WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, convened a hearing with senior federal officials to examine the resources necessary to secure the Southern Border and how the Administration is preparing to manage anticipated changes in migration following the proposed termination of the Title 42 public health order. During the hearing, Peters and the witnesses discussed the need to ensure personnel at our borders and ports of entry are ready to securely and efficiently process trade, travelers and migrants seeking asylum protections while preventing illegal activity like smuggling and drug trafficking. The Committee also heard from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas this week on homeland security issues – including at the Southern Border.
“Title 42 is a temporary public health order, and it is not a long term solution to our border security needs,” said Senator Peters during his opening statement. “Today’s hearing is an important opportunity for the Administration to detail both their short-term plans for addressing this expected policy change as well as the long-term solutions that Congress and the Administration must work on together to ensure our borders are secure.”
To watch video of Senator Peters’ questions, click here.
Title 42 has placed severe limits on the use of effective border security enforcement strategies. During the hearing, Peters and the witnesses discussed how the Administration intends to implement enforcement mechanisms that have been proven to reduce illegal border crossings. Peters and the witnesses discussed what resources, such as modern technology and additional staffing, are needed to help secure the Southern Border while ensuring that asylum seekers receive humane treatment and a fast and fair review of their applications. Peters also raised the need for Congress and the Administration to work together and ensure U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can intercept and seize illegal drugs like fentanyl that continue to harm countless communities in Michigan and across the country.
Peters has long worked to secure our nation’s Northern and Southern borders and promote safe and efficient travel and trade at ports of entry, and most recently helped secure $87 million for non-intrusive inspection systems, which have helped CBP detect illegal drugs like fentanyl before they enter the country, as a part of the government funding legislation that was recently signed into law. As a part of the bipartisan infrastructure law, Peters helped secure $3.8 billion in funding to support the modernization of U.S. land ports of entry along our Northern and Southern Borders. Peters’ bipartisan bill to address the shortage of agricultural inspectors who protect the nation’s food supply and agricultural industry at the border was signed into law last Congress. This Congress, Peters reintroduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen border security and address personnel shortages at ports of entry.