Lankford Demands Update from DHS Secretary on Southern Border Wall “Study”
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s Q&A from YouTube.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today participated in a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to get updates on timelines and numbers Lankford has been told by the Secretary are “coming.” Lankford questioned Mayorkas about the recently released bombshell report in which Lankford found $2 billion in wasted taxpayer money to pay construction workers for the now-halted border wall contracts to babysit the steel on the ground while the Administration “studies” the wall, which was originally set as a 60-day study but is now past 200 days.
Last Friday, Lankford held press conference with Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado to discuss Lankford’s report of $2 billion in wasted taxpayer money, the ongoing national security threat at our southern border, including the latest June report from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) about apprehensions at the border, and the Biden Administration “handcuffing” border law enforcement personnel from enforcing the law despite 20-year high numbers of crossings.
After visiting the southern border as part of his oversight responsibilities, Lankford called out the Biden Administration’s open border policies on the Senate floor and penned an op-ed in the Daily Caller about our now open borders. In May, Lankford condemned the Biden Administration’s efforts to secretly respond to the obvious ongoing emergency at the southern border by recruiting a “volunteer force” of federal employees from NASA, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Agriculture to work at the border transferring migrants with very few training requirements. In June, Lankford shared his frustration after the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) review of the executive action to withhold funding for the completion of the wall system at the US southern border.
Lankford has stated he will continue to hold every DHS nominee until Mayorkas provides a basic level of transparency about DHS’ plans for the border wall and for the migrants who are caught and released.
On the status of completion of the wall and the $2 billion in waste paying contractors to watch it unfinished
Lankford: Let’s talk about the border wall. This fencing, which is really a system that’s in place, the fence is the most prominent and noticeable portion of that, but it includes the fence, it includes the road for patrol, it includes fiber to do ground detection for movement. It includes cameras, it includes lighting. When that stopped in construction for all of those phases on January the 20th, President Biden ordered a 60-day study. Can you tell us the status of that study because it’s been about 200 days since that was done. Is that a study that we could get access to? Is it complete?
Mayorkas: That study is ongoing, but we are going project by project, Senator, and in fact, in the San Diego sector, for example, of the border, I just approved the application of technology to make 33 gates operational and approved other things in the San Diego sector. We’re going project by project, and I’d be very pleased to provide you with an update on that.
Lankford: …There’s some common sense to this as well that doesn’t require 200 days of study that says, ‘We’re going to be able to put the gates up. We’re going to put power to the gates so we can actually open and close them. We’re going to do roads around so that the Border Patrol can actually do the patrol. So I would encourage the completion of that, not mention the fact $2 billion has already been spent of the $10 billion that was allocated to it not to build the fencing itself. And so we’re now down 20 percent of the funding for whatever decision’s going to be made on that. That’s obviously a serious fiscal issue in the days ahead.