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Lankford Opposes Nominee to Lead ICE as Biden Fails to Address Border Security Issues

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today voted to oppose the nomination of Mr. Ed Gonzalez to be the Director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when his nomination came before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

“I have serious questions with the reports from Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers that the Biden Administration is ‘handcuffing’ law enforcement, pushing the ‘catch-and-release’ policy, and ignoring the enforcement of some repeat criminals in our nation,” said Lankford. “Every month this year, another record has been set for illegal border crossings. I’ve asked Secretary Mayorkas to issue clear directives to border law enforcement to enforce the laws passed by Congress, but I have not seen any change yet. That’s on top of the $2 billion in wasted taxpayer dollars I uncovered that are being used to fund the babysitting of unused border wall steel and technology waiting to be set up while President Biden ‘studies’ the border wall. I will not advance nominees for the Department of Homeland Security until my questions on their plan to secure the border are answered.”

Lankford has stated he will continue to hold every Department of Homeland Security (DHS) nominee until Mayorkas provides a basic level of transparency about the Department’s plans for the border wall and for the migrants who are caught and released. Lankford participated in a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to get updates on timelines and numbers regarding law enforcement at the border and the southern border wall that Lankford has been told by the Secretary are “coming.” 

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released the preliminary border crossing numbers for July, which included an astounding 20-year high  total encounters of over 210,000. CBP seized 508 pounds of fentanyl in June, which was up 12 percent from May. Additionally, the June update revealed that 95,079 unaccompanied children were found at the border this fiscal year.

Lankford recently released his bombshell report that 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.

Lankford held a 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 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.