a minute, why did they stop there? I represent Wapakoneta, Ohio, hometown of Neil Armstrong, who 22 years later stepped on the moon. Think about it. Sixty-six years, we go from two guys flying a hundred feet, to another American stepping on the moon. One lifetime. One lifetime, this country did that. I would argue, no other country is capable of doing that, only this Nation, the greatest country ever. You can't fault people for wanting to come here. They just got to do it legally, and that's what we're going to fight for and make sure the law is enforced. Thank you all very much. Our Committee is adjourned. [Whereupon, at 6:10 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
Transcript: THE BIDEN BORDER CRISIS: PART III
Not available upon printing of this article.
- Ms. Teresa KennySupervisor, Town of Orangetown, New YorkKenny Bio [PDF 61KB]Kenny Testimony [PDF 568KB]Kenny Truth in Testimony [PDF 869KB]
- Mrs. Tammy NoblesRealtor, Norfolk, VirginiaNobles Bio [PDF 89KB]Nobles Testimony [PDF 118KB]Nobles Truth in Testimony [PDF 296KB]
- Mr. Rodney ScottDistinguished Senior Fellow for Border Security, Texas Public Policy FoundationScott Bio [PDF 599KB]Scott Testimony [PDF 449KB]Scott Truth in Testimony [PDF 325KB]
- Mr. Mark HetfieldCEO, HIASHetfield Bio [PDF 4MB]Hetfield Testimony [PDF 874KB]Hetfield Truth in Testimony [PDF 508KB]
- Article titled, “What Everyone – Except the U.S. – Has Learned About Immigration”, submitted for the Record by Mr. Correa of CA [PDF 136KB]
- Statement from the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, submitted for the Record by Ms. Jayapal of WA [PDF 1MB]
- Statement from the National Immigration Forum, submitted for the Record by Ms. Jayapal of WA [PDF 585KB]
- Statement from the Church World Service, submitted for the Record by Ms. Jayapal of WA [PDF 111KB]
- Article from TIME titled, “How the Biden Administration Plans to Deal with the Looming Border Crisis”, submitted for the Record by Ms. Jackson Lee of TX [PDF 1MB]
- Hearing statement, submitted for the Record by Ms. Jackson Lee of TX [PDF 1MB]
- Article from CNN titled, “Biden Admin to Send 1,500 Troops to Southern Border for Support Roles Ahead of Expected Migrant Surge”, submitted for the Record by Ms. Jackson Lee of TX [PDF 1MB]
- Email regarding HHS Case File, submitted for the Record by Ms. Jayapal of WA [PDF 962KB]
- Slides showing Tweets from different House Republicans, submitted for the Record by Mr. Nadler of NY [PDF 388KB]
- Washington Post article titled, “Border Crossings Down, but Many Migrants Released to U.S. to Ease Crowding”, submitted for the Record by Mr. Biggs of AZ [PDF 117KB]
- New York Times article titled, “Biden Opens a New Back Door on Immigration”, submitted for the Record by Mr. Biggs of AZ [PDF 224KB]
- Breitbart article titled, “Human Smuggler Drops Pre-School-Age Child over California Border Wall”, submitted for the Record by Mr. Biggs of AZ [PDF 113KB]
- Breitbart article titled, “Georgia Democrat Slams Party for Favoring Migrants over Americans”, submitted for the Record by Mr. Biggs of AZ [PDF 165KB]
- Biden admin neglected sex-offender checks when placing migrant children with sponsors: Inspector General
- Fighting human trafficking and battling Biden's open border
- OPINION: Human trafficking escalates at border with Mexico – Santa Barbara News-Press
- BREAKING NEWS (video from Forbes): HHS Whistleblower Claims US Government Is ‘Middleman' In Child Trafficking Operation