Homeland Security Chair blasts Biden as number of illegal migrants caught by Coast Guard doubles
The President Joe Biden has come under fire following a report that shows the number of illegal aliens caught by the Coast Guard as they tried to enter the U.S. doubled over the past few years.
Heather MacLeod is the director of Homeland Security and Justice for the Government Accountability Office. She presented this data during an hearing held last week.
MacLeod stated in his prepared testimony that “the Coast Guard interdicted over 12,000 migrants both in fiscal years 2022 and 2023, more than twice the total of fiscal year fiscal 2021,” according to Coast Guard statistics.
Mark Green, R.-Tenn. Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has responded to The Center Square reporting about increased interdictions by saying that President Joe Biden’s immigration policies endanger U.S. military personnel.
Green told The Center Square that “the unprecedented number of encounters along our Southwest border is certainly the primary driver of this crisis. But they are not the only ones.” Illegal aliens are also trying to exploit America’s maritime border. The U.S. Coast Guard and Air and Marine Operations officers are tasked with stopping the flow of deadly narcotics and illegal immigration along this route.
Green blamed Biden for the escalating illegal immigration crisis that has occurred since Biden assumed office. Since January 2021, about 10 million illegal immigrants have entered the U.S.
Green stated that “every day, the Coast Guard performs a vital role in protecting our waterways. It is unconscionable for Secretary Mayorkas, and President Biden to continue making their jobs harder with their policies of catch-and release, which have encouraged individuals to try this route and emboldened cartels to sell more drugs.”
MacLeod warned that the U.S. can expect this number to increase. Although land crossings are the majority of migrants crossings, groups could ship larger quantities of illicit drugs via water transport.
At the same hearing, Rear Admiral Jo Ann Burdian, Assistant Commander for Response Policy (CG-5R), U.S. Coast Guard testified that “every year, thousands” of people try to migrate by sea. Many of these migrants use the services of organized smuggling organizations and are often on dangerously overloaded vessels, which may be unseaworthy or unsafe. Many of the Coast Guard’s migrant interdiction missions begin as search-and-rescue missions.
Burdian continued, “The Coast Guard uses cutters, boats and fixed-wing aircraft to intercept migrant ships as far away from U.S. coasts as possible.”
In one case from 2021, the Department of Justice reported that six Colombians pleaded guilty for conspiring to use “narcosubmarines” in order to transport nearly 20,000 kilograms of cocaine to the Sinaloa Cartel based in the U.S.
MacLeod stated that the number migrants trying to enter the U.S. via sea is likely to continue to increase.
MacLeod stated that “from fiscal years 2011 to 2020, drug interdiction accounted 13 percent of the estimated operating costs [of the U.S. Coast Guard], migrant interdiction accounted 8 percent and other law enforcement 2%, which includes preventing IUU fishery,” MacLeod added. “The annual operating costs of these three missions averaged over $1.5 billion during this period.”
The U.S. Coast Guard, DHS, and Department of Defense work together to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.
Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), Chairman of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, presided over the hearing held this week. He highlighted the dangers for the migrants who attempt these water journeys, as well as Americans poisoned by drugs such as fentanyl. This drug has killed tens and thousands of Americans within the last few years.
Webster stated in his opening remarks during the hearing that “the Coast Guard is America’s premier maritime enforcement agency, and it is actively engaged in combating illicit maritime activities.” Webster said that the Coast Guard is actively engaged in countering illicit maritime activity.