Mar 15, 2021
Kevin McCarthy, House GOP Press Conference on “Biden’s Border Crisis” Transcript March 15
House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House GOP members held a press conference on March 15, 2021 on the Texas border to discuss “Biden’s border crisis”. Read the transcript of the news briefing here.
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (00:00)
… Chief Gloria Chavez with the US Customs and Border Patrol. And I want to thank every man and woman for the border patrol, for the exceptional job they’re doing and under extraordinary times. Their attitude, their work was exceptional. The security of our nation and our border is first and foremost the responsibility of our president. I came down here because I heard of the crisis. It’s more than a crisis, this is a human heartbreak. The sad part about all of this, it didn’t have to happen. This crisis is created by the presidential policies of this new administration. There’s no other way to claim it, then a Biden border crisis.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (00:51)
Every part of what we sat and talked to, we learned more of how it was created. Congressman Gimenez talked to a family from Honduras and asked, “How long have they been traveling?” 22 days, just in coincidence of the actions taken by President Biden of why people think they come here to break the law. We went through a new facility that was built just more than a year ago. They built it with the capacity they thought they could never meet, 1,040 people be processed. Today, broke that record today. Today, they’re beyond capacity. They’re having to build into the parking lot a makeshift facility. Even though the US Congress just passed a $1.9 trillion bill, not $1 in there to help them. It’s taken away the operation costs for the border to be protected. But for all these children, that are on a company that’s sitting in there, there’s 120 border agents that are now inside that unit that are not on the border protecting us when a surge is coming.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (02:07)
As we went up to Monument Three, speaking to the men and women on the front lines, they catch from a hundred to 200 people a night. As we talked to the medical units… And as I tell you, not as a member of Congress, but as a father of a son and a daughter, and you look in the eyes of these children, they came unaccompanied. They tell the story of a one, a three and a five-year-old holding their hands, walking up to an agent with no parents, no adults in sight, who brought them? When you talk to the medical units, talk about the percentage of that get trafficked, they get harmed along the way, who knows what dangerous and who doesn’t make it. All because the policies of our president has changed and told them something different, told them to risk their lives and broke families apart.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (03:08)
We were better as a nation than this. This is about the safety and security of our border, but it’s also about the opportunity that Americans want, and the prosperity. I know the president is going to travel this week. This is where he should bring Air Force One. This is where he should look the people in the eye. This is where he should talk to the border agents and let them know that this is beyond a crisis. He can continue to deny it, but the only way to solve it is to first admit what he has done. And if he will not reverse action, it’s going to take congressional action to do it. And that’s why we’re here, we want to find solutions.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (03:54)
Before we even came here, I sent a letter to the president to work together, to solve this problem. I thought maybe he would reach out. Maybe he’d set an appointment. He doesn’t even acknowledge a letter, let alone a crisis that his policy has created. So we will work together, across the aisle, within our own party, because we know the solutions that it will take. When you talk about what’s coming across, I just left a few border agents and I asked them, ” Who are the individuals you’re catching?” “Yeah, they’re from Central America.” But you know who else? Iran, Yemen, Sri Lanka. When I walked through the facility, there was more Haitians than any other nationality I saw. And why were they coming now? You asked the border agents, they were shocked themselves because they’re being released into the country.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (04:57)
When I talked to the doctor to see when they’re being tested for COVID, when they get out. More than 10% are testing positive, while you’re being stored together. In a time when the president will keep our country closed, when maybe we have hope for a 4th of July to get together just with our family, how much spread of COVID is he creating every single day by his policies along this border? It’s wrong, and it has to end and it needs to end now. With that I want to introduce the Republican leader of the Homeland Committee, John Katko. Former… What were you, a prosecutor?
John Katko: (05:37)
Organized crime prosecutor here.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (05:38)
Organized crime prosecutor right here in this community.
John Katko: (05:41)
Good afternoon, everybody. And thank you for coming. In fact, Kevin’s right, I just live right up the road in [Summit 00:05:47] Park Drive as a federal organized crime prosecutor back in the ’90s. And I was charged with going after the drug cartels. And I had a fundamental understanding then, and I do now that the cartels know when to exploit the Southern border, and they’re doing it now masterfully. They’re doing it because President Biden rolled back a lot of the orders of the previous administration that were working. One of the perhaps most reprehensible things I’ve heard in a long time is Nancy Pelosi and some in the administration saying that this is caused by a pent up demand from the previous administration. There’s always a pent up demand for crime. Crossing the border legally is illegal, and so we shouldn’t accommodate that pent up demand, and they seem to be signaled that we should.
John Katko: (06:32)
And here’s what’s happening, there’s no question, this trip has confirmed it for me, there is indeed disorder at the border by executive order. No question about it. We went first to a detention facility, $48 million to build. They’re spending tens of thousands of dollars a day just to feed this surge. They’re spending tens of thousand dollars more a day to cloth them and to transfer them. All this money is being taken away from things we’re doing here in the country that could benefit our citizens. It is so bad from a financial standpoint for border patrol, that as Kevin alluded to, they’re taking money from the future payments down the road, later in the year of border patrol salaries and border patrol pensions, just to try and pay for the surge that’s going on right now that was caused by this president. And they’re hoping for supplemental, but that supplemental doesn’t come, I don’t know how the heck we’re going even to pay these guys. What are we doing? Right? What are we doing?
John Katko: (07:28)
Another thing, they are not testing these individuals. We saw hundreds of hundreds of people in there today, not one of them has had a COVID test, and are transferring other places without COVID tests. Border patrol agents have only been inoculated at 50 to 60% at the most right now. They’re exposed every day to this, and this is something that the president has caused with this surge. So then we went over to a monument three right around the hill here, and we saw firsthand what was going on. And Kevin alluded to what’s going on hundreds of people a day coming across. We saw gaps in the wall that made no sense. They were almost done, and on January 20th at midnight they were instructed to stop. And now we have a vulnerabilities because of that, and they’re exploiting those vulnerabilities.
John Katko: (08:14)
And perhaps worse than that, 120 agents that guard that area that’s now vulnerable are being pulled away to go feed and clothe these kids coming across. And by the way, with kids come across, if you don’t think the drug traffickers are doing it, think again. Most of them have a piece of tape across their shirt with instructions on who they are, where they’re going and information to get them what they need to do, so that it’s very organized and they’re paying a lot of money per child to get them across, all right?
John Katko: (08:40)
The last thing I’ll tell you is something that very much concerns me as the Homeland Security ranking member, people they’ve caught in the last few days over there in sector three or monument three have been on a terror watch lists. Individuals that they have on the watch list for terrorism are now starting to exploit the Southern border. We need to wake up, we need to understand… And listen, Mr. President Biden, you’re an okay guy. Why don’t you just admit you made a mistake with this policy and go back to the way it was and keep America safe for all of us, and use that money that we’re wasting down here on our American citizens? The doors should not be open and we should have immigration the right way. And with that I’d like to invite my good friend, Tony Gonzales from the Homeland Security Committee up here. Tony’s from Texas, and he’s going to talk to you more. Thank you very much.
Tony Gonzales: (09:28)
Today is about the men and women in green. Our border patrol agents or doing God’s work keeping our borders safe. And for that, I want them to know we have your back. I am grateful that Leader McCarthy and other members of the congressional delegation made it down today. For too long, our border communities have been forgotten. That has changed, that is changing today, we have your back. America is a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. Border security and legal immigration go hand in hand. We are a compassionate people, we do not want to see overcrowding in our spaces. We do not want to see families make dangerous treks across countries that they don’t understand and put themselves at risk. What we want to do is we want to attract the best and the brightest that this world has to offer, and we want them to come in a legal fashion.
Tony Gonzales: (10:41)
And we can do that, but that first starts by supporting our border security. Border security and legal immigration ago hand in hand. Thank you all for coming, I’d like to now turn it over to August Pfluger, my neighbor to the South.
August Pfluger: (11:01)
Folks, thank y’all for being here. The fact that the…
August Pfluger: (11:03)
Folks, thank you all for being here. The fact that the Biden administration and President Biden himself will not admit that this is a crisis is a shame. Even those in his administration in HHS have admitted that we have a refugee crisis. They have set several additional housing locations,, one in my district where 700 people were moved overnight with no notification to local elected people, no notification to the sheriffs or law enforcement or the judges. And overnight 700 unaccompanied people, unaccompanied children have been moved into Midland, Texas. The Biden Administration and his policies have resulted in some winners and losers. The winners are the human traffickers who know that because we don’t have a secure border, that they can move these children. And when we looked in their eyes today, what we saw was children who were being taken advantage of exploited on that 22 day trip. And not only that, but the fact that we have folks who are on the terrorist watch list that are being moved into this country illegally, that are taking advantage of these bad policies that know, because we don’t have a strong, secure border,, that the border wall construction has stopped and been halted about 22 days ago, now they have something to take advantage of. We implore the Biden administration to come visit, to see what their policies have done to these children, what they have done to make our country less secure.
August Pfluger: (12:34)
I’d like to introduce Congressman Joyce from Ohio.
Congressman Joyce: (12:42)
Thank you all for being here and thank you for the opportunity to review the border situation. The interior department controls 40% of the border. And unfortunately, the backlog that has been created, we’ve been managing over the last few years to knock down is now being exacerbated because the things that were being done on the wall when this was all stopped, are not being done anymore. What is important is that there’s 173% increase in the last month of people coming across the border, kids coming across the border. It’s a humanitarian crisis. It’s a legal crisis and it needs to be fixed and addressed.
Congressman Joyce: (13:16)
Some of the agents were just telling us that as a member of the opioid caucus, I could tell you that with fentanyl coming across this border, more kids are going to die. We’re killing our own kids. We’re making it unsafe for those kids who were making the voyage up here. And why? Because we don’t tell them that we are a country of immigrants, but we are also a country of laws. And those two don’t have to contradict each other. Thank you.
Congressman Joyce: (13:41)
And I introduce my friend, Chuck Fleischmann.
Chuck Fleischmann: (13:47)
Good afternoon. I’m Chuck Fleischmann. I am the appropriator chair of the appropriation subcommittee on appropriations. I want to speak you all today. I’m sorry. I’m a ranking member [inaudible 00:14:04]. I’m a little bit shaken today. I’ve made several trips to the border, McAllen, Rio Grande sector here in El Paso with the past administration in regard to my capacity. But today we are seeing a crisis. Now by crisis, such as pandemic is large. It has immediate concerns. It has long-term concerns, but this crisis at the border, which was incentivized, president Biden and his minions created an environment causing this surge. That’s what’s wrong about this? Talk to the migrants. They’ve been told, come on, come across from all over a host of countries.
Chuck Fleischmann: (14:48)
What does that mean? Human costs, humanitarian costs. It means complete failure here at the border. It means threats to the United States. My counterparts have talked about a lot of the different specifics, but let me be clear about this. What we need to do is no more euphemisms from this White House, no more political maneuvering by Pelosi and Schumer, to try to call it a challenge. It is a crisis with dire multiple problems involved with this. What we need to do is act now, act as Americans, act united.
Chuck Fleischmann: (15:29)
And I will close with this. As the appropriator on Homeland Security, we know they’re going to come with what? A supplement, a request for more money. We’ve got to put those resources where they’re needed, but just think of it. But for the actions of this president, which he will not acknowledge, he’s created this crisis. We have got to stop it. We’ve got to come together as Americans. Not just Republicans and Democrats, not just members of the administration or the House and Senate, but as Americans and deal with this. Thank you.
Chuck Fleischmann: (16:05)
My good friend, Clay Higgins from Louisiana.
Clay Higgins: (16:09)
Thank you, sir. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here today. It’s unfortunate that we, as a nation, have allowed this crisis to develop and it began last year when, then candidate Biden, continuously messaged that he was going to weaken law enforcement missions on the border and stop construction of the wall, create a pathway to citizenship, or amnesty for illegal residents that were already here. The cartels were listening. Most of you know that the cartels’ infrastructure is incredibly and they are very well- funded. So they began getting ready, man. They were hoping for a Biden victory and on January the 20th, Joe Biden was inaugurated as our president.
Clay Higgins: (17:12)
So I’m going to ask President Biden to please pay attention because I’m talking straight to you now, sir. Allow us an audience with you. You have been misled. The policies that you have signed into effect are injuring the American citizens you serve and endangering the children of God that are making this trek to our Southern border under incredibly dangerous circumstances. Allow the voice of reason to enter the White House.
Clay Higgins: (17:59)
You took charge of this country on January the 20th, and on the very same day, you gave control of our border to the cartels. You can fix this thing, working with us. If America is paying attention, and I believe they are, your phone is going to start ringing. I implore you, good, sir, let us in. We can fix this thing. It’s beyond a crisis at the border. It’s a threat to our Republic and you Mr. President have a responsibility to listen to the citizens that we serve.
Clay Higgins: (18:47)
God bless one and all. Thank you for being here and reporting this.
Yvette Herrell: (18:57)
Hi, thank you for being here. I’m representative Yvette Herrell from New Mexico, Second Congressional District. So the El Paso sector where we just visited today, serves the district that I represent. So I’m grateful for leader McCarthy and all of these colleagues of mine coming here to understand what we’re facing. And I don’t want to repeat everything they’ve said, but I do want to let you know that we have introduced a policy that is very effective for the border patrol. And they just told us repeatedly. Title 42 is helping. But if this president takes that away, then it opens the flood gates even more so.
Yvette Herrell: (19:33)
This Title 42 allows our border patrol agents to process on the border and expel those that are coming here illegally because we are under pandemic conditions. And I know there’s not one of you in this crowd that hasn’t been impacted by the COVID 19. Maybe you know somebody who passed away, somebody who’s sick, somebody who is alone in the hospital, somebody who lost a job,, closed a business, we’ve all been impacted by COVID 19. And for our president to think opening the southern border to allow those coming in, and you just heard it, that are infected with or have been exposed to COVID makes no sense at all. So the [inaudible 00:20:09] and the curve and all the work we’ve done as a country to get our kids educated, open up our economies, and ensure that we are doing the right thing to overcome the pandemic, opening the southern border makes no sense. We’ve just taken three steps forward and 10 giant steps backwards.
Yvette Herrell: (20:25)
So thank you for being here and covering this. It is a humanitarian crisis, but it’s also a public health crisis. And Americans are just as much at risk as those making the trek over. So thank you for covering this today.
Yvette Herrell: (20:39)
And with that, my friend, Representative Salazar from Florida.
Maria Salazar: (20:47)
Thank you very much leader for inviting us to come to the border. My name is Maria Salazar and I represent Miami, probably the ultimate melting pot, where we have thousands and thousands of Hispanic Americans. And I’m going to say my remarks in English and then in Spanish, because we, the Hispanic Americans in this country, we have a problem and we need to be part of the solution. We need to join forces and send a message that we cannot allow what’s happening on the border. Because it’s are our girls, Honduras, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, are the ones who are being raped. It’s our girls, the ones that children who are being trafficked. I’m not sure that you know that sex child, sex trafficking is one of the highest international crimes booming in this country.
Maria Salazar: (21:35)
So I ask all of you to help me. I ask my community not only Miami, but across the country, the Hispanic Americans, to send a message to your representatives, that we cannot have this happening at the border because the overwhelming majority of the people that are trying to come in belong to our group, to our ethnic group. We need to stop this. We need to stop being pawns of the politicians in Washington.
Maria Salazar: (22:03)
We need to stop being pawns of the politicians in Washington and pawns of the traffickers who are trafficking with our children, our families, and our women. So it’s a time for us to rise up and send a message, something that we haven’t done before, loud and clear to your representatives, whether Republicans or Democrats. It doesn’t matter. It’s a problem that belongs to all Americans, including the Hispanic Americans in this country. So I want to invite my friend, Carlos Giménez. If you want to do this in Spanish, so we can send a message through Univision and Telemundo.
Carlos Giménez: (22:37)
Sure, okay. Thank you.
Maria Salazar: (22:41)
Carlos Gimenez, also from South Florida.
Carlos Giménez: (22:43)
Yes. I want to reiterate what my colleague, Maria, has said about what really struck me here. We’re going to listen a lot to what’s wrong about this policy to America. But really, what’s wrong about this policy is also the migrants that are trying to make this trip here and the danger that they’re being put in. I spoke to a family, and luckily for them, they were a family, they were together still, that told me it took them 22 days to come from Honduras. They were incentivized by the rhetoric, by the change of policy, that they were actually… It was a pretty harrowing trip. Many of them don’t make it. And so for Maria and I, and Hispanics across the nation, we need to think about, Hey, we’re putting our own people’s lives at risk because of this policy.
Carlos Giménez: (23:35)
And so, again, I ask the president, reverse the policy, restore some of the agreements that you had with Central American countries and Mexico to make sure that we disincentivize people from coming here in an illegal fashion, being the pawns of traffickers, human traffickers. They’re the ones that are making all the money on this. They’re the ones that are profiting from this trafficking that’s happening right now. And so I’m going to say a couple of words in Spanish.
Carlos Giménez: (24:04)
[foreign language 00:24:04] Leader McCarthy [foreign language 00:24:10].
Maria Salazar: (25:32)
[foreign language 00:25:32].
Carlos Giménez: (26:59)
All right. Now, now we’re going to bring up Representative John Rose from Tennessee.
John Rose: (27:09)
Thank you. It’s a privilege to be here at the border today. And I want to thank leader McCarthy for putting this trip together to open the eyes for people like me. I represent the people of the Sixth District of Tennessee, along way from the Southern border. Today, I have to tell the people of the Sixth District and the people of our great country that as I looked into the eyes of these young immigrants, of these hopeful families who have been encouraged to come here by the misguided perceptions of our current president, they’re coming with the hope to achieve the American dream. But unfortunately, before they ever have that chance to achieve the American dream, they’re going to have to experience the Biden nightmare of making their way across this long and treacherous track, many of whom will not be successful, and then only to be greeted with the process that is not meant to accommodate them.
John Rose: (28:10)
So as I think about the people I represent back in Tennessee, I call upon our president to end this nightmare by announcing to the world that the Southern border of the United States is open for legal immigration. And I call on him to do that now. Thank you.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks: (28:33)
Good afternoon, Mariannette Miller-Meeks from Iowa. It may seem strange to have someone from Iowa, but I’m part of Homeland Security, Emergency Preparedness, and Border Security. And I just want to remind you, one of the things that we learned at the border today is that when 120 border patrol officers are taken from the border to a processing center, that leaves our border porous. And what did we learn? That there are drug traffickers and there are individuals on the terror watch list that are coming across our border illegally, from Yemeni, Syria, Iran. They’re coming here and they’re on the terror watch list. We also, they had a huge apprehension of fentanyl. Well, Interstate 35 goes all the way up, all the way up to Iowa. And we have drug problems all throughout the I-35 corridor. And that continues when we allow illegal drugs to come in here, trafficking.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks: (29:21)
I’m also a former director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. We learned today that there’s not testing, that 50% of the border patrol agents have contracted COVID-19, that there’s a mental health strain on them. Imagine during the pandemic, having had policies that work, and in the blink of an eye, having policies that are stopped and your life is further put at risk, and you’re imperiled of trying to do your best to help families and to help unaccompanied children. And then I’m going to speak to you as a mother. I cannot even imagine dropping off a one-year-old child to a smuggler, to a trafficker, to a cartel, to hopefully, that child, make it to some family member or NGO in the United States of America, that that child not knowing where they go. And our border patrol and our HHS tried to do their best to make sure that they get to where they should be going, to some sponsor. But we can’t guarantee that.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks: (30:21)
Imagine if that’s your child. It’s unconscionable that we would put policies in place that would damage children, and that would damage families, in addition to damaging those in the United States. Those policies need to come to an end. This is crisis and disorder at the border by executive order. Thank you very much. And now I’m going to introduce to you, Representative Michael Cloud.
Michael Cloud: (30:48)
Michael Cloud from Texas 27th, the other side of Texas. Thanks for being here. Thank you, Leader McCarthy, for taking us here to see what we had to see today. We are a compassionate nation, but lawlessness is not compassion. Aiding and abetting cartels is not compassion. Putting in policies that allow them to abuse women on the journey is not compassion. Allowing them to grow and be funded into a de-stabling force in these nations that are trying to thrive and survive and create a thriving economy for their people is not compassion. The policies that the Biden Administration has put in place has caused this crisis at the border. It was predictable. It was easy to avoid. And it’s unfortunate that we are here again to talk about this today, but we have to be here. The lives of these people deserve it. We need to be here to tell their story.
Michael Cloud: (31:45)
It’s ironic that we are taking people off the border to help process and do the paperwork to help these migrants be eventually released into the United States. So essentially, we have turned the people who have signed up to protect our border into the last mile delivery system of the cartel, migrant, human trafficking organization. This is tragic. It needs to stop. It’s a different thing when you come into a situation as a president and you inherit a crisis and have to make tough decisions to change it and to stop it and to mitigate it. But what’s extremely tragic about the crisis that we find ourselves in today is all that Biden had to do to avoid it was nothing. All he had to do was nothing. We can fix this. We can secure our border. We can protect the lives of these people, and we can keep this nation strong and help push back the cartel influence in our nation and throughout Central and South America.
Speaker 1: (32:53)
What’s so difficult is small, common sense ideas that we didn’t have to be here. Midnight, January 20th, 150 miles of wall was supposed to be built here. They’re at-
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (33:03)
… 150 miles of wall was supposed to be built here. They’re at 133, 17 miles to go. Before you build the wall, even on private land, you remove the last border. But as President Biden became president, it all stopped. So it’s not just people coming across, animals and others. The personal questions we asked the border agents, you look in their eyes, they tell you they see more Fentanyl then they’ve ever seen. They’re more than just a job. These people are mothers and fathers. They said they’ve never seen so many unaccompanied children, holding hands and walking up to him with nobody in sight.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (33:46)
They told me of a one-year-old, a three-year-old and a five-year-old holding their hands. Could you ever envision that of your children? This doesn’t have to be this way. We are a land of immigrants, we can continue to have that. But what’s happening right now is beyond a crisis. It’s a human heartbreak. And for our President of the United States to ignore it, not acknowledge it, or not do something to stop and save the lives, the health of this nation, the safety and security of Americans and our border, is the job of the President. He is the one who created this and he is the one who can fix it. With that. Let’s take some questions. Yes sir?
Speaker 2: (34:35)
Could you tell us a little bit more about the people on the terrorist watch list?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (34:39)
Well, when we were up at monument three, they talked about it, that they are seeing… When they talked about the 100 and 200 people a night, that you saw in their eyes, they talked about they’re on the list. John Katko here who prosecutes terrorists and others is the head of Homeland on the Republican side. Asked him the question, “What list are you talking about?” “The terrorist watch list.” We asked him, “Which countries are people coming from?” “Yemen, Iran, Sri Lanka.” That’s what’s coming across. They even talked about Chinese as well. And the problem, what they would tell you is that these cartels, because the highway is right next to it, would rush it with 80 people or more to have the border patrol, go there to try to overrun, and it’s not far to be able to getting safety or security away from the border patrol agents.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (35:34)
They have a short timeframe to catch these individuals, but they’re embedded together. And when you overwhelm the unit, but think about the opportunity that these cartels now have. We had built a facility larger than we ever thought we can meet. Today, made history. Today, they overcapacity. And you know what I asked him, “well, is it slowing down?” “No, it’s only growing, exponentially every single day.” From the very first day, the president said his priority was to make 11 million a citizen. So when you asked the family from Honduras, “Why was it 22 days?” Because they just got the message about a month ago that they should mark this trek. That’s the change that is happening. Yes?
Speaker 3: (36:25)
You spoke about the children and how they’re suffering. My understanding is that a lot of these children have actually been waiting along the border for the last maybe year or two, even, which also seems inhumane. What is your suggestion, what should be the solution? What should happen?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (36:43)
Well, I think when you meet on the other side of the border, what it was coming to, asylum. Why would you risk a child going from a country to a country, if you’re going to claim asylum and you’re leaving another country, but passing another one? Wouldn’t you want that case, because when the cases are heard in America, 80% of them don’t reach that. So why don’t you have that answer back in your own home country? We had the program pacer that the president pulled, that’s why we’re seeing more come.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (37:10)
I believe in legal immigration, to have a system that works. But there’s never a right time to have illegal immigration. And when you had your own secretary to simply say, “We’re not saying don’t come, just don’t come right now.” What happens is just what Maria talked about, the human trafficking of these children. When we walk those facilities and we looked in those rooms that were packed. These were children with no parents. These were children that went numbers of days. Who knows what happened to them? Who knows who didn’t make it? So no, don’t encourage them to come. Yes ma’am?
Speaker 4: (37:51)
Hi Representative McCarthy, thanks for hosting us. I wanted to ask, I mean right now immigration policy is essentially at the whim of the administration. We had Trump, now we have Biden, [inaudible 00:38:01] president again. So what can Congress do? And my second question would be a lot of the talk from your colleagues as well as you, is the question of the right way to come. What is the right way to come?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (38:12)
Well, that’s perfect. And don’t misconfuse border security with immigration. They’re two separate. Right now, we have a border that is not secure. Right now, we know drugs, we know terrorists, we know what’s happening to unaccompanied children coming across. The right way is to have a system that can work, that you don’t wait forever. A right way to have a system that I believe fundamentally, even when you’re talking about an education, when somebody is here, they get an engineering degree and others, then we tell them to go away and compete against us. I’m going to celebrate because every family’s a family of immigrants. April 23rd of this year will be the 100th anniversary of my grandfather coming from Italy and landing on Ellis Island. He came with his mother, he applied. He had somebody who sponsored him. He went to work, his father, his mother.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: (39:05)
This is a system that we have to keep families together. I don’t think we should put the married brothers and the others, but let’s make a system that actually works. Put it on merit, have the ability to come. I believe just as Republicans, when we were in the majority, we offered two different bills for immigration reform. The Democrats held back every single vote, instead of moving it forward to the Senate. They’d rather have it for a political ploy. We can solve the immigration problem, but don’t confuse a border crisis with an immigration problem. Those are different. Thank you very much for coming.