Katko: The Biden Administration Has Created an Untenable Situation
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, spoke on the House Floor in support of H.R. 471, the Protecting Americans from Unnecessary Spread upon Entry from COVID-19 Act.
Ranking Member Katko’s Remarks (as prepared for delivery)
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the Previous Question and in support of H.R. 471, the Protecting Americans from Unnecessary Spread upon Entry from COVID–19 Act.
This week, I joined Leader McCarthy and several of my colleagues at a meeting with the Border Patrol Council to discuss the crisis at the southern border.
Just as we predicted, the number of daily border encounters has been trending drastically upwards since President Biden took office in January 2021.
The Biden administration has created an untenable situation – from which it may take several years to recover.
The irresponsible decision to roll back Title 42 public health authority, the halting of border wall construction, the lack of support for frontline law enforcement personnel, the undermining of the Migrant Protection Protocols, and the total absence of a long-term border security plan have all only made matters worse.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is now seeing over 7,000 encounters daily and the Department of Homeland Security is said to be bracing for a significant mass influx of nearly 18,000 migrants daily when Title 42 ends.
As the U.S. finally gets a handle on managing the spread of new variants and moves steadily toward a post-pandemic recovery, now is not the time to end the use of Title 42 and jeopardize all that progress – especially as numerous countries continue to struggle with the rapid spread of COVID-19 and strengthening variants.
The very purpose of Title 42 is to prevent the introduction of dangerous communicable diseases into American communities. We should be doubling down on protecting our communities and economy from health threats, not weakening them.
Our border security and immigration system cannot handle any more pull factors as the Biden Administration has proven unwilling to secure our southern border.
As we are witnessing, the administration continues to strip every tool for managing the border crisis away from frontline law enforcement.
Transnational criminal organizations and drug cartels are taking full advantage by highlighting the weak border security posture of the administration, while profiting from this crisis.
The administration continues to roll back commonsense border security measures, thereby feeding into a false narrative for would-be migrants and encouraging them to come to the United States to seek asylum.
Many migrants who make the dangerous journey to the United States will not be eligible under the law for asylum, forcing them to seek other ways to enter into the United States.
We know for a fact that cartels control who crosses the U.S.-Mexico border. They charge migrants exorbitant fees knowing that some will never be able to repay – leading many of the migrants with only one option – to work off their fees. This work often leads them into a trafficking situation here in the United States.
Drugs, such as fentanyl, methamphetamine, and other fentanyl-laced drugs are pouring across the southern border and destroying our communities – ending the lives of thousands of Americans every year.
This has got to stop.
I appreciate the focus of my colleagues on this critical homeland security issue, especially my colleague from New Mexico, who knows firsthand the impact that the border crisis is having on our communities.
Thank you, I yield back.
Watch his full remarks here.