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Subcommittee Chairman Higgins: “Secretary Mayorkas has Been Derelict in his Duties”

July 12, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement Chairman Clay Higgins (R-LA) delivered the following opening remarks during a hearing to examine the role of Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs), particularly the Mexican drug cartels, in trafficking illicit fentanyl into the United States. Watch the full hearing here.

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Subcommittee on Border Security and Enforcement hearing on fighting the flow of fentanyl from the Southwest Border. The purpose of today’s hearing is to examine the Biden administration’s failures and perhaps to examine some areas of shared success with the previous administration.

Welcome to our witnesses from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and thank you for being here today. I would like to begin by thanking our Customs and Border Protection front-line agents and officers who work tirelessly every day to protect our country, despite the negligent policies that they are subject to and the lack of support that they have reported from the Biden administration.

Every day, Transnational Criminal Organizations use America’s complex highway systems to smuggle illicit drugs, such as deadly fentanyl, and human beings into our country. These criminal organizations pose an enormous threat to the United States as they undermine our public safety and flood our streets with drugs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites drug poisoning as the leading cause of mortality due to injury in the United States. Over 150 people die in our nation every day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Fentanyl has poured across our borders and into the streets of America while the Biden administration continues to implement policies that have in fact emboldened and enriched these Transnational Criminal Organizations.

It would be impossible to discuss the free flow of fentanyl at our borders without mentioning China’s significant role in the shipping of precursor chemicals to the Mexican cartels. The cartels and China have a complicated money and drug laundering operation that is killing Americans every day. In fact, according to the CDC, fentanyl is the leading cause of death of Americans aged 18-45.

As the flow of illegal immigrants continues to overwhelm Customs and Border Protection, it is inevitable that more and more drugs will slip through our defenses and into our country. As long as the Biden administration continues to fail enforcement of our immigration laws, cartels will continue to reap the benefits.

Secretary Mayorkas has been derelict in his duties and has failed this country, and has continuously refused to enforce immigration law, refused to prosecute illegal entries, and refused to utilize previous immigration tools that have been proven effective. These actions have increased the flow of illegal aliens into this country, enriched Mexican cartels, and overwhelmed our front-line agents and officers, which has led to more and more drugs flowing into the United States.

There is a quantifiable impact of this destruction on our country. As drugs have poured into the U.S., overdose deaths have increased every year, from 92,000 in 2020 to 109,680 in 2022. These are our brothers, our sisters, our family, our friends and neighbors. The Biden administration must reconcile with this devastation, and it is our job in Congress to hold the administration accountable.

The cartels have quickly learned to outmaneuver the system we had in place, and with the help of the Chinese Communist Party and the Biden administration’s ineffectiveness, they have smuggled an unprecedented amount of fentanyl and trafficked this dangerous and deadly drug into our country, taken a record number of American lives, brought in regular billion-dollar profits, and has torn countless scores of thousands of American families apart.

This Subcommittee will not allow the Biden administration or Secretary Mayorkas to sweep their failures under the rug. Today, this hearing will expose the arterial bleed at our southern border and the ensuing fight against synthetic opioids that has made its way to the forefront of all of our lives.