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Fleischmann Discusses Challenges of CBP in Addressing Border Crisis

July 24, 2019
Press Release

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), Top Republican on the House Appropriations Homeland Security subcommittee, delivered the following opening remarks during a subcommittee hearing with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost. Congressman Fleischmann’s remarks discuss the challenges CBP agents face when addressing the crisis at our southern border.

Congressman Fleischmann’s opening remarks can be found below or here.

 

 

Prepared remarks can be found below.

“Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.

Chief Provost, thank you for being here to testify today on the challenges you and your agents are facing at our Southwest Border.  This is an important hearing and I hope my colleagues welcome the chance to hear directly from the Border Patrol about the numbers of people arriving at the U.S. and why there are so many people at the border stations.

This fiscal year alone, your agents have processed more people than reside in the State of Wyoming.  Or the State of Vermont.  Perhaps by the end of July, it will be more than the District of Columbia, the State of Alaska, or North Dakota.  Those numbers are staggering. 

I was able to go to the border this year and see first-hand some of what your people are facing every day.  I know the situation has become more challenging every week as the numbers have increased.  And I know that the officers I met are dedicated people, doing their best, to rise to meet this crisis.  I was very impressed with their honesty and their dedication to the mission of C.B.P.

I think we all agree that camping out in an overcrowded border station office is not the best place for children.  That’s why H.H.S. is supposed to take those kids in as soon as they have a place available.  But when H.H.S. ran out of money, they couldn’t take the kids. 

Adults shouldn’t be camping out in overcrowded border stations, either.  I think we all agree with the IG’s findings – it’s not a safe situation for either the migrants or the Border Patrol Agents.  That’s why ICE is in charge of migrant detention in this country.  But, when ICE doesn’t have enough money or bed space, they can’t take the adults. 

What you’re left with is overcrowded border stations because the law doesn’t give you much choice.

The answer isn’t more tents and more meals.  We need to take a comprehensive approach to this problem to address the patchwork of laws, practices, rules, and rulings that make up today’s immigration and asylum structures.  Until we are willing to do that, I fear we will never really solve the humanitarian crisis we have today.  I hope everyone at this dais came to the hearing to solve problems.

Chief Provost, I thank you for meeting with me yesterday.  I learned a lot from our conversation.  Please pass along my gratitude to the men and women of the Border Patrol for their work. 

I’m very much looking forward to your testimony. 

Thank you, and I yield back my time.”

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