Lankford Grills Biden’s CBP Nominee as Record Numbers Take Advantage of Open Border

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s Q&A on YouTube.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK), the lead Republican on the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management, today participated in a Senate Finance Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Mr. Chris Magnus to be Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Lankford’s questions focused on the dire situation at the southern border with 21-year-high of illegal crossings and the highest amount of drugs, including methamphetamine and fentanyl, ever seen crossing our border. He asked the nominee why there doesn’t seem to be a cohesive plan to address the record-high crossings and whether the Biden Administration believes success at the border is actually just letting more people in faster as opposed to enforcing the law.

Lankford continues to lead the Senate on holding the Biden Administration accountable for its failures to enforce the law and preserve national security at our southern border. Earlier this month, Lankford participated in a press conference to discuss the ongoing crisis at the southern border that Biden continues to ignore. Lankford traveled to the Arizona border earlier this year to see first-hand the unfinished southern border wall that was halted by the Biden Administration. He was the first to expose the crisis at the border through Facebook so Oklahomans could see firsthand the crisis at the southern border in Texas.

In July, Lankford released a report that exposed billions in waste to pay contractors to babysit the border wall materials while the Biden Administration “studies” it, even though Congress already allocated the money to build the wall. Lankford grilled DHS Secretary Mayorkas on his ongoing delay to finish the wall.

Lankford successfully blocked President Biden’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office from opening a “surge overflow temporary facility” at the Great Plains Correctional Institution in Hinton, Oklahoma, that would have been used to process migrants who crossed the border illegally and release them into Western Oklahoma.

Lankford expressed support for border law enforcement personnel who have told him they feel they are “handcuffed” by DHS leadership who tells them what immigration laws they can and can’t enforce. Lankford held a press conference with Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado to discuss Lankford’s blistering report of the $2 billion Biden has wasted to not build the wall, the ongoing national security threat at our southern border.


On the lack of a clear plan to enforce the law at the southern border

Lankford: The big issues is: what are you going to do? What’s the plan? Right now that we’re facing this year the highest number of illegal crossing interdictions ever in the history of our country. This year. Now that is after October, November, December, January, were low numbers, but mysteriously starting in February all the way to the present, the numbers have skyrocketed. We have triple the number of people each month that are crossing the border illegally now than what we had October, November, December, and January. We have the highest amount of methamphetamines crossing our border in the history of our country with the highest number of fentanyl crossing our border in the history of our country. We have, as you described yesterday, what the public hates—chaos on our southern border right now.

You have described yourself as ‘not an open-borders guy…’ The big question that we’ve got to resolve here, stepping into this role is: you’re walking into a chaotic situation where we have the highest number of illegal crossings in the history of our country. What is your plan?

Magnus: …I think that key to answering your question is going to be the importance of collaboration, building relationships. I think it’s going to be important that the individuals who are making the policy decisions, which obviously include the Secretary, the President, and others, that they get accurate feedback from me based on what I’m seeing from the men and women at the border in terms of talking to people in border communities. I think getting that accurate information, and as I pledged to you yesterday, my commitment is to be an honest broker around how this works, is going to be very important in terms of formulating a plan…

On whether success at the border for the Biden Administration is letting more people in faster or enforcing the law

Lankford: …How do you evaluate whether its’ successful? Reducing the chaos, is that a, ‘we move people across the border faster’? Because when Secretary Mayorkas was in front of the Homeland Security Committee, his statement was, ‘We’re getting much better at the border. We’re moving people into the country faster. They’re not having to stay as long at the border in these camps. We’re getting them across the border faster.’ So my basic question from a law enforcement perspective is, you’re a chief law enforcement officer in this role, leading a lot of law enforcement folks. Is your goal to facilitate faster transition from people crossing the border into our country, or is it to prevent people who are illegally crossing into our country from coming into our country?

Magnus: …Actually I think it has to be some of both. We are always going to have some degree of people crossing the border…

Lankford: …But the role of a law enforcement officer is to enforce the law. We do it humanely. We do it better than anyone else in the world. So for us, we focus on humane treatment of individuals, whether they commit a crime or don’t commit a crime. But we also are working on the deterrent method. Right now, it doesn’t feel like we’re deterring activity. It looks like we’re encouraging it.