Prepared Floor Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
United States Senate
On the Border Crisis and Democratic Denial
April 20, 2021
 
Today, I want to talk about the crisis at the southern border.  During the past several months, the American people have watched as a full-blown crisis has developed. It’s reached a catastrophic phase and it’s not getting any better.
 
And let me re-emphasize that whatever the Biden Administration wants to call it, it’s a crisis.
 
Simply put, the Biden administration’s in denial. And that denial has caused a humanitarian and national security crisis.
 
For example, border crossings are at the highest levels we’ve seen in at least the last fifteen years.  Last month, Customs and Border Protection encountered more than 170,000 people attempting to cross at the southern border.
 
That number included almost 19,000 unaccompanied children, which is the highest number ever recorded in a single month. 
 
The surge has overwhelmed personnel and prompted the Biden Administration to put out emergency calls for volunteers from across the federal government.
 
According to news reports based on recent Biden administration emails, the administration is recruiting NASA employees to sit with children at border facilities.
 
The border crisis is so bad the Biden administration is trying to pull people from NASA and place them at the border.
 
Folks, this situation is out of control. This is a humanitarian and national security crisis.
 
Terrorists, smugglers, and other criminals have seen this as their golden opportunity, and are taking full advantage of it. This can’t continue.
 
I’ve written to the Biden administration. I’ve visited the border in person. I’ve seen our overwhelmed facilities and heard the calls of cartel members and human traffickers, yelling insults from across the Rio Grande.
 
Senator Cornyn and I have written to the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee strongly urging him to hold border security hearings.
 
During the Trump Administration, while I served as Chairman of the full Committee and Senator Cornyn served as Subcommittee Chairman, we held no less than 15 hearings on oversight of DHS and various aspects of immigration policy. As Chairman of the Committee during the first two years of the Trump Administration, I held hearings on immigration topics of bipartisan interest to all Committee members, including Democratic Committee members.
 
Those hearings included oversight of family reunification efforts and the Trump Administration’s decision to end the DACA program. 
 
In the same way, I was hopeful that Chairman Durbin would be willing to hold hearings on matters of great importance to me and committee members on both sides of the aisle.
 
I’m ready to work with him to put together hearings that address these problems productively.
During the Easter Recess, I instructed my oversight and investigations staff to get a classified briefing from the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That briefing provided important and time sensitive information that further solidifies my belief that the Biden administration’s border crisis is a national security problem.
 
Moreover, the Biden administration’s denial that there’s a border crisis is itself a national security problem.
 
You can’t solve a problem if you refuse to admit one exists. This head-in-the-sand attitude will cost lives. That’s what’s so sad about this situation.  It’s not making anyone’s life better.  It’s putting lives at risk – American lives and Immigrant lives. Yet, the administration refuses to act to solve the problem.
 
Earlier this month, I requested that the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement brief the full Judiciary Committee, Republicans and Democrats, on a member level.
 
Members need to fully understand the national security problems at the border with respect to terrorists, narco-terrorists, human smugglers and their criminal counterparts. We must also be fully read-in to the methods and means that they use to plan and accomplish their criminal goals.
 
Yesterday, in response to my request, the committee had that briefing. What we learned is that the crisis at the border is getting worse and bad actors are expanding their technological edge to become more efficient at accomplishing their criminal goals. Human smuggling networks, cartels, and other bad actors are continuing to take full advantage of the crisis.

As to where we go from here, the Biden administration knows it’s got a crisis on its watch.  It’s time to stop the denial and act now to solve this border crisis.