Chairman Yoder Returns from Fact-Finding Mission at US-Mexico Border in Texas
Washington, DC — Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS), Chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Committee, has concluded his two-day long fact-finding mission at the US-Mexico border. The trip was Representative Yoder’s first to the Southern Border in his new role as Homeland Security Appropriations Chairman.
Upon conclusion of the fact-finding mission, Chairman Yoder issued the following statement:
“My biggest takeaway from the last 48 hours is the Rio Grande Valley region is being heavily targeted by Mexican cartels for human and drug trafficking in between ports of entry, due to the unique challenges in the landscape and lack of adequate investment in border security.
“Tens of thousands of pounds of cocaine, heroin, and other drugs and more than 100,000 humans are being smuggled across just this one 300-mile stretch of the border, resulting in hundreds of millions in revenue to criminals in Mexico. In total, we estimate cartels send $64 billion in drugs to the US through the border each year.
“This dangerous situation has created an influx of crime and violence on both sides of the border, which poses a significant safety risk to the American people in places like Kansas and all across America.
“I visited with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about their challenges and want to thank them for putting their lives on the line to protect our border. They are apprehending thousands of illegal crossings each week in a sophisticated effort to use cameras and other technological means to bust human and drug traffickers.
“For the CBP to more effectively reduce human and drug smuggling, they will need more border patrol agents as well as additional investments in technology and barriers.
“In this region, 100 miles or more of a border wall plus additional personnel and technology would dramatically reduce the amount of illegal border crossings. These measures alone will not stop the flood of illegal immigration, because of our broken immigration laws. More than a dozen loopholes allow apprehended illegal immigrants to claim amnesty or a host of other protections exploiting a five-year backlog in our court system. These loopholes have caused significant morale problems with border patrol agents who risk their lives to apprehend illegal immigrants crossing the border to only see those taken into custody released into the United States with a promise to attend a court hearing five years later.
“We must invest in personnel, technology, and a physical barrier as well as close loopholes to fix our vulnerabilities in the Rio Grande Valley. I stand ready to tackle these issues as we take up the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill in the coming weeks.
“Thank you to US Coast Guard Commandant Karl Schultz and Commissioner Kevin McAleenan and their teams for their service and briefings on the border challenges.”
Currently, 654 miles of barriers are already in place along the Southwest Border, 354 miles of barriers that are only capable of stopping pedestrian entry and 300 miles of barriers that can stop vehicle entry. Portions of the existing pedestrian barrier are failing and subject to breaches, and portions of vehicle barrier are proposed to be replaced with pedestrian barrier.
In his role, Chairman Yoder is responsible for authoring legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its related agencies, which include Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Coast Guard, and Secret Service.
The legislation sets the priorities of the United States government with regard to border security, immigration enforcement, counterterrorism, drug and human trafficking, cyberterrorism, natural disaster response, aviation security, and customs activities.