Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) lashed out at fellow lawmakers during a Wednesday hearing, expressing frustration with the lack of substantive legislative responses to the ongoing crisis at the southern border.
Hawley cited grisly reports of inhumane conditions that migrants, especially children, are being forced to endure, and argued that those hardships are the direct result of Congress’s failure to allocate more resources to the agencies tasked with sheltering and providing medical care to the record number of asylum-seekers arriving at the border.
“The behavior of this Congress is absolutely pathetic. I mean, it is just pathetic,” Hawley began. “The problem is this Congress never does anything. This Congress refuses to do anything. We know what the facts are, you’ve outlined them again today: CBP is overcapacity, underfunded, undermanned. ICE: overcapacity, underfunded. HHS: overcapacity, underfunded. Yet this Congress will do nothing.”
Hawley’s testimony comes one day after acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) chief John Sanders announced his resignation amid continued reports of migrant children receiving inadequate housing and medical care at Border Patrol holding facilities, where the migrants are held until they can be transferred to HHS custody. That transfer process now routinely exceeds the 72 hours allotted by law due to HHS’s own inadequate funding and staffing.
The Senate plans to vote this week on a $4.5 billion spending package that would provide increased funding to CBP, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and HHS. The bill’s passage has been threatened by a companion bill, which passed the House Tuesday, that bars the allocation of funds for certain Department of Defense enforcement actions.
Hawley lashed out at his progressive colleagues during the Wednesday hearing for delaying the legislative response to the border crisis despite the obvious suffering of migrants.
“This morning I’ve heard, just from my colleagues across the aisle this morning, I’ve heard statements like: ‘I’m heartbroken.’ ‘No one is more vulnerable than a child.’ ‘The status quo is unacceptable.’ ‘It is unsustainable,’” he said. “But, yet we don’t do anything to change it. And there’s no will to change it. Children are being exploited.”