Today, U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) questioned U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske about the agency's request for an increase of $687 million in federal funding for the next fiscal year. Rogers applauded CBP for improved security efforts for people traveling with visas, but expressed concern for reduced border security and enforcement of immigration laws.
"The President’s unilateral action on immigration demonstrates he has no intention of working with Congress or respecting our Constitutional authority," said Rogers. "Unfortunately, you and your agency are caught in the middle of this fight, and it has made passing an annual appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security incredibly difficult. It also makes it impossible to move forward on any meaningful immigration reforms while the President remains in office."
Recently, there has been an unprecedented spike in unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S. southern border. In the first four months of fiscal year 2016, the U.S. Border Patrol has apprehended 20,000 unaccompanied alien children.
"That’s double the number that were apprehend in the same timeframe last year," stated Rogers. "Unfortunately, this humanitarian crisis does not appear to be subsiding anytime soon and this committee will continue to work with you to provide CPB the resources that are needed to manage the situation."
Many of those families and children are fleeing their countries due to a surge in drug cartel and gang violence across Central and South America. Rogers raised additional concern for the proposed reduction of 300 Border Patrol Agents at a time when drug cartels from Mexico and elsewhere are flooding urban and rural communities in America with heroin.
"Others in the Administration have rightfully labeled the abuse of opioids as a national epidemic, with roughly 100 Americans losing their battle to addiction every day – and yet you have proposed to reduce our first line of defense against the entry of these dangerous, deadly drugs without the benefit of any supporting analysis that Border Patrol’s mission won’t be compromised," said Rogers.
Click here to watch the CBP budget hearing for FY17.