By: Virginia Allen, The Daily Signal
Members of Congress sought Wednesday to calculate the immense financial cost of the border crisis at a hearing held by the House Homeland Security Committee.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has “implemented a radical agenda at the expense of the safety, security, and economic well-being of all Americans,” committee Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., said, adding that the committee has “a duty to conduct oversight and expose how taxpayer dollars are being abused in support of this radical, open-borders agenda.”
Green opened the hearing, titled “The Financial Costs of Mayorkas’ Open Border,” by laying out some of the costs associated with illegal immigration and an insecure border.
According to Green, “Congress’s Joint Economic Committee reported that the opioid epidemic cost our country almost a $1.5 trillion in 2020,” noting that the cost has likely risen over the past two-and-a-half years, as the amount of fentanyl coming across the border has increased dramatically.
Citing figures from the Department of Health and Human Services, Green said “Medicaid spending on emergency services for undocumented aliens in fiscal year 2021 alone costs $7 billion, compared to $1.6 billion in fiscal year 2016.”
Texas alone has spent more $4 billion to secure its border, Green said, adding that in border communities, such as Brooks County, Texas, county officials took pay cuts to cover the cost of burying and cremating illegal aliens found dead on the U.S. side of the border.
Green shared accounts of hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars in damages incurred by farmers and ranchers through property damage caused by illegal aliens cutting fences, damaging water lines, and leaving trash behind that can be hazardous to cattle.
School systems are also feeling the strain of illegal immigration, the Tennessee lawmaker said, as they struggle to educate children who do not speak any English. New York City alone could spend “$440 million just to educate illegal alien children that have arrived on Mayorkas’ watch,” he said.
New York City is paying for the crisis at the southern border, Joseph Borelli testified before the committee.
Borelli, a Republican who serves as the minority leader of the New York City Council, said more than 125,000 illegal aliens have “flooded into New York City over the past 18 months.” Among those, the councilman said, there are about 60,000 illegal aliens in the care of New York City every night.
The migrant crisis is expected to cost the city $4.7 billion in fiscal year 2023 alon, according to Borelli, and if nothing changes, the price will rise to $6.1 billion in the next fiscal year. Over three fiscal years, New York City is projected to spend $12 billion on housing and care for illegal aliens, he said.
“These enormous costs are being born almost entirely by the taxpayers of New York City,” Borelli said, noting that the $140 million in federal aid provided to the city in response to the crisis “represents, at best, 1% of the projected cost.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently warned during a town-hall meeting that the migrant crisis “will destroy” the city.
Rep. Michael Guest, R-Miss., noted that the cost of illegal immigration on New York City is close to the annual budget of the entire state of Mississippi.
Mississippi’s fiscal year 2023 budget is $6.3 billion, Guest said, adding that “New York will spend next year almost as much money as the entire state of Mississippi spends to fund our entire state government.”
Mississippi Democrat Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee’s ranking member, was critical of the hearing during his opening remarks, calling it “yet another political dog and pony show.”
“Republicans have been on a crusade to impeach Secretary Mayorkas, though there’s zero justification for it,” Thompson said, adding that Republicans should seek solutions to address the influx of illegal migrants entering the country instead of engaging in “grandstanding.”
Wednesday’s hearing marked the beginning of the fourth stage of House Homeland Security Committee’s investigation into what has been called the “Biden-Mayorkas border crisis.”
In June, Green announced a five-pronged investigation into Mayorkas’ handling of the surge of illegal immigrants at the southern border, saying the probe is part of his committee’s “congressional oversight duties” and pledging to leave “no stone unturned in its efforts to get the facts.”
The panel’s investigation, he said, includes examining:
Mayorkas’ dereliction of duty.
How the border crisis facilitates the illegal activities of drug cartels.
The human cost of the border crisis.
The financial cost of the crisis.
Suspected fraud within the Department of Homeland Security.
“Unless we reverse the disastrous policy decisions that have brought us to this point on both the local and federal level, there will be no end in sight,” Borelli said, adding that without change, “this migrant crisis eventually will destroy New York.”
Related Story: Adams Says NYC Migrant Crisis Will Cost City $12 Billion