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The Guest Column: What I Saw At The Border

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What I Saw At the Southwest Border

Over the weekend, I joined Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security (CHS) John Katko (R-NY) and other CHS Members on a trip to the southwest
border to visit an immigrant processing facility, a port of entry, and other immigration-related infrastructure, personnel, and law enforcement.

What I found was a situation that is far worse than I initially expected. On the very first night, we encountered a group of about a dozen immigrants
walking down an old dirt path looking for the processing facility in order to turn themselves over to border patrol. One of the men in the group
was carrying a little girl that he claimed to be his daughter. After border patrol officers indicated they would perform a DNA check, he admitted
he had no relation to the little girl. She is here now, in an unknown land.

Unfortunately, cartels are profiting from human trafficking. We heard estimates that a cartel made as much as $400 million through the trafficking
of humans in February alone. Many innocent children, just like the little girl I saw in the arms of a stranger, will be used as a sort of passport,
hoping agents will allow them to stay in America if they claim to have a child. This is just one of the many ways Biden Administration policies
are backfiring.

We also learned that cartels have been active in the drug trade as well, with border agents seeing a 131 percent increase in guns, a 187 percent
increase in cocaine, a 63 percent increase in heroin, and a staggering 2,067 percent increase in fentanyl seized by agents in fiscal year 2021.
We also learned that the number of weapons seized by agents more than doubled. There is no way to know exactly how successful cartels are in smuggling
these materials, but we know a couple of factors that could contribute. First, while agents respond to groups of migrants traveling across the
border, cartels are able to subvert unmanned areas and enter the United States. Second, almost 40 percent of agents are now tasked with the transportation
of immigrants, greatly reducing the number of law enforcement available for combatting cartel activities.

One thing we do know is that this is no coincidence. This is not a typical occurrence, as President Biden has claimed. We are facing the largest
surge of immigration in over 20 years according to President Biden’s own Homeland Security Secretary, and it is directly tied to this administration’s
executive orders and rhetoric. I encourage the President and Vice-President Harris to do what so many Members of Congress have done in the last
few weeks — travel to the border and see for themselves what is happening.

If you missed my updates on Facebook, you can view all my photos and videos from the trip below.

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“I’m outside a processing facility in Donna, Texas. Last week this facility contained over 5,000 children — over 2,000 percent over-capacity. As the situation along the southwest border continues to deteriorate, the [Biden] Administration must act immediately to address this crisis.”

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“Behind me is an unfinished portion of the wall on the southwest border. Not only has President Biden’s decision to stop construction cost the American people tens of millions of dollars, but it has also contributed to the humanitarian and immigration crisis occurring on the border.”

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“Here on the border along with Members of the Homeland Security Committee. Directly behind me is the Mexican border. We are along paths that many immigrants take as they come into our country. We have seen the growing surge of illegal immigration along the southwest border and we are here to help find answers.”

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Members of the Committee on Homeland Security preparing for a ride along with law enforcement. Find more photos of the visit by clicking here.

 

Sincerely,

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Michael Guest

Member of Congress