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Subcommittee Chairman Higgins Slams Biden Admin’s Use of the CBP One App: “Misleading By Design”

June 6, 2023

Subcommittee Chairman Higgins Slams Biden Admin’s Use of the CBP One App: “Misleading By Design” 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement Chairman Clay Higgins (R-LA) delivered the following opening remarks in a hearing to examine the Biden administration’s failure to prepare for the end of Title 42 on May 11.

Watch the full hearing here.

Watch Chairman Higgins’ full opening statement in a Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement hearing entitled,“Examining DHS’ Failure to Prepare for the Termination of Title 42.”

Good afternoon and welcome to the Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement hearing on Title 42 and the preparations leading up to Title 42. The purpose of today’s hearing is to examine what we perceive as the Department of Homeland Security’s failure to prepare for the termination of Title 42. We’re going to discuss that today. I welcome our witnesses, and I very much appreciate their professionalism and taking their time to be with us today.

However, I’m very disappointed that the Department of Homeland Security declined our request for a third witness, that being someone from senior chain with ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and we’re going to discuss why we believe that particular witness was withheld.

I’m also concerned that the witnesses’ written testimony was not made available to this Committee until late in the evening yesterday, rather late at night, well after normal business hours—despite the deadline for written testimony being last Friday. We’re going to inquire about that during the course of today’s hearing, because what we seek, the truth, on this Committee requires transparency and cooperative effort. When we have a deadline for written testimony, that’s when we expect to receive the written testimony. I suspect that our panelists provided that testimony but it was slow-rolled by the department. We’ll see; we’ll dig into that today.

Despite what Secretary Mayorkas and other officials at DHS are advising the American public regarding the numbers being down, what we’ve come to observe is rather a shell game in the way numbers are actually documented and reported. The numbers of human beings crossing into America without appropriate documentation are indeed still at the record levels that we saw prior to the end of Title 42 but the classification of those human beings, and the way they’re brought into the country, has been very cleverly changed by the administration. And we seek clarity on that today.

We’ll ask questions extensively, from both sides of the aisle, seeking truth. There is no benefit to any of us to conceal the actual numbers and the truth regarding immigration, both legal and illegal. So, to reclassify illegal entry as those that have entered by a legal pathway and then tell the American people, ‘the numbers are way down; we have this thing under control.’ This is misleading by design, and we’re going to dig into that today.

The CBP One app is being used as a type of asylum application, very broadly allowing those who register with it to move to the front of the line at ports of entry and be processed quickly into the United States as an asylum seeker without a normal asylum process and vetting.

These migrants would have attempted to enter the U.S. between ports of entry and would have been considered illegal aliens and intercepted or ‘encountered’ by Border Patrol between the ports of entry. But they’re being pushed back. If they make it through the NGOs and Central America and Mexico, where many, many are being intercepted and, quite effectively, redirected through the ports of entry, using the CBP One app.

The ones that make it to the border are being turned around, the steady increase in what are referred to as ‘voluntary return.’ They’re being sent back deeper into Mexico, where they’re received by NGOs and are assisted to fill out the CBP One app, and then they’re being bused to the ports of entry, and they’re entering in that manner through what the administration is calling a legal pathway.

So then they tell America that the numbers of illegal migrants are down. It’s a shell game, [and] we are going to expose it today. We’re going to do so respectfully but quite aggressively.