Katie Porter Owns GOP During Tuesday House Hearing


During a Tuesday hearing of the House Oversight Committee, which like the rest of the House is now led by Republicans, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) spotlighted some of the realities of the situation around the southern border — details that contrasted with the narrative presented by House Republicans and other GOP’ers.

Towards the outset of her questioning, she shared a chart using government data showing an apparent increase in the rate of seizures of the dangerous drug fentanyl around the middle of 2020 — when Donald Trump was still in office. The Republican mindset would lend towards therefore attributing a serious crisis to Trump, although politics obviously wins out for many, and there’s no such widespread sentiment among Republicans. There is also no widespread acknowledgement that seizing fentanyl is somewhat of a positive, since the drugs therefore won’t be making it to communities in the U.S. or anywhere else.

Porter asked one of Tuesday’s witnesses — John Modlin, who serves as Chief Patrol Agent in the Tucson Sector with U.S. Customs and Border Protection — about any changes in policy potentially leading to the jump in the rate of seizure, but he was unsure. The other witness, Gloria Chavez, who’s Chief Patrol Agent in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, was also inconclusive in what she said she knew about those specifics. “For me, as a mom, that is a sign of success,” Porter said, discussing the seizure rates. “I don’t want that fentanyl in this country. It is dangerous, and it kills people, and it makes our communities dangerous. And to me, this is a sign that our Border Patrol and our agents at our ports of entry… are doing their jobs. What I find interesting is, despite success here, what we’re hearing is an effort to characterize seizures as failures.” The GOP rhetoric continues.

At the same hearing, first-term Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) directly asked the witnesses about claims that the border is “open,” which in an objective sense are simply false. Both agency officials acknowledged as much. Modlin also said migrants were found to believe that the border was, in fact, “open” — and who’s among those pushing that deception? Donald Trump himself! He is providing what it’s not difficult to imagine could be used as support for the blatant lie the border is “open.” Words still have meaning, and Trump’s claims are false! Other available info shows that a policy of agents turning back migrants en masse instituted under Trump in ostensible connection to concerns about COVID-19 actually helped lead to a substantial jump in individual encounters with migrants, because roughly half the migrants turned away under the policy were believed to have returned within a year as of the end of last June. See Porter’s comments below: