Capito: Border crisis worsens

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Sen. Capito walks through the halls on Capitol Hill in this file photo. AP photo

Source: Bluefield Daily Telegraph, By Charles Boothe,  June 18, 2022

As other issues have been dominating headlines, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Thursday the crisis at the southern border continues, with record numbers apprehended and no federal action.

“I know West Virginians are concerned,” she said. ‘In the month of May, more than 239,000 illegal immigrants crossed the southern border. That is the highest ever in the history of immigration (for a month).”

Capito said during a press briefing from her office Thursday the Biden Administration continues to do nothing to stop the influx of illegals.

“The administration is still not dealing with the open border policy they came into the presidency on,” she said of the continued inaction to deter the influx of migrants.

That neglect has also increased other, very dangerous problems.

“The amount of seizures of illicit drugs has gone way up, which means more is coming and more is getting through,” she said. “I am very concerned about what this means to our homeland security.”

The deadly drug fentanyl continues to be major health concern in the country, and in West Virginia.

Across the country, 100,306 people died of fatal overdoses from May 2020 to April 2021, according to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data available. Roughly two-thirds of those deaths were related to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances.

Capito, who has made trips to the border to see first-hand what is happening, said recently that drug traffickers are also trafficking children.

Although Pres. Joe Biden’s plan to shut down Title 42 was thwarted in federal court, the numbers keep growing.

Title 42 is a pandemic-related policy that gives the border patrol the authority to stop anyone seeking asylum other than unaccompanied minors at the border and to send them immediately back into Mexico.

According to an article in the Washington Post, the latest figures indicate the Biden Administration applied the policy to fewer than half the migrants taken into government custody in May.

The May numbers were also elevated by growing numbers of migrants arriving from Turkey, India, Russia and other nations outside the Western Hemisphere, the latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) figures show.

The CBP said the agency is “on pace to exceed 2 million detentions during fiscal 2022, which ends in September, after tallying a record 1.73 million in 2021,” the article said.

“I implore the administration to please, please start working on policies of deterrence, and start drying up the numbers of people coming into this country and being released into the country,” Capito said. “We don’t know who they are and they are being released in numbers unimaginable, and they are going to be here at least five to six years before their cases are fully heard.”

Capito, who is the ranking member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, has also in the past been critical of Vice President Kamala Harris’ role as coordinator of the administration’s Root Causes Strategy, which aligns U.S. Government efforts to address the economic, governance, and security drivers of irregular migration from Central America.

Harris has “done nothing,” she said in a previous interview.

In February during a speech on the Senate floor, Capito blasted the administration for not taking action.

“It is Groundhog Day,” she said. “And we were here, I was here, in October with many of us when we had a press conference in the press room in the Capitol talking about this very issue. And…the bottom line was: do something. So here we are again. More press conferences, more statistics, more outrage at the situation at the southern border.”

But nothing has been done as the problems worsen.

Capito has also pointed out the costs involved.

“This is costing us, last year, about $1 billion,” she said recently of the monetary expense. “I’m going to outline these quickly: $335 million for housing, $160 million for medical care. This is just in Homeland Security. Health and Human Services has an even larger budget on health. $90 million on hotels and processing. $70 million for overtime for personnel at the border, and another $60 million for shuttling migrants from one facility to the next.”

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com