Chair Roybal-Allard Statement at U.S. Customs and Border Protection Resource Management and Operational Priorities Hearing

2021-05-19 10:06

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on  U.S. Customs and Border Protection Resource Management and Operational Priorities:

I would like to welcome Mr. Troy Miller, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner, who is here to discuss his agency’s operations, particularly its activities along the southwest border.  This is the Mr. Miller’s first time to testify in front of the subcommittee. Welcome, Mr. Miller.  

I recently visited the border with Secretary Mayorkas and I want to commend the CBP personnel who have been working so hard over the last few months to manage an incredibly difficult challenge.  

Thank you for your efforts to impose order on what might otherwise have spiraled into an unmanageable situation.  

While challenges undoubtedly remain, I look forward to an update from you on the situation on our southern border and how you are working to ensure that migrants receive adequate shelter, culturally informed nutrition, trauma care, and due process while in CBP custody.  

These efforts are vital as we work towards a more humane, efficient immigration system. 

I continue to have concerns about the lack of child welfare professionals and caregivers in CBP facilities. The subcommittee has repeatedly asked CBP to quickly deploy such professionals into border facilities to provide child-centric care for kids who have already experienced significant trauma. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also taken a toll on the morale of the CBP work force, which has continued under most difficult circumstances, to fulfill its mission of ensuring border security and the flow of international commerce.

I understand you have established peer support, medical resources, and caregiver support for the CBP workforce. Please let us know how we can help you with these initiatives.  

To help address the shortfall in CBP fee collections resulting from the pandemic-related reduction in international travel, we appropriated $840 million in supplemental funding in our fiscal year 2021 bill.  

It now seems unlikely the funding we appropriated will be sufficient to carry the agency through the end of the fiscal year. This morning we will want your candid assessment about CBP’s current fiscal posture.

Also, while I know you are still limited in what you can say about the budget request for the coming year, we will want to have a good discussion about what it will take to address all of these challenges, both now and in fiscal year 2022.  

In conclusion, on behalf of the subcommittee, I convey our heartfelt condolences to the families and colleagues of those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. 

Tragically, since January 2020, CBP has seen 32 line of duty deaths, 30 of which were directly tied to COVID-19.  I reaffirm our continued support for the health and wellbeing of your workforce and our appreciation for their service

117th Congress