Amid Disaster In Del Rio, House Democrats Block Commonsense Border Solutions
WASHINGTON, DC – Despite the ongoing humanitarian and security disaster in Del Rio, Texas, House Democrats today blocked consideration of the commonsense Border Security for America Act of 2021 (H.R. 4828), which would provide Customs & Border Protection (CBP) with additional resources and personnel to secure our nation’s borders and prioritize the safety of the American people.
The crisis at the border will continue to worsen without meaningful action. During a briefing with DHS officials, members were advised that according to DHS intel an additional estimated 40,000 to 60,000 Haitians are gathering in Colombia and Panama planning to illegally cross the U.S. border in caravans. This mass migration, orchestrated and expedited by transnational criminal organizations (TCOs), is completely unsustainable and unacceptable.
CBP is clearly overwhelmed, understaffed, and in urgent need of support. These frontline agents have been exposed to multiple diseases in performance of their duties, and some have even been attacked by migrants during the repatriation process. Tragically, 22 frontline border agents have lost their lives in the line of duty in 2021.
As agents are redirected to Del Rio from across the country, large portions of the border are left unpatrolled. Cartels are actively taking advantage of these gaps and smuggling illicit drugs and goods into our country. This is doubly concerning given that known or suspected terrorists are crossing the border this year “at a level we have never seen before,” according to former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott.
The Border Security for America Act of 2021 provides the specific tools that frontline Border Patrol agents have said they need to secure the border. The bill has earned the support of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents approximately 18,000 Border Patrol agents and support personnel.
The Border Security for America Act of 2021 would:
- Require the Secretary of Homeland Security to resume construction on the Trump border wall system immediately.
- Deploy practical and effective technology to support CBP and Border Patrol operations.
- Hire and train additional CBP officers and agents to maintain an active-duty presence at all U.S. ports of entry.
- Increase the number of officers for tunnel detection and remediation, agricultural specialists, K-9 units, and supporting officers.
The bill, introduced by Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member John Katko (R-NY), is co-sponsored by Homeland Security Republicans, American Security Task Force members, House Border Caucus members, and House Republican leadership, including Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), and Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
Watch Ranking Member Katko’s speech on the bill here.