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The Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs held a hearing titled, “The Consequences of Catch and Release at the Border.” Members discussed with subject matter experts how the Biden Administration’s policy of catch and release and erosion of interior enforcement have led to an out-of-control situation along the U.S. southern border. Members also discussed the costs incurred by communities and American taxpayers due to millions of poorly vetted illegal aliens entering the United States.

Key Takeaways:

The Biden Administration has failed to detain most illegal aliens during removal proceedings, releasing over 75 percent of illegal aliens encountered by Border Patrol in December 2023. In addition, the Administration has failed to remove most of the illegal aliens encountered during Joe Biden’s presidency.

  • Ms. Jessica Vaughan—Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies—spoke on the costs associated with allowing in millions of illegal aliens within the United States that is being inflicted upon American taxpayers: “The cost to taxpayers of providing services to the illegal migrants President Biden has waved into the country has already run into the tens of billions of dollars, and promises to balloon even higher the longer the migrants remain the in country. The short-term costs include expenditures for the migrants to be processed and transported to their destinations, and then for shelter, health care, schooling, criminal justice costs, and more. The federal government has spent several billion dollars in contracts and grants awarded by CBP, ICE, FEMA, and HHS. Many of these were outlined in a comprehensive report prepared by the House Committee on Homeland Security.”

The backlog of fear-based claims and adjudication delays for non-detained aliens have incentivized hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens to file frivolous or legally insufficient claims to obtain work authorization and to buy time in the U.S. This is causing a massive influx of illegal aliens in communities across the U.S.

  • Mr. Matt O’Brien—Director of Investigations at the Immigration Reform Law Institute—discussed how illegal aliens and the cartels facilitating them are gaming the Biden Administration’s poor policies at the border and overwhelming U.S. immigration law: “In essence, what asylum seekers who advance these types of asylum requests are doing is asking the Immigration Courts of the United States to function as the district courts for Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, etc. This is ridiculous. It undermines the integrity of the Immigration Courts and makes a mockery of our legal system. Domestic violence and gang crime are a scourge upon all the societies where they occur. However, they are crimes that should be handled under the domestic law of the territories where they occur. Sovereign nations, such as those in Central and South America have an obligation to prosecute crimes committed within their dominions and the United States should not be responsible for providing their citizens with redress.”

Member Highlights:

Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs Chairman Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) examined the differences between the Biden Administration and past Administrations in enforcing removal policies against illegal immigrants who commit crimes within the United States.

Rep. Grothman: “Has the rigor with which we enforce these rules, has this changed between the Trump or even Obama Administration, versus President Biden’s?”

Mr. O’Brien: “Yeah, it has changed significantly. There seems to be significantly less willingness under this Administration to use the administrative and expedited removal procedures, where in if people have been removed from the United States after committing a crime and fine themselves back here, they can actually be removed without a hearing. I also found that when I was an immigration judge, I later tried to determine how many of the people that I had ordered removed, that the removal had actually been effectuated from the United States, which was something that was fairly easy to do under prior Administration’s. But I could not substantiate a single individual that I had entered an order of removal against had actually been removed by this Administration.”

Rep. Grothman: “That is shocking.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) discussed how agencies tasked with running background checks on illegal aliens entering the United States are completely overwhelmed by the volume of border crossers and are unable to properly vet these individuals who are released into the U.S.

Rep. Foxx: “Since January of 2021, the Biden Administration has released nearly 3.5 million people into the United States and is threatening to release thousands more for purely political reasons. In your opinion, is it possible thoroughly to vet people who may pose a threat to the United States when more than 1 million people are being released into the country on the annual basis?”

Mr. O’Brien: “No, it’s not possible at all. I actually ran the vetting program at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, none of the agencies have the capacity to vet people in those numbers. Even more importantly, vetting is something that happens because people have a background that can be traced. In the Unites States, from the time we’re born till the time we die, we’re laying down paper trail transactions…all of those things can be used to substantiate somebody’s identity. When you’re talking about someone coming from a rural village in Guatemala or places like Yemen, there aren’t any records like that. They don’t exist.”

Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-Kan.) discussed how illegal aliens, knowing that they will be caught and released upon entry to the United States, have driven record profits for cartel smuggling operations and further incentivized illegal crossings.

Rep. LaTurner: “In your testimony, you talked about the profiting of the drug cartels and other transnational organizations, talk about how the Biden Administration’s policies have contributed to the enrichment of these criminal groups.”

Ms. Vaughan: “The policies entice migrants to come here, to pay money to criminal organizations because they know that they are going to be released into the country, allowed to stay indefinitely, with almost no threat of enforcement or being sent back home if they don’t comply with their immigration proceedings. The cartels are making more money from human smuggling now than they are from drug smuggling. They are nimble enough to adapt their business model to our loose policies at the border.”

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) explained how illegal immigrants incentivized by the policies of the Biden Administration are not just coming from Mexico and western hemisphere countries, but all corners of the globe.

Rep. Biggs: “The last time I was down in Lukeville (Arizona), it wasn’t just western hemisphere folks. I went up and talked to some of them and said ‘where are you from?’. ‘Senegal.’ ‘How about you?’ ‘Burkina Faso.’ ‘How about you?’ ‘Guinea.’ ‘Where are you going?’ They pull out a laminated cards with phone numbers and addresses and say ‘I’m going to the Bronx.’… that is a crisis and chaos.”

Author: Press Release


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