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Subcommittee Chairman Bishop: “The Biden Administration’s Failed Policies Embolden Criminal Organizations to Exploit the Northern Border”

March 28, 2023

Subcommittee Chairman Bishop: “The Biden Administration’s Failed Policies Embolden Criminal Organizations to Exploit the Northern Border”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability Chairman Dan Bishop (R-NC) delivered the following opening statement during a hearing to examine the worsening crisis at our Northern border.

The full hearing is livestreamed on the Committee’s YouTube and website.

Watch Subcommittee Chairman Bishop’s full opening statement during a hearing entitled, “Biden’s Growing Border Crisis: Death, Drugs, and Disorder on the Northern Border.”


The subject matter of this hearing is a testament to the fact that the damage of poor decisions tends to compound in unexpected ways.

While the historic crisis at our Southwest border warrants primary focus, the disastrous consequences of the Biden-Mayorkas open border policies have spread to our once-secure northern border as well.

While the northern border has terraneous areas, other areas, unlike the southern border, offer suburban and easy access for illegal migrant crossings.

The influx of illegal aliens has multiplied rapidly in that area. It’s overwhelming Customs and Border Protection, local law enforcement, and local communities.

The Biden Administration’s failed policies embolden criminal organizations to exploit the northern border, smuggling people, including children, drugs, and weapons over the northern border.

Sadly, since just March 10th, the Swanton Sector alone, that touches on New Hampshire,  Vermont, and New York’s northern border, has seen 28 children all under age 14 crossing the northern border in extremely cold and snowy conditions.

Just last week, authorities busted 17 illegal aliens from Nicaragua and Guatemala in one stash house in Lisbon, Maine. Two of them were previously removed from the country and four previously crossed the southern border.

Meanwhile, due to the crisis at the southwest border, Secretary Mayorkas surged resources away from other areas critical to homeland security – including the northern border.

There are now fewer than 2,000 Border Patrol agents to cover the 3,145-mile land border, more than twice the size of the southwest border in terms of geography.

In 2022, Secretary Mayorkas sent over 20 percent of the northern border workforce to help at the southwest border. Some remaining agents were tasked with remotely processing aliens in Texas.

Now, the Administration is doing an about-face, recently detailing 25 additional officers to the overwhelmed northern border.

Customs and Border Protection morale is suffering – agents work long hours in extreme conditions and are exposed to death, crime, and suffering.

The northern border is experiencing a huge increase in illegal migrant encounters. In the Swanton sector alone, that same one I just mentioned, there has been over an 800 percent increase since the last fiscal year. While the numbers are not as large in absolute terms, the growth is astonishing.

Smugglers take advantage of aliens, leaving them in treacherous conditions. Just last year, an Indian family of four, including two young children, were left to freeze to death at the northern border after being abandoned by a smuggler.

The influx of illegal aliens also leaves the U.S. susceptible to terrorism and crime. In the last six months, Border Patrol apprehended an illegal alien listed in the Terrorist Screening Data Set between northern border ports of entry. At ports of entry, 176 individuals in the data set have been apprehended this fiscal year at the northern border. That figure compares to 38 at the southern border.

The Biden Administration admits that transnational criminal organizations take advantage of the northern border terrain to traffic drugs, weapons, and illicit proceeds over the border.

The current crisis is giving those organizations the green light. Enough fentanyl came over the northern border in FY22 and FY23 to kill 3.4 million Americans.

Federal officials estimate that they are only seizing five to ten percent of all drugs smuggled across the southwest border. With far less manpower in the north, over a much larger border, including much of these areas of rough, terraneous areas, it’s daunting to imagine what narcotics are coming over the northern border that we do not specifically know about.

Every state is a border state, and local communities, especially on the northern border are struggling to keep up.

Local police departments along the northern border lack the resources and equipment to effectively patrol their jurisdictions, especially without the help of the CBP agents who were sent to the southern border.

Local businesses cannot accommodate the groups of aliens that congregate in their lobbies, looking for shelter and rides to their final destinations. These communities need reprieve.

President Biden’s open border policies and Secretary Mayorkas’ refusal to enforce our nation’s laws has jeopardized national security at the U.S.-Canada border and the operational readiness of Border Patrol agents.

Just two weeks ago, in front of us in McAllen, Texas, if some of our folks on the other side of the aisle had been present, the Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol acknowledged in his testimony that we do not have operational control of the southern border and in many places it’s not secure. And that it is the consequence of Biden Administration policies. Well, the same problem in different ways is manifesting itself at the northern border.

We will hold President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas accountable for this metastasizing crisis.