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Chairman Green Op-ed on Border Spending Package: “Not Another Dime for DHS Until We Get Real Border Policy Changes”

December 7, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN) published an op-ed in the Washington Times in which he emphasized the significant problems with the Biden administration’s supplemental funding request for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The package includes billions of dollars in new spending that will do nothing to address the perverse incentives to enter the country illegally created by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ open-borders policies. Chairman Green makes clear that H.R.2, the Secure the Border Act, must be the framework for any spending negotiations, and that the Biden administration must be required to enforce the immigration laws passed by Congress if it expects money for other foreign aid. Read the full op-ed here and below.

Not Another Dime for DHS Until We Get Real Border Policy Changes
The Washington Times
Chairman Mark E. Green, MD (R-TN)
December 7, 2023

President Joe Biden and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ recent request for billions in new spending to ostensibly deal with their self-inflicted, historic crisis at the Southwest border is exactly what is wrong with Washington. Granting that request without substantive policy changes would be a tremendous mistake. 
If we have learned anything since this crisis began, it is that the unprecedented devastation that has unfolded at the Southwest border and the chaos that has spread to every state in our Union are the consequences of bad policies and egregious decision-making, not an issue of resources. We cannot spend our way out of this crisis, and our policies and budgets should reflect that reality.
Under the Trump administration, monthly encounters at the Southwest border exceeded 100,000 only four times, all in mid-2019. To address this, President Donald Trump implemented effective policy fixes like Remain in Mexico and new asylum cooperative agreements, eliminating incentives to cross illegally. This strategy worked, and order at the Southwest border was restored. 

However, upon taking office, Biden and Mayorkas undid this progress, turning a secure border into a disaster zone. As a result, due to policies like “catch and release,” mass parole programs, and limiting the ability of immigration enforcement to detain and remove illegal aliens, encounters at the Southwest border have exceeded 100,000 every single month under Biden and Mayorkas’ leadership, totaling more than 6.5 million overall. People around the world know that whether they cross the border illegally or make use of one of Mayorkas’ legally dubious mass-parole programs, they will often be released into the interior. 
The new spending Biden and Mayorkas want does nothing to eliminate these incentives, nor does it advance Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) core missions. In fact, it will only further Biden and Mayorkas’ agenda—to process and release as many inadmissible aliens as possible, as quickly as possible, into the interior—and rarely, if ever, remove them. 

How else does one explain their request for $1.4 billion to reimburse not just local governments for the costs they’ve incurred, but also non-governmental organizations that effectively complete the criminal cartels’ human smuggling operation by purchasing transportation for aliens to travel throughout the country after CBP releases them? 
Furthermore, the Biden administration has requested billions to construct new processing and holding facilities, which do nothing to deter illegal entry and are merely physical manifestations of their failed policies. You don’t need these massive new facilities unless you’re planning on letting the crisis continue.  
The administration also claims it needs more dollars for additional ICE detention beds, but despite the historic number of encounters, ICE isn’t even using all the beds Congress already funded this year. At the same time, DHS has reportedly chosen to shutter its detention facility in Adelanto, California, which can hold nearly 2,000 aliens. Only in Washington does that math make sense. 
Even spending that sounds uncontroversial comes with a major asterisk, including hundreds of millions of new dollars for “non-intrusive inspection systems” (NII) to help detect and intercept drugs like fentanyl at ports of entry. We all want to stop the flow of this deadly substance into our communities. The only problem is that DHS has received $1.9 billion for NII since Fiscal Year 2018, but even with this massive infusion of funds, only around two percent of passenger vehicles and 17 percent of commercial vehicles were being inspected as of earlier this year. 
And while Biden and Mayorkas’ proposal would grant funding for 1,300 additional Border Patrol agents, the White House clearly isn’t listening to what the Border Patrol says it needs—a force of 22,000 agents, which means hiring roughly 3,000 more than are currently serving. House Republicans included the necessary funding in H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act. 
House Republicans stand with the men and women of DHS law enforcement. Every dollar we allocate for them should advance their vital mission to secure the border and enforce the law—not undermine that mission. 
By that standard, this funding proposal completely misses the mark. 
I cannot support a plan that allows the Biden administration to check boxes on so-called “border management” measures only to give away billions in foreign aid. I will not support another dime to DHS until the policies of H.R. 2 are signed into law and enforced by this administration. H.R. 2 must be the framework for any spending deals, including those negotiated by the other side of Capitol Hill.
Biden and Mayorkas’ policies have failed, and we have nearly three years of evidence to prove it. It is time to stop doubling down on these failures and for the government to do its job. 
That starts not with wasting more taxpayer dollars, but returning to policies that secure the border.