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RELEASE: Wittman Urges Pelosi, Mayorkas to Take Immediate Action At the Border
Washington, March 15, 2021
WASHINGTON- Today, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) announced he has written Speaker Pelosi and Secretary of Homeland Security Mayorkas urging they take immediate action to end the crisis along our southern border. Since Joe Biden became President, there has been a historic surge in illegal immigration, with migrant encounters up 28% since January and 173% since last year. Included in these numbers are many unaccompanied migrant children, with CBP expecting about 13,000 by May and 117,0000 by the end of the year. As the number of unaccompanied children at our border swells, space has begun to dwindle, with recent reporting showing that, “shelters overseen by the U.S. government received more than 7,000 migrant children in February” with the numbers growing so significantly that children are “overwhelming capacity at border facilities and indicating a crisis is taking shape.” Remarking on his letters to Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Mayorkas, Congressman Wittman stated:
“This is a crisis of the Biden Administration's own making, directly resulting from open border policies,” said Wittman, “ including his executive orders weakening border security, virtually eliminating enforcement of immigration laws, putting a moratorium on deportations, and promising amnesty to all undocumented immigrants residing in the country illegally. Not only did President Biden weaken enforcement of the law, but he acted unilaterally in overturning policies proven to successfully deter illegal immigration, such as the Migrant Protection Protocols, which required asylum seekers to wait for their hearings in border facilities in Central America rather than being released inside the country. The Biden Administration also ended the asylum agreements President Trump negotiated with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, which required asylum seekers to remain in the first safe country they enter — the prevailing standard for asylum seekers in the European Union and in Canada. President Biden has replaced these policies with the Obama-era process of "catch and release," where illegal aliens claiming asylum are detained, processed, and released inside the United States as they await their hearing — which usually takes years. “
Wittman continued, “We need an immigration system that works for the American people. First and foremost, we must stop encouraging migrants to enter the United States illegally. Second, we must enhance our border security, including a physical barrier to deter those attempting to enter the country illegally, and helping direct those seeking asylum to the proper points of entry. Lastly, we must invest in our Border Patrol agents and law enforcement officers to ensure our current immigration laws are enforced, immigration programs work properly, and that we law enforcement officials have the resources necessary to get their jobs done. That investment must include hiring additional immigration judges and support staff, hiring additional Border Patrol agents, and increasing Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel.”
Congressman Wittman closed by stating, “America was built by immigrants, and immigrants continue to play an undeniably important role in America today. But those seeking to enter the United States must do so legally. We are a nation of laws and we must always remain so. Our first responsibility is the American people's safety and security. I have called upon both Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Mayorkas to fulfill their role in this responsibility to the American people.”
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the Vice Ranking Member of the full Committee and Ranking Member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.