WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), joined by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, held a roundtable discussion at which they heard directly from law enforcement experts and victims of the administration’s reckless immigration policies.
The senators held the roundtable amid an unprecedented surge in illegal crossings at our southern border and the Biden administration’s failure to address the crisis created by its decision to dismantle the previous administration’s policies with no replacement or consideration for how it would incentivize migration.
Highlights from the roundtable are below and full video is available here.
Rodney Scott, Former Chief U.S. Border Patrol:
“This administration has really walked away from border security. And they have left the personnel, not just Border Patrol, but Customs and Border Protection, ICE, … are just left hanging. The laws are still in place. If they try to enforce those laws as they swore by oath to do, then they are facing the wrath of the current administration.”
“The horse patrol issue in Del Rio, for example, was a distraction. Everybody knew, the secretary — if you look at his initial statements — he knew those agencies did nothing wrong. But they leverage that to draw attention away from their horrible border polices, in a crisis they created, and tried to draw attention to something that wasn’t even true. So I am very worried about those agents behind.”
“We surrounded the Capitol with several layers of fence but we don't believe in barriers? The White House is surrounded by a fence — we don't believe in barriers? Every playground in the United States is surrounded by a fence but we don't believe in barriers? It's just silly, so the border wall works, barriers work. Why does it work? It lets that individual agent that you, the taxpayer, are paying for every minute they're on shift.”
Mark Morgan, Former Acting Commissioner Customs and Border Protection:
“We do not need another country’s permission to secure our border and enforce our immigration laws. So first and foremost that is the position we took, one of strength and one of leverage. So, yeah, a significant reason why Mexico agreed to cooperate is with the threat of tariffs, make no mistake. And this administration, as Senator Johnson said, they gave away every ounce of leverage on day one with a stroke of a political pen. So it is going to be hard to put the genie back in the bottle.”
Thomas Homan, Former Director Immigration and Customs Enforcement:
“The biggest difference between the Trump administration and the Biden administration was the Trump administration talked to the experts. President Trump, he talked to the Border Patrol agents: ‘What do you need on the border?’ and the wall came up. So, it wasn’t Trump’s wall. It was American’s wall, and the Border Patrol agents needed it. And the data was clear on the wall. So, when Jen Psaki stands at the White House and said we stopped building the wall because of ineffectiveness, it was a lie. The data is clear: Every place they built a border barrier, illegal immigration went down, illegal drugs went down, and Chief Scott said it had great success in San Diego.”
“These policies are being written by activist, open-borders people. (President Biden) is not talking to the guys, the men and women that have spent decades fighting this, standing on the border and enforcing immigration laws. That is the biggest difference. You can see by talking to the experts who is more successful on shutting down and securing our borders. To the highest degree it was President Trump.”
“As hard for me as it is to say, we now have a president — the first president in my lifetime — that came into office and intentionally unsecured the border. Incredible. And the secretary of homeland security is right there, shoulder to shoulder with him. A secretary of homeland security who has not taken one step to slow the flow. The president of the United States came in with the most secure border of my lifetime, the data’s clear on that. And he purposely unsecured the border and gave this country less protection.”
Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies for the Center for Immigration Studies
“I think the most consequential costs to communities is the disruption to the labor market, because the illegal border crossers are coming here primarily to work. I estimate that since January, this border crisis probably has added more than 700,000 new workers to the labor market, counting both the caught and released migrants and the got-aways, and they tend to be concentrated in certain parts of the country, primarily affecting those labor markets, and we can identify as I said, 15 counties where about 30% of the new migrants have settled, which includes Houston, Dallas, the D.C. metro area, Long Island, Miami and Palm Beach, Los Angeles, Nashville and Charlotte.”
Virginia Krieger, president of The Fentanyl Awareness Coalition, who lost her daughter to a fentanyl overdose:
“A death curve that was stable for 50 years has gone completely nonlinear, including hundreds of thousands of users’ deaths, Eddie, Amanda, Devon, McKenzie, my daughter Tiffany. And countless others. Our coalition includes thousands of people who want you to know their children did not overdose. They were poisoned. When anyone ingests a harmful substance as something else, or puts it into something without their knowledge, it’s a poisoning, not an overdose.”
Sabine Durden-Coulter, who lost her son to a car crash caused by an illegal immigrant:
“I passed Kalama Harris’s office, and they had a sign out in Spanish welcoming dreamers. I had my son’s picture, he was a dreamer, and I walked in. They looked at my son and said, ‘Oh, what a handsome guy, who is he?’ I said, ‘He is my son. He is a dead dreamer now. He was killed by an illegal alien.’ Within two minutes, some guys came from the back and told me if I don’t leave, they will call Capitol Police. So the same team that works for someone that is supposed to be a border czar, in charge of this, threw an Angel Mom out of her office … And Kalama Harris — I can’t even give her the title — she was supposed to bring change. While most of us knew that was just a title. She has no time to talk to any of us. She has no time to talk to the people in charge at the border. And unless people are held accountable for what they do, because we are all held accountable for anything we do; if I don’t wear my mask out there, I am held accountable, but yet we let all these illegals in. The buck stops with them: Biden, Harris, Mayorkas.”