The ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee is fed up with Congressional inactivity on dealing with the crisis on the southern border. During a forum held on family separation at the border Thursday, Rep. Doug Collins abruptly interrupted his own opening statement to get a few things off his chest.
Titled “Oversight of Family Separation and U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” the forum was used by Democrats to bring attention to the enforcement of current law on separating children and adults on the border when they are apprehended for crossing the border illegally. After beginning his statement, Collins stopped and said he wouldn’t continue to read his prepared remarks. He called the forum “dehumanizing”, not because of the enforcement of the policy toward the detained individuals but because of the inaction of Congress. Instead of another hearing, or “forum” in this case, Collins said that legislation should be passed.
He’s not wrong. As he began to rattle off the numbers of those illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexican border, it was as though he experienced a clarifying moment. It is absurd to continue to hold hearings one after the other and listen to the same witnesses and experts, all the while producing absolutely no legislation to ease the chaos. It is the job of Congress to work out their policy differences and act. Put up a bill.
In February, the Border Patrol apprehended 66,000 individuals. That number has been above 92,000 every month since. Peaking at over 132,000 in May alone.
You know just last week, I was horrified and deeply affected when Secretary [Kevin] McAleenan told me that there are three ongoing cases where a small group of children, 5 to 8, in each case had been used by dozens of different adults to cross our border seeking release in the US. And my colleagues claim . . .
. . . look, I’m gonna stop. I’m not going to read this.
You know what is dehumanizing? It’s continuing to bring the same witnesses, or the same people from the same agencies, to talk about this over and over and over again. What’s dehumanizing is doing that and not doing anything about it. That’s what’s dehumanizing.
It’s talking about a problem. Talking about a problem. Talking about a problem. And never putting a solution up.
And look, my Democratic colleagues have ideas. I may disagree with those ideas, but put a bill up! I have a bill. Put mine up. Make amendments to it, do whatever you want to do. That’s what Congress is supposed to do.
What Rep. Collins did was to expose some of the Congressional hearings as stunts. In this case, Democrats want to paint the Trump administration’s decision to enforce a zero-tolerance policy on illegal immigration as “dehumanizing”. The reality is that the administration has little choice. The persistent chaos brought about by thousands of human beings trying to cross over the border in large groups and deliberately overwhelming the resources on the border is not sustainable. President Trump has no intention of allowing open borders to exist.
Collins ended by challenging the committee and his colleagues in both parties to do their job. His appeal was for bipartisan legislation instead of press releases.
This is becoming, unfortunately, a committee of press releases. That’s it.
Dehumanizing is taking people you say you care about but doing nothing for them. That’s dehumanizing.
Competent and capable? Last time I understood, Congress should pass legislation. I’ll be very slow. Pass. Bills. That. Matter. Don’t have hearings that are strictly stunts.
The August recess is here. Congress will adjourn and members will leave Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, the only action the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives has taken to ease the burdens on immigration enforcement agencies and support services at the border is to begrudgingly pass the approval of emergency funding after being shamed into it. The legal loopholes in immigration law have to be addressed, yet neither party is moving forward in progress.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler was the one to first use the term “dehumanizing” in the discussion. He didn’t bother to mention that the Trump administration ended the family separation policy last year. He and the Democrats want to keep the issue alive for campaign purposes in 2020.
“Instead of addressing the root causes of migration and competently managing the challenges at our border, the Trump administration has chosen to dehumanize immigrants and exploit this crisis for political gain,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in his opening statement.
“In doing so, it has violated American laws and values, and caused permanent damage to children and families,” he said.
He went on to say that family separation “is just one component of this crisis, as it is clear that conditions at border facilities have deteriorated to an unconscionable level.”
The reason “border facilities have deteriorated to an unconscionable level” lies in the fact that the people working on the border are overwhelmed. The resources are only now receiving additional funding to sustain services for those being detained. There is no end in sight. The least that Congress can do is to simply do their jobs and pass legislation to ease the humanitarian crisis.