Cartel Crime, Coming to a TN Neighborhood Near You
Tennessee’s Chairman Green Sounds Alarm on Cartel Dangers in Hearing
WASHINGTON—Today, Chairman Mark Green gave the following opening statement during today’s House Homeland Security Committee hearing titled, “Biden and Mayorkas’ Open Border: Advancing Cartel Crime in America.” The hearing explored how Secretary Mayorkas’ open border has emboldened and enriched cartels and wreaked havoc on communities across the country.
Excerpts of Chairman Green’s remarks as prepared:
“The Southwest border is wide open. The evidence is clear: More than 5.5 million encounters, more than 1.5 million known gotaways since FY21, nearly 380,000 encounters of unaccompanied minors, and a record number of fentanyl poisonings in the United States, largely driven by drugs flooding across the Southwest border.
“This crisis is the direct result of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ dereliction of duty. This Committee’s interim Phase 1 report is being published later today, and makes all of this clear. Today’s hearing, and subsequent hearings, will examine the costs and consequences of this dereliction.
“The people flooding to our border, whether between the ports or at them, are still having to put themselves in the hands of the cartels, paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to get to the border, no matter where they cross. The cartels are still raking in the profits, and migrants are still being smuggled, trafficked, and abused. Our focus today is on those Mexican drug cartels, and how they are running wild under Secretary Mayorkas’ policies. One thing is clear, the cartels have seized control of our own border. These organizations are the most vicious, evil organizations in the Western Hemisphere.
“What is unprecedented is the level of control these evil organizations now exert at both our Southwest border and the interior of our country, the boldness with which they operate in open defiance of law enforcement, and the profits they are raking in. Both Americans as well as migrants are suffering from their wrath. It is virtually impossible to cross the Southwest border without first paying the cartels. People are killed simply for trying to do so.
“Meanwhile, Secretary Mayorkas’ policies have pulled thousands of Border Patrol agents off the line to process and release these aliens into the interior as quickly as possible. This is not the work they signed up to do, and as the former chief of the Border Patrol recently told us, has made many agents feel like smugglers themselves. Cartels purposefully overwhelm Border Patrol agents with illegal crossers in one area as a distraction, so they can smuggle other aliens or drugs across in the areas just vacated by those agents. Amazingly, Secretary Mayorkas admitted to the Senate under oath in March that he was not aware of this strategy. Meanwhile, his Attorney General did know the tactic used by the cartels. Unbelievable.
“Business is so good that the cartels have devised a complex system for the massive number of people trying to illegally cross the Southwest border. For instance, cartels use colored wristbands to inventory those who are attempting to cross. Secretary Mayorkas told the Senate in that same hearing he wasn’t familiar with these wristbands, either.
“The tidal wave of human smuggling and trafficking has led to an increased number of car chases on our streets, putting law enforcement, innocent Americans, and the migrants themselves at risk. One sheriff told us his department arrested 169 human smugglers in 2021, and is on pace to arrest more than 900 this year. Another sheriff said his county deals with 3-4 chases per day, involving groups of 20 people or more. The cartels are recruiting American teenagers to drive for them, implicating our youth in horrendous crimes.
“Transnational gangs like MS-13, whose motto is ‘kill, rape, control,’ are also taking advantage. A senior Border Patrol agent has said that gang members ‘attempt to evade arrest by exploiting the influx of migrants attempting to enter our country.’ These gangs work closely with the cartels to support operations on both sides of the border. According to ICE, 40 percent of MS-13 members they arrest arrived in the United States as unaccompanied alien children. MS-13 also forces women and girls into sex trafficking to make money for the gang. Cartels have made a record amount of money over the last two years. In 2021 alone, the cartels made an estimated $13 billion just from human trafficking and smuggling. Then there’s the fentanyl. It costs as little as 10 cents to produce a fake prescription pill laced with fentanyl, which can be sold for $10-$30. 10 kilos of fentanyl is worth about $20 million, but only costs about $50,000 to produce.
“Every dollar the cartels rake in comes at the cost of an American life or livelihood. There were more than 109,000 drug deaths in 2022 alone, many from fentanyl. And the cartels are continuing to push fentanyl into our country in record amounts, destroying our communities, one family at a time.
“While Mayorkas has been implementing his open-borders agenda, his boss in the White House has utterly failed to put meaningful pressure on the Mexican government to fight back against the cartels and deal with the violence and corruption impacting not just Mexico, but our country, as well.
"The United States is the most powerful nation in the world, and yet, we do not control our own sovereign Southwest border. If that’s not evidence of Mayorkas’ failures, I don’t know what is."
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://markgreen.house.gov/2023/7/tennessee-s-chairman-green-sounds-alarm-on-cartel-dangers-in-hearing