On Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee — now led, of course, by Republicans — held a hearing purporting to expose some of the details of the ostensibly spiraling situation at the southern border of the United States.
In discussions of the southern border and policy approaches to the area, along with the people passing over it, many on the Right push the idea that Biden’s policies and those of Democrats constitute those of an “open border,” no matter the clear evidence that their description is just factually ridiculous. There is no free-for-all. The work of border agents has continued, largely as it did with Trump in the White House — although without maniacal racism leading policy decisions from the White House this time. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), a first-term Congressman, helped expose some of the GOP’s deception about the southern border during his chance at questioning on Tuesday.
“You know, it’s unfortunate that this hearing started off with a ton of hyperbole and posturing, saying that President Biden and his administration have created the worst border crisis in American history,” Frost said. “That isn’t about oversight. It’s about stoking the fears of immigrants and those seeking asylum, and it’s something I take personally as a son of a Cuban refugee. For many folks around the country who might only watch far-right media or just listen to even some of the folks on this committee, I’m curious, Chief Chavez. When President Biden took office, did your agents stop enforcing the border and just allow everybody to come in, thus creating what we hear here is an open border?” Frost was addressing Gloria Chavez, who serves as Chief Patrol Agent in the Rio Grande Valley Sector at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. “The answer is no, sir,” Chavez told him. “We continue to enforce policy and laws.”
Frost asked the same question of the hearing’s other witness, John Modlin, who serves as Chief Patrol Agent in the Tucson Sector and also indicated that such was not the case. Check out the exchanges below:
Frost: When President Biden took office, did your agents stop enforcing the border and just allow everyone to come in thus creating what we hear is an open border.
Chavez: The answer is no pic.twitter.com/RGP8t6KWrM
— Acyn (@Acyn) February 7, 2023
In a statement ahead of this week’s hearing, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), who leads the committee, explicitly accused Biden of pushing policies of so-called open borders, which is nonsensical. “Starting on day one in office, President Biden and his administration rolled back deterrent focused policies, halted the construction of the border wall, gutted interior enforcement, pushed amnesty for illegal immigrants – all of which have made it difficult for U.S. Border Patrol agents to secure the border,” Comer also claimed, sounding like he was struggling to quantify the supposed crisis and provide actual specifics.
Ostensibly pushing so-called amnesty is nowhere near an actual policy, among other issues — and a policy implemented under the Trump administration allowing for expulsions related on paper to concerns about the pandemic actually helped provide for a dramatic increase in the number of individual encounters with migrants. Roughly half of those expelled under the rules were encountered again within a year as of the end of June last year, government reports estimated. If those repeated encounters hadn’t taken place, the overall total would no doubt have dropped.
Came across a stunning statistic today in an official @DHSgov document:
As of June 30, 2022, "51 percent of Title 42 expulsions were followed by re-encounters of the same individuals."
More than half of people expelled under Title 42 try crossing again! https://t.co/iGvFxZwUaj pic.twitter.com/x5UnlHsgGO
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) February 6, 2023