EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mark Green stands near a ridge in El Paso overlooking Juarez, Mexico, and reflects on how the average American is largely unaware of how many migrants have come across the border illegally in the past two years.
“Four-point-seven million is where we are in terms of encounters and 1.2 million got-aways,” says U.S. Rep. Green, R-Tennessee, chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security. “To put it in perspective, half of the states in the United States are smaller than the number of people who have come in two years.”
Green and several of the Republican members of the committee were in El Paso on Friday to meet with Border Patrol officials and others who could shed light on why the numbers have shot up so dramatically since Joe Biden took office as president.
What they learned is that the movement of migrants across borders in the Western Hemisphere is largely controlled by transnational criminal organizations who are telling prospective migrants that U.S. borders are now open. These drug cartels are not only making a killing by smuggling tons of potentially deadly fentanyl pills into the United States but are now deriving most of their income from migrant trafficking.
“What we were told today is they’re charging an average of $10,000 per person, $50,000 if they come from China and $35,000 from Iran,” Green said. “Border Patrol says the cartels are making more money smuggling people than they are with the drugs.”
Most migrants don’t have that kind of money to begin with, so even in the United States they become indentured to the cartels who expect payment under the threat of harming the migrants’ relatives in their home countries.
Committee members blame that on President Biden’s policies and on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Some members vowed to hold impeachment hearings on Mayorkas in weeks to come.
“Secretary Mayorkas has taken it upon himself to disregard American immigration law. They do not follow the law and we have a catastrophe and consequences of it from which every American is in danger,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-North Carolina. “We have a new Congress; we have a Republican majority that is prepared to require accountability from Secretary Mayorkas. We are going to begin a series of hearings, taking transcribed interviews from witnesses and the like, and at the right time, we’re going to bring (him) in.”
Others called on Mayorkas to “save the nation the pain” of impeachment hearings and just resign. “We are clearly going to lay out the case for his impeachment over the coming months,” said U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Louisiana.
Mayorkas has previously said he will not resign.
Higgins, who has a background in law enforcement, said U.S. border agents as recently as in 2019 had clear control of the Southwestern border. The agents are just as capable as they were four years ago and have as good or better equipment and technology, but are now working with “one hand tied behind their back,” House members said.
“Law enforcement on the American side is the only thing that stops the cartels from having total control of the 1,954 miles of border,” Higginis said. “What has changed since President Biden was inaugurated is policy. These guys (border agents) need to be allowed to enforce existing laws.”
Green said the committee plans to continue visiting the Southwest border so that newly elected members speak first-hand with the men and women charged with safeguarding that border and to solicit feedback for a border security bill in the making.