U.S. Sen. Rob Portman: Border issue still needs addressed

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Today is my last hearing as ranking member, and it’s appropriate that it be this hearing because it is so important to the oversight responsibilities of this Committee and more importantly, important to our country right now.  (…) I’m going to start with the crisis at the southern border.

(…)  In the past year, the Border Patrol apprehended more than 2 million total unlawful migrants. That’s up 143 percent since 2019. This chart behind me shows, in color, kind of the blue, green, and red of where we have been. FY 21 and FY 22 figures are on the right. We just got the final figures for fiscal year 2022, and unfortunately, it tells a very dramatic story of us failing to secure that southern border.

This does not include the number of ‘got-aways’ or individuals who are not detected. What we hear from the Border Patrol is that the number of ‘got-aways’ has increased significantly as well.

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These are criminals often who engage in human trafficking, criminals who involve themselves in the drug trade. And so this is about people, but it’s also about the fact that we have a record number of fentanyl shipments coming through the border, both the ports of entry and between the ports of entry now. We know this from anecdotal evidence, but also because there’s a record number of seizures of these deadly fentanyl shipments into our communities.

And fentanyl, of course, is what’s causing the most number of overdose deaths at a time when we have a record number, sadly, of overdose deaths in our country.

In Ohio, we think it’s between two thirds and three quarters of the deaths are related to this one drug, deadly fentanyl, which is primarily coming across the Mexican border now. So this has been a tough couple of years, the worst two years of unlawful migration and the worst two years of drug seizures in our nation’s history.

So I look forward to talking about that. We’ve got to figure out how to move forward again on a bipartisan basis. We’ve got to figure out how to fix what is clearly a broken system.

— Excepted from Senate floor remarks last week

Rob  Portman is a Republican and is retiring as the junior U.S. senator representing Ohio.