Sen. Hawley on Crisis at the Border: The Behavior of this Congress is Pathetic

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

One day after a photo was published of an El Salvadoran father who drowned to death with his 23-month-old daughter, Senator Hawley called Congress’ inaction on the crisis at the border “pathetic” and a “complete dereliction of duty.” Senator Hawley made the comments at a hearing on border security in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The behavior of this congress is absolutely pathetic. I mean, it is just pathetic.

People up here should be apologizing to you for the total dereliction of duty that this Congress has undertaken. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. This is, by my count the, the sixth hearing, full hearing, I’ve sat through in 4 months on the border. Which is great. I’m glad we’re paying some attention to it.

The problem is this Congress never does anything. This Congress refuses to do anything. We know what the facts are, you’ve outlined them again today:

CBP is overcapacity, underfunded, undermanned. 
ICE: overcapacity, underfunded. 
HHS: overcapacity, underfunded.

Yet this Congress will do nothing.

Meanwhile, the cartels and the smuggling rings, what are they doing? They’re lying to vulnerable families, exploiting children, in order to turn profits and abuse our broken asylum system.

And we know what needs to happen. We know we need to reform the asylum system. We know we’ve got to stop the pull factors, as well as address the push factors. We know all that, but this Congress won’t do anything.

This morning I’ve heard, just from my colleagues across the aisle this morning, I’ve heard statements like: “I’m heartbroken.” “No one is more vulnerable than a child.” “The status quo is unacceptable.” “It is unsustainable.”

But, yet we don’t do anything to change it. And there’s no will to change it. Children are being exploited. This morning we woke up to the picture of the man from El Salvador and his young daughter, dead, face-down in the water. Why? Because they were exploited. Who knows how much that poor gentleman paid to some smuggling ring who told him that if he just came to the United States, to our border and claimed asylum, he’d automatically get in. That was a lie.

Who knows what lies he was told. And here he ends up, he and his little baby, dead. And this Congress still refuses to act. I mean, it is absolutely unconscionable.

We know what needs to be done. Nobody will do it. And my view is we can talk, and talk, and talk, but until this Congress is willing to take some action, I mean, I’m just sorry, for what it is you have to deal with. I’m sorry that this Congress has left you without the resources you need. I’m sorry that this Congress has not done its duty. I’m sorry that this Congress has left, not only our southern border exposed and vulnerable, but has left children exploited day, after day, after day. And until this wretched Congress decides to do something, I don’t know why we even bother to have these hearings. I don’t know why it even matters. Because this Congress will not act. This Congress refuses to act. And it’s a complete dereliction of duty.

So thank you, gentlemen, for your service. Thank you for what you are doing.

I would say to the President – I would encourage the President to take every action that he possibly can within the bounds of the law to address this crisis and secure the border because it is clear to me that this Congress will not act in any meaningful way. So as long as this Congress refuses to act, the President needs to act, and so I urge him and urge the administration to do everything within their lawful authority to address this crisis because this Congress is not going to.