Hyde-Smith, Republican Appropriators Use Hearing to Argue Against Continuing Policies Fueling Border Crisis

110823 Border Supplemental
VIDEO:  Senator Hyde-Smith Wants Border Policy Changes with Supplemental Funding Request.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and fellow Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans today used a hearing on President Biden’s request for emergency funding for border security to pressure administration officials to change the policies fueling the ongoing border crisis.

The border and illegal immigration crisis dominated a full committee hearing to review the supplemental appropriations requests for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  (The committee last week reviewed defense-related requests in Biden’s $106 billion package.)

“There will be pushback to the emergency supplemental border request if the administration continues to refuse to acknowledge its role in creating and sustaining the border crisis,” Hyde-Smith said following the hearing.  “I am certainly frustrated that the Biden administration is giving us every indication that it will stick with policies that incentivize illegal border crossings and all forms of human and drug trafficking.”

President Biden in October asked Congress to provide DHS with $8.7 billion of a nearly $14 billion “border supplemental” request.  It has come under fire for focusing less on borders security and more on accelerating asylum claim processes and bailing out liberal sanctuary cities.

“It is clear that of all the border policies this administration has in place are failing terribly.  You, yourself last week said there is a need for policy changes.  Yet, the funding requested in this supplemental will do little to secure our border, and instead it will throw money at sanctuary cities and inflate our asylum problems even further,” Hyde-Smith told DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.  “What this administration has is a policy problem, or perhaps more appropriately, an ‘implementation of the law problem,’ not a funding problem.”

Mayorkas refused to admit the border situation is a “disaster,” but lauded the implementation of “the largest expansion of lawful pathways in decades.”   He repeatedly placed blame on Congress for providing insufficient funding, failing to reform immigration laws, and facing an “unprecedented flow of hemispheric migration.”  

Hyde-Smith also challenged HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra on his agency’s policy of using taxpayer dollars to fund abortions for unaccompanied alien minors.

“Staying on the topic of immigration.  Mr. Secretary, your department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement is acting in defiance of the Hyde Amendment by using taxpayer dollars to transport pregnant unaccompanied alien girls across state lines to obtain abortions, clearly acting to circumvent pro-life state laws,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Secretary Becerra, how many abortions for pregnant migrant girls has the Office of Refugee Resettlement illegally facilitated across state lines over the past year, and what was that cost to taxpayers?”

Claiming HHS complies with the law in providing “health services,” Becerra agreed to provide Hyde-Smith with those figures.

Hyde-Smith and colleagues last week submitted a comment letter in opposition to a HHS proposed rule to formally sanction the use taxpayer dollars for abortions for minors at the border.