Rogers Opening Statement at ICE Response to Covid-19 Hearing

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WASHINGTON – Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) – House Homeland Security Committee ranking member – today delivered an opening statement at a Border Security, Facilitation, and Operations Subcommittee hearing entitled, “Oversight of ICE Detention Facilities: Examining ICE Contractors’ Response to COVID-19.”

 

Rogers’ remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I want to thank Chairman Thompson for the use of the Committee room.

We wish all Members were here with us today.

This Congress, the Majority has made a habit of declining to invite or refusing to accommodate critical government fact witnesses.

Today is no different. 

The Majority failed to invite ICE to answer questions about its detention policies.

I’m increasingly concerned that this is a concerted tactic to avoid having experienced senior officials from DHS at our hearings to counteract increasingly left-wing narratives.

On the subject of today’s hearing, I remind the Majority that just last year they called the migrant surge at the border a “Fake Emergency” even as the crisis reached its peak.

House Democrats waited more than half a year to vote on much needed emergency funding for the border crisis.

And what they did send came up short: Not one, single dollar for Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention capacity.

ICE requested over $300 million to modernize and improve its detention capacity to meet the spike in demand, and the Majority didn’t send a dime.

Meanwhile Customs and Border Protection was forced to release migrants straight into border communities.

Maybe that was the goal of this Majority.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the calls for open borders are seeping into the mainstream Democrat Party platform.

Contractors like the ones before us today have helped meet the government’s detention needs.

They are often derided for simply partnering with the Federal government to carry out the laws of the land. 

These contracts have existed under both Democrat and Republican Administrations.

During the current COVID-19 crisis, ICE and its detention partners have worked together to reduce the number of individuals in custody.

They have taken measures that go beyond CDC guidance to adapt to new safety protocols and cleaning procedures.

They’ve also provided safe accommodations for those with final removal orders or criminal convictions whose release would endanger our communities.

The border crisis and the COVID-19 crisis are two sides of the same coin.

I question how the Majority can neglect its duty to fund ICE last year and again this year.,

The border crisis and its lack of funding foreshadows the COVID-19 health crisis.

Willfully underfunding ICE to make a political point to the base of the Democratic party will have profound impacts on migrants drawn here by our broken immigration system.

Failing to invest in agencies that enforce our immigration laws has broad consequences.

I hope the Majority finally realizes their continued efforts to defund ICE have lasting consequences before we have to repeat this hearing again during the next crisis.

Thank you, I yield back.

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