Madam Chair, thank you for yielding.
First, I want to thank the subcommittee chair, Ms. Roybal-Allard, and the ranking member, Mr. Fleischmann, for their work on this Homeland Security appropriations bill. It’s a very important bill, and I know you have put a lot of work into this.
I know that you both work extremely hard to find common ground. Unfortunately, there are just too many differences of opinions in this year’s bill, and I am going to have to oppose it in its current form.
To put it simply, the bill before us today proposes funding levels and policies that fail to address the illegal immigration crisis we are currently experiencing in this country.
If we are going to get serious about stopping migrants from making the dangerous journey to the United States, then we cannot include some of the things in this bill, such as:
- Limiting ICE detention to no more than 20 days;
- Allowing non-profit organizations, not ICE, to be responsible for migrants;
- Stopping funds for a border wall; and
- Making minimal investments in technology to detect those who continue to cross the border illegally.
These types of policies give the cartels free rein to continue smuggling and trafficking.
We truly have a crisis on our hands. In May, more than 180,000 people were processed after coming into the United States illegally in that one month.
While many were returned to Mexico, others were simply released into our country. We need to be aware of what is most troubling, and that is D.H.S. has admitted they are not effectively tracking people once they move beyond the border.
This is also difficult to believe, but ICE officers have actually been directed to stop enforcing immigration laws against those who are living inside this country illegally.
We need to address this crisis, and we need to move a Homeland Security appropriations bill that provides resources to enforce the law, rather than undermine it.
If we don’t, the cartels will continue getting richer, and border communities and migrants will all pay the price.
I urge my colleagues to consider the amendments our side of the aisle will offer today so that we can keep our border and our nation safe.
In closing, I would like to thank all of the subcommittee members and the staff for their hard work on this bill, specifically our majority clerk, Darek Newby, and our minority clerk, Dena Baron.
Dena will soon be retiring after more than 25 years of wonderful service, and most of her time has been with this committee. She has served with distinction as clerk of multiple subcommittees, and she has made many sacrifices.
We will have a cake and a toast after the Defense markup this afternoon to thank Dena for her service. This will be in room 1036 of Longworth where lunch will be served. I hope you all are able to make it and tell her how much we’ll miss her and how much regard we have for her.
Thank you, Madam Chair. I yield back.
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