Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson blasted federal border officials over the surge in illegal immigration during a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee hearing Wednesday.
Johnson’s criticism centered around Border Patrol Chief of Law Enforcement Operations David BeMiller’s testimony that agents are recording an average of 6,500 illegal migrant apprehensions per day.
Wednesday’s hearing centered around the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) handling of migrants apprehended since Title 42, the Trump-era expulsion policy, ended in May.
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“And we cannot get Secretary Mayorkas to say that’s a crisis, won’t even say that’s a problem. He calls it a challenge And I noted in a number of your testimonies, you kept talking about efficiency. You’re sitting here in this sedate hearing setting, it’d almost seem like we’ve got this under control. This is completely out of control, isn’t it?” Johnson said.
“What data do you have, do you keep cause they don’t share it very readily with us? In terms of the number of people who have been encountered, processed, dispersed, how many people do we know are known gotaways, what’s the estimate of unknown gotaways, do you have that for the first two and a half years of the Biden administration, do you have an estimate of that?” Johnson asked.
BeMiller responded that he didn’t know the number of migrants who’ve evaded apprehension during the Biden administration, while Johnson said the the number is 5 million.
“Chief BeMiller, do you believe that’s a crisis? Do you believe that’s under control?” Johnson asked.
“So, not getting too tied up into the semantics of the situation, we are in a situation that is pressing our resources,” BeMiller said.
BeMiller said that agents are largely processing illegal migrants in their facilities, leaving the southern border largely unmanned.
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“This is completely out of control and we need to say it’s out of control. We need to recognize the reality here,” Johnson said, adding, “You lack resources because illegal immigration is completely out of control.”
“They are processing far too much. Recently, we attended a muster with the agents, they need better vehicles to get out to the remote areas,” BeMiller said.
Johnson then blamed the Biden administration for the lack of manpower and low morale at the southern border. “They need control of the border. They need an administration who’s dedicated to controlling the border,” Johnson said.
“It’s a completely open border. It’s completely out of control and we need to call it what it is, it’s an open border. This has to stop, this is not what a sovereign country can sustain,” Johnson said.
Border Patrol has recorded more than 1.6 million illegal migrant encounters nationwide in the first ten months of fiscal year 2023 and more than 2.2 million in fiscal year 2022, according to Customs and Border Protection.
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