July 24, 2023

Washington, D.C., July 24, 2023 – U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.), the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee for the Senate Committee on Appropriations, joined a group of colleagues last week at a press conference to highlight how the Biden Administration’s disastrous border policies have continued to endanger vulnerable children and empower dangerous drug cartels.

The press conference was led by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.Dak.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also participated.

Since President Biden took office in January 2021, more than 300,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed into the United States. Nearly 85,000 of these children are now missing and unaccounted for.

During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Appropriations earlier this year, Senator Britt pushed U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra for answers on how the Administration’s cutting of corners and bureaucratic failures have resulted in putting more children in harm’s way.

A transcript of Senator Britt’s remarks from the press conference this week follows:

Here we are, Senate Republicans, standing here again talking about the very same topic – the toll that the Biden Border Crisis is taking not only on Americans, but the migrants that are being used and abused to further someone else’s cause. 

Make no mistake, this is both a national security and a humanitarian crisis. Now, I have been to the border. I went three times in the first two months in office because I wanted the real, unvarnished truth. I asked them, ‘tell me even what you think I don’t want to hear. I want to know the full set of facts.’ And one fact is that our courageous Border Patrol agents, ICE, National Guard, and local law enforcement are doing every single thing possible to make sure that Americans maintain their safety and that they help end this crisis, but the bottom line is they’re overextended and they’re under-resourced. 

What has stuck with me the most are the stories that I heard when I was down there. I saw a little baby, six months old, shivering and wet from just getting pulled out of the river with her parents. I saw a little pair of shoes on the ground next to the riverbank. That little pair of shoes has a story. But we need you to help us tell that story. I looked in the eyes of a CBP agent when he said that one of the hardest days he’s ever had in his entire life was pulling the lifeless body of a woman from the Rio Grande who was pregnant with twins. 

Folks, this is having real implications on real people and the only people that are benefiting from Joe Biden’s failed policies, are not Americans, not these migrants. Just as Senator Johnson said, it is essentially terrorists and drug cartels that are making bank and getting their way. 

We need the American people to stand up and stand with us and say ‘enough is enough.’ When you think about these 300,000 unaccompanied children that have come across — let me tell you something. I’m a Momma. Do you think I’m going to let my child wander in hopes that someone finds them on the other side of the border? Absolutely not. 

I have talked to these young women, and it wasn’t that they were raped every day. It was how many times a day they were raped. Folks, this has real implications. You look at the real stories of a 13-year-old boy who is being sent to be a day laborer all day long. He’s not living the American Dream. He’s paying back what his parents owe or he promised to a drug cartel.  

None of these policies that the Biden Administration is putting forth are humanitarian in any way, shape, or form. Senator Johnson said it, but under President Obama, his Secretary of Homeland Security said if we reach 1,000 migrants coming to our border a day, that’s a disaster. It’s a crisis. You all saw when I had Secretary Mayorkas in front of the Homeland Security [Appropriations] Subcommittee, he wouldn’t even call what we have today ‘a crisis.’

Senator Lankford said it earlier, but we have hit over 10,000 encounters a day at our border. Just yesterday, 6,100. Folks, we don’t know who some of these people are that are even getting away. Think about the unknown terrorists that are coming into our communities. You think about the child traffickers, and you think about the fentanyl that we are seeing, just dive into even our classrooms and our schools. We must do more. We must stand up and tell the drug cartels that the American Dream is not for sale, because the people that are paying the price are these kids. 

Video of the full press conference can be found here.