The House Judiciary Committee’s second “field hearing” on the Biden border crisis took place without any Democrats in attendance on Thursday, Feb. 23, and Republicans said they weren’t surprised. The meeting was held in Yuma, AZ, to get a better idea of what is happening to the areas along the US-Mexico border where record-high crossings continue to occur. Testimony painted a bleak picture of overtaxed hospitals, rising crime, and increased smuggling of fentanyl and other drugs.
Before the official hearing, GOP committee members viewed sections of Yuma, including the areas of Donald Trump’s unfinished border wall that Joe Biden nixed after taking over the Oval Office. Thousands of steel slats that had been brought in for the barrier’s construction still sat rusting on the ground. The concrete and rebar-reinforced posts are worth $2.5 million but are lying in waste while illegal immigrants pour into already overwhelmed cities.
Border Crime and Health Care
Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot testified about the area’s crime and its impact on the system. He said border patrol apprehensions of migrants went from 40 to more than 1,000 per day in just two years. The county has already spent tens of thousands of dollars to provide Porta-Johns so the immigrants would stop using crops as their personal bathrooms. In 2022, the county spent $323,000 on illegal aliens who have committed various drug crimes, kidnapping, burglary, sexual exploitation of minors, and assault, amongst other offenses.
“Our southern border, against all public comfort statements out of Washington, D.C., is in the worst shape I have ever seen in my career,” Wilmot said in written testimony. “When one looks at Public Safety, National Security, and Humanitarian, our southern border can only be described as the largest crime scene in the country.”
Republicans visited the Yuma Regional Medical Center as part of their pre-hearing tour, where officials told them more than $26 million has been spent for the care of migrants in just a year. That is the equivalent of the salary and benefits of 212 nurses, Fox News reported. Dr. Robert Trenschel, president and CEO of the medical center, said, “It is an unsustainable model to have a hospital like ours bear the entire burden of paying for migrant health care. No business or service can survive ongoing large-scale expense without any offsetting revenue.”
Surge of Migrants
In 2021, there were more than 1.7 million encounters with illegal immigrants, and over 2.3 million in 2022. Early predictions suggest fiscal year 2023 will be even higher – bringing even greater quantities of deadly narcotics into the US. “This is not just a Yuma, Arizona, problem but that illegal entry, human trafficking, and narcotics, especially fentanyl and methamphetamine, has now compounded across the states to impact every community across our nation, now making them too into border communities,” said Jonathan Lines, a county supervisor.
How much of a threat do the illegal border crossings overwhelming these areas pose to Americans? Lines stated, “Since President Biden took office, we saw a huge surge, a record number of people crossing illegally from 106 different countries, 17 of those countries are designated as special interest because of the negative relationship with the United States.” To put the number of illegals entering Yuma into perspective, Dr. Trenschel explained:
“The city of Yuma has 100,000 people, and we’ve had over 300,000 people cross the border here. That’s three times the population of Yuma coming across the border.”
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said: “It’s a shame that not one Democrat member of Congress would join us on this trip despite having weeks of advance notice. It’s disappointing but not surprising.” Reportedly, every Democrat had prior engagements, with some calling the meeting a “stunt.”
Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said in a statement, “Instead of focusing on real solutions to a complicated problem, Judiciary Republicans will once again not hear from any federal government witnesses at their hearing, further cementing this hearing as a brazen act of political grandstanding. As a result, Democrats who have been to the border regularly the last few years, will not attend next week’s performative hearing.”
Jordan, however, debunked the Dems’ claim, saying, “I would argue it’s not a stunt. My guess is our witnesses wouldn’t call it a stunt. What we’ve learned today from them, what we’ve seen last night on the border.”
Andy Biggs (R-AZ), speaking with Fox News, described Democrats’ decision to snub the hearing as a “message of disrespect” to the American people. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) argued, “We don’t have a single Democrat that we can even convince to come to this briefing to get evidence from these experts. Do we think that we are going to get President Joe Biden and [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer to pass legislation without a fight? We must demand it go in must-pass bills, and we have to use every bit of leverage, or this is a deeply unserious exercise.”
Part of the meeting involved a discussion on whether to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the way he has handled – or, perhaps, not handled – this border crisis. Gaetz questioned Lines and asked if Mayorkas ever lied to him. “[Mayorkas] committed to specifically address nine of the 11 Yuma gaps” the county supervisor replied. “To date so far, he has addressed none.” If the impeachment goes ahead, it will be the first time such actions have been used against a Cabinet member since 1876.
This second meeting is the third Republican-led trip to the border just this year. Last week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) visited the Arizona-Mexico crossing. Next, the House Committee on Homeland Security has a “border boot camp” planned for freshman Republican members. Although three Democrats attended the first border hearing, there’s no word yet on whether any of them will commit to attending future meetings.
Do you have an opinion about this article? We’d love to hear it! If you send your comments to [email protected], we might even publish your edited remarks in our new feature, LN Readers Speak Out. Remember to include the title of the article along with your name, city, and state.
Please respect our republishing guidelines. Republication permission does not equal site endorsement. Click here.
Liberty Nation Today:
McCaul Strives to Get to the Bottom of the Afghanistan Debacle - House Foreign Affairs Committee demands secretary of state produce documents. - Read Now!
The First Domino in a Banking Burnout? – LN Radio Videocast - Stopping the spread. - Watch Now!
San Francisco: Crime and No Punishment - CNN reporters found out firsthand that San Francisco’s crime policies don’t work. - Read Now!
Are Alvin Bragg’s Dreams of Indictment Derailing? - Delays and cautions could signal the end of the whole show. - Read Now!
Lone Wolf: No one’s Joining Naomi Wolf’s Apology to Conservatives - The silence is deafening, and here’s why. - Read Now!