Skip to content


Chairman Green: “Secretary Mayorkas is Wasting Taxpayer Dollars and the Cartels are Profiting”

September 20, 2023

Launches fourth phase of oversight investigation into the historic border crisis 

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) delivered the following opening statement in a hearing to examine the financial cost of the historic national security and humanitarian crisis at the Southwest border for communities across the country. This hearing launches the fourth phase of the Committee’s oversight investigation into the border crisis.


Watch Chairman Green’s full opening statement in a hearing entitled “The Financial Costs of Mayorkas’ Open Border.”

As prepared for delivery: 

Last week, the Committee heard compelling testimony about the human costs of Joe Biden and DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ open-borders policies. As we heard, and as this Committee’s investigation found:

Countless migrants have been victimized through forced labor, sex trafficking, and child exploitation. This comes from multiple sources and is even why the minority’s witness last week said they sued multiple administrations.

Border Patrol agents and their families have been completely overwhelmed by the crisis, with agents feeling that Mayorkas’ policies have left them unable to do their jobs, and;  

America’s fentanyl crisis has reached a horrific level, devastating families all across this country, as tens of thousands of Americans are now dying from fentanyl poisonings every single year.

Just to underscore the heavy human toll of this crisis, barely two days after this hearing, a one-year-old little boy, Nicholas Feliz Dominici, died at a daycare facility in the Bronx after being exposed to fentanyl during his nap time. Three other precious children required emergency treatment. Police found about a kilo of fentanyl and multiple kilo presses which are used by dealers to package large quantities of drugs.

Americans are not safe, even in a daycare facility. There is no room for doubt—Secretary Mayorkas is making our communities more dangerous. His policies are putting American lives and livelihoods at risk. Biden and Mayorkas have implemented a radical agenda at the expense of the safety, security, and economic well-being of all Americans.

And this crisis isn’t only imposing a human cost; it’s imposing a financial cost too. As the people’s representatives with the Constitutional power of the purse, we have a duty to conduct oversight and expose how taxpayer dollars are being abused in support of this radical open-borders agenda. 

Over the past several months, this Committee has investigated how the Biden-Mayorkas border crisis has cost the American taxpayer. Our findings have been shocking. 

First, let’s talk about a subject that impacts every single one of us—health care. In 2022, Congress’ Joint Economic Committee reported that the opioid epidemic cost our economy almost $1.5 trillion in 2020. 

Imagine what those costs are now. In January of this year, another report found that treatment for opioid use disorder is costing hospitals almost $100 billion a year—that’s about 8 percent of total hospital costs—and fentanyl is a primary reason why. 

According to numbers published by HHS, Medicaid spending on “emergency services for undocumented aliens” in FY21 alone exceeded $7 billion, compared to $1.6 billion in FY16.

For comparison, that’s more than the entire operating budget this year of Biden’s home state of Delaware. And based on past numbers, Texas is likely now spending more than $1 billion on health care for illegal aliens. Illegal aliens recently cost Florida hospitals about $312 million, with providers having to absorb more than $200 million of those costs. Illinois’ health care fund for illegal aliens has risen from a projected $2-4 million to more than $1.1 billion.

Meanwhile, illegal aliens are taking up limited health care resources that should be reserved for Americans and other lawful residents. “We’re using emergency rooms and medical facilities that citizens could be using,” Joel Martinez, chief patrol agent of the Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector, recently told this Committee. Another chief patrol agent told us that he has observed women crossing the border illegally simply to have babies in U.S. hospitals. 

The majority of illegal aliens are uninsured, and use emergency rooms to receive care for all kinds of needs, from the routine to the severe. As a doctor and medical entrepreneur, I can tell you those costs are being passed on to taxpayers, increasing the costs of care for the rest of us. 

Cities and states have also borne massive increases in law enforcement costs due to the crisis. Texas alone has spent more than $4 billion to secure its border and is on pace to spend billions more just in the next two years to defend itself.

Tarrant County, Texas, home to Fort Worth, “averages 246 inmates with immigration detainers at any given time,” costing the county more than $3.6 million per year.

In Brooks County, Texas, Sheriff Benny Martinez has said that county officials took pay cuts in order to afford the costs of burying or cremating illegal aliens found deceased on the U.S. side of the border. McMullen County, Texas, home to around 600 residents, is now spending roughly half a million dollars every year to deal with the crisis. 

Sheriff Mark Dannels of Arizona’s Cochise County testified in February that in 2022, “border related booking costs” totaled $4.3 million, with 1,578 suspects booked into the county jail for “border-related crimes.”

An increasing number of states are now also sending law enforcement and National Guard troops to the Southwest border to assist Texas and others, incurring hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars, in additional costs.

The ranchers along our Southwest border are dealing with the unprecedented consequences from this crisis, as well. As illegal aliens cross the border, they tear down fences, damage homes, break water lines, and leave piles of trash on the ground. One Texas rancher who hosts game hunts on his land has said that repairing the fences damaged by trespassing illegal aliens costs $26,000 per mile.

Another rancher has said that hunting blinds on his property, worth $3,500-$5,000 and which are key to his business, have been destroyed by illegal aliens. An Arizona rancher who owns a 50,000-acre ranch told this Committee in June that repairs to his ranch cost more than $60,000 per year, and that his property value is down by more than $1 million because of the ongoing crisis at the border. 

Another has recounted that in 2021, he lost 130,000 gallons of fresh water and endured more property damage than if he were to add 30 years together.

Then there’s the cost to clean up all trash and litter left by trespassing illegal aliens on ranchers’ land that is not only unsightly, but poses an active hazard to grazing livestock. All these costs are an added insult to the loss of security these ranchers and their families feel at the nonstop flow of illegal aliens through their property, some of them with hostile intentions or being guided by cartel operatives. 

It also costs money to educate the hundreds of thousands of illegal alien children, particularly those with limited proficiency in English. In New York City, one teacher recently told the New York Post, “We’re overwhelmed. We’ve all got migrant students in our classrooms. The teachers don’t speak Spanish.”

There’s no resources helping us out right now—it’s a very challenging situation.” The city could spend around $440 million just to educate illegal alien children that have arrived on Mayorkas’ watch.

Because Secretary Mayorkas has refused to comply with the law requiring him to detain illegal aliens, cities and states have been forced to pick up the tab. According to the Wall Street Journal in August 2023, “Over 100,000 migrants have come to New York City since the spring of 2022 and continue to arrive at a rate of more than 2,000 a week.” The city estimates it will spend around $12 billion on services and benefits for illegal aliens by 2025. According to city officials in June, it cost $385 per night to provide shelter to an illegal alien family unit, at a cost of almost $8 million a day. 

Compare this to the roughly $150 per night it would cost to hold these family units in ICE detention facilities. Mayor Eric Adams even recently predicted that this border crisis will “destroy New York City,” claiming with ten thousand illegal aliens coming every month, every service in the city will be impacted. 

Chicago is spending more than $20 million per month to “house and support” illegal aliens. Washington, D.C. is expected to spend $52 million by October to house, feed, and support illegal aliens. The small town of Sanford, Maine, more than 2,000 miles from the Southwest border, has said it allocated $155,000 this fiscal year to house and care for illegal aliens, but has now spent more than $483,000, with local authorities saying, “We’ve been overrun.”

This is just a taste of the devastating financial costs of Mayorkas and Biden’s crisis, costs being borne not just by the federal government, but by state and local governments, as well. And those dollars are ultimately being extracted from the wallets of the hardworking, tax-paying men and women of this country—all to subsidize mass illegal immigration. While families are struggling to make ends meet in a period of high inflation and soaring gas prices, our government is spending billions of dollars on aid for illegal aliens. This is unacceptable, and we all know it.

According to one recent report, illegal immigration is costing U.S. taxpayers at least $180 billion this year. Other estimates put the cost of this self-inflicted crisis in excess of $450 billion. It’s simply staggering. And infuriating.

In my home state of Tennessee, illegal immigration cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion just last year. 

Again, this money is being taken out of the hands of hard-working Americans and given to those who have entered our country unlawfully and now demand the same benefits as American citizens. Apparently, this is just another unwelcome aspect of Bidenomics Americans are forced to deal with. 

Because Secretary Mayorkas has opened the border, every state must put billions of their own funds into increased policing, keeping fentanyl out of schools, and paying for welfare programs created to support American citizens.

As all these costs are adding up, Secretary Mayorkas is busy trying to convince the American people of things that they know are false. 

He continues to claim that the border is secure, when the American people can plainly see with their own eyes that it’s wide open and that the Mexican drug cartels exercise unprecedented control over the Southwest border. He has also tried to convince Congress of these same claims, on multiple occasions falsely representing the facts of the crisis to members of this Committee and others—under oath.

The only winners from Mayorkas’ dereliction are the cartels, who are watching the United States pay dearly to undermine its own borders. For the open-border advocates in this administration, no cost is too great as long as they get what they want.  

Americans are fed up with politicians who waste their tax dollars and think they know better than everyday Americans. Democrats are going to highlight today the increased economic activity produced by people who are here in the country and that somehow the new restaurant started by an illegal migrant is financially a net positive for the country. 

If that were the case, Mayor Adams in NYC, a Democrat, would not be screaming at the top of his lungs how this mass wave is destroying his city, and the Governor of Massachusetts would not be demanding money from the federal government.

If it’s a net positive from a financial standpoint, then send more money to pay the debts of this country and don’t demand more taxpayer dollars to cover the costs. No one is going to be fooled by this ruse, but I look forward to the entertaining presentation.

Instead of protecting our country and securing our border, Secretary Mayorkas is wasting taxpayer dollars and the cartels are profiting.   

Until Secretary Mayorkas starts doing his job, following the laws passed by Congress, Americans are going to continue to be on the hook for the wasteful, needless, and often deadly costs incurred by this self-inflicted crisis. We all know it. And this Committee is going to hold them accountable.