The Republican-controlled House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing Tuesday to examine the Border Crisis, hearing testimony from various witnesses, including Rebecca Kiessling, a grieving mother whose two sons died of fentanyl overdoses. Other witnesses included Pinal County, Ariz., Sheriff Mark Lamb; Robert Trenschel, a Yuma, Arizona hospital executive; and David J. Bier Associate Director of Immigration Studies at the CATO Institute.
The hearing, titled, “Every State is a Border State: Examining Secretary Mayorkas’ Border Crisis,” focused on how the Biden administration’s open border policies have led to a deadly spike in illegal narcotics smuggling. According to Sheriff Lamb, when officials ask illegal immigrants why they crossed the border into the United States, they answer “because Joe Biden said we could.”
“This is the reality of what we deal with every day,” he stated.
In his opening statement, Committee Chairman Mark Green, MD (R-Tenn.) blamed the Biden regime’s border policies for the massive spike in drug smuggling and human trafficking at the southern border.
“In 2021 alone, the Administration eliminated or began to shut down 89 successful border security policies, leading to the current chaos,” Green said. “The Mayorkas border crisis is enriching cartels and human traffickers. Violent cartel and gang activity is significantly increasing throughout the United States, and illegal drugs continue to pour over the border in massive quantities.”
The congressman displayed a picture of one of the victims of the Biden regimes’ lax border policies.
“The picture you see behind me is of a woman raped, and scalped by the drug cartels. Her body was dropped at an elementary school in Texas to make a point,” he said.
Today you’re going to hear how the cartels move people into our country for a price. And in many cases, that price is paid with forced criminal activity operating from stash houses inside the United States. When the illegal aliens trafficked by the cartels refuse to comply, this happens to them.
Further, the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 45 years old is now fentanyl. Our country now faces record fatalities from drug overdoses, eclipsing 100,000 deaths, 71,000 from synthetic opioids alone.
As a result, families and communities have been utterly devastated. Our first witness, Rebecca Kissling, lost two sons, Caleb (20-years-old) and Kyler (18-years-old) to fentanyl poisoning in 2020. Sadly, there are thousands of parents, such as Rebecca, who are grieving the loss of their children to this deadly drug.
During her emotional testimony, Kiessling, a lawyer from Michigan, explained how her boys bought pills from a drug dealer, thinking they were buying the pain killer Percocet. In reality, she said the pills contained deadly amounts of fentanyl, and killed both of her sons, aged 18 and 20, in 2020.
“You’re talking about children being taken away from their parents,” Kiessling cried. “My children were taken away from me … this should not be politicized.”
Thank you, Rebecca, for giving your testimony during the @HomelandGOP hearing today. The loss of your sons is an unimaginable tragedy, and our hearts will always be with you and your family. Your strength and resolve is inspiring. /1 pic.twitter.com/ITJ4J8ljb9
— Rep. Mark Green (@RepMarkGreen) February 28, 2023
Sheriff Lamb said his county has seen “a 600 percent increase” of the deadly opioid.
“In our county we’ve seen a 600 percent increase in fentanyl in my community. In 2018, we had zero M30 fentanyl pill seizures. In 2019, we had around 700 pills. In 2020, we have over 200,000 pills. In 2021, we had over 1.2 million pills and this last year, we had over 1.4 million pills,” he said.
Lamb testified to the human cost of the drug trafficking, stating that in Arizona in 2021, 44 children died of fentanyl poisonings under the age of 17. “Seven were under the age one year old. If that doesn’t mobilize the forces of this country to stop this problem, I don’t know what will,” he said.
Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Mark Lamb: "In the state of Arizona in 2021, we lost 44 children to [fentanyl] poisonings under the age of 17; seven were under the age one year old. If that doesn't mobilize the forces of this country to stop this problem, I don't know what will." pic.twitter.com/AzVwEotrwp
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 28, 2023
Lamb lamented that “the lines of communication were severed” when the Biden regime took over, complaining that “we have zero communication with the federal side…something we lost when this administration came in.”
As the community deals with a border crisis, "the lines of communication were severed when this administration took over," says Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Mark Lamb.
"We have zero communication with the federal side…something we lost when this administration came in." pic.twitter.com/pDSZF3dLmk
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 28, 2023
During his opening statement, Lamb said Biden’s weak border policies have driven vulnerable people into the hands of the cartels.
“The people are being tricked and trapped into coming here by these cartels because of our policies or lack of. When they come here, the women are being raped,” Lamb testified.
“We had a woman we caught awhile back that had a baggie full of pills, and we said, ‘What are these pills?’ And she says, ‘When I came across the border, I knew I’d be raped multiple times. These are morning-after pills,’” he continued.
“Have we lost our moral compass so bad that we put politics in front of people? They’re raping the women, raping the children, using them as pawns, oftentimes putting them into the sex trade here in America. Slavery is super prolific nowadays. They’re extorting the men,” Lamb said.
Democrats attempted to deflect blame for the drug crisis away from Biden’s open border policies by arguing that majority of narcotics are seized from the hands of U.S. citizens at legal ports of entry. Bier instead advocated for stronger, health care-focused solutions for illegal narcotics consumers, including the legalization of drug testing products.
According to the Libertarian CATO Institute, 77 percent of federal drug trafficking convictions have been of U.S. citizens.
The sheriff shot that down, explaining that most of the trafficking activity occurs in more remote areas where they can’t be easily detected.
“I find it comical that a lot of researchers and politicians like to tell us what’s going on at the border but they never come down to the border to actually see it in person,” he said.