Sen. Marshall on Border Crisis: Administration’s policies enrich cartels, encourage violence, and harm Central American economies

(Washington, D.C., June 10, 2021) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. spoke on the Senate floor today about the crisis at the southern border, addressing the root causes of an influx of migrants, and calling for Vice President Harris to take this issue seriously and visit the border. You may click HERE or the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s speech in its entirety.


In March, Senator Marshall penned an op-ed for the Topeka Capital Journal highlighting the failures of the Biden Administration when it comes to the southern border crisis. This op-ed followed Senator Marshall’s trip to the southern border for a tour along the Rio Grande River and a briefing on the growing migrant crisis earlier in the month.

Senator Marshall also joined his colleagues in sending a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller Gene L. Dodaro highlighting President Joe Biden’s suspension of border wall funding and construction without lawful justification, as required by the Impoundment Control Act.

Full Text of Senator Marshall’s Remarks:

Mr. President – I come to the Floor today following the conclusion of Vice President Harris’s border evasion tour through Guatemala and Mexico earlier this week.

As a physician, I have had the opportunity to do multiple mission trips to Mexico and Central America, and I have been to the border now three times.

I’ve seen the crisis first hand, which is why it was so concerning to me that, in the earliest days of this new administration, they followed through on a number of campaign promises related to opening our border and curbing control measures put in place by the previous Administration.

Just to be clear, the current administration issued multiple executive orders and actions on immigration, including halting construction of the border wall, ending the “Remain in Mexico” policy, and reaffirming the White House’s commitment to grant blanket amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States.

While President Biden and his administration appeared surprised by the massive influx of migrants encountered in the aftermath, this was a predictable result.

As described by the President of Guatemala, once the message from the White House changed to “we’re going to reunite families, we’re going to reunite children… the very next day, the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States.”

On March 24th, after months of the resulting escalating crisis on our southern border, President Biden tapped Vice President Harris to serve as his border czar.

In the 10 weeks that have passed since her appointment, the situation at the border has continued to worsen. In April, Customs and Border Protection officials made more than 178,000 apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border. In May, they once again made more than 170,000 apprehensions, marking the third straight month over that figure. These are 20-year records.

As demonstrated in an interview with Lester Holt this week, Vice President Harris considers these staggering numbers a laughing matter. If she took her role seriously and actually visited our southern border she would realize that the Americans who live in border communities are not laughing. That’s because their towns are being overwhelmed by migrants and they feel their lives are in danger.

The origin of these migrants has expanded as this crisis has drawn on. In recent weeks and months, Border Patrol has encountered significant numbers of migrants from Ecuador, Venezuela, Cuba and Brazil.

While these arrivals have come from a wide variety of nations, the majority of border-crossers continue to come from Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Despite years of foreign aid and assistance to these nations, this is a trend we’ve seen growing in recent years. Since 2018, Border Patrol has encountered approximately 5% of Honduras’ population, 3.5% of Guatemala’s and roughly 3% of El Salvador’s population.

Now Vice President Harris is proposing to provide more than $300 million in regional humanitarian aid and a $4 billion long-term plan for Central America.

However, as this graph shows, there is little evidence to show that this type of cash injection will reduce migration from these Northern Triangle nations and Biden administration officials acknowledge that even if these efforts were successful it would take years or possibly even decades to truly make an impact. This is not the type of urgency needed to address the raging crisis on our border.

This is throwing good money after bad money.

Now, let’s take a look at how policy impacts the border.

The graphs prove the cause of the crisis is policy and aid has been ineffective in remaking the economies of the Northern Triangle. 

These economies need much more than intermittent aid infusion. I like the phrase “trade not aid.” Since entering into CAFTA-DR in 2005, the United States has increased trade between the United States and the other six countries in the agreement: Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. As of 2019, goods traded among the countries included in the pact increased by 62 percent. By working to expand trade in the region, the United States could boost capital investment and prosperity.

This type of productivity could result in further job opportunities and encourage individuals in the Northern Triangle to remain home rather than pouring across our southern border. It also has the potential to reconfigure supply chains away from China and bolster our relationship with nations in our hemisphere at a time when China is moving to exploit developing countries.

I’ve seen the empty warehouses and jobs leaving Central America firsthand in Honduras – a result of China entering the World Trade Organization. Through stronger trade agreements, we can help bring jobs back to our hemisphere particularly those that will help address some of our medical supply challenges such as making medical gowns, masks, and gloves. These could be easily made in Central America.

At the same time, it is absurd that this administration cannot chew gum and walk at the same time. Proposing $4 billion of taxpayer funds in an aid package when their recently proposed $6 trillion budget request does not include funding increases for the missions carried out by the Department of Homeland Security along the border is astonishing.

A final point, Vice President Harris keeps saying she wants to get to the “Root of the Problem” and while White House policy has created the crisis at the border, the true long term root of the problem is a lack of law and order in Central America, which leads to unstable economies.

The policies first put in place by President Obama and now by the current Administration have enriched the cartels, further encouraged violence, and harmed Central American economies. By not truly addressing the roots, their policies continue to encourage migrants to make the long dangerous journey north.

We must continue to build the wall along the southern border and increase funding for technology, radars, towers, air-assets and others. We must also reinstate the Remain in Mexico Program. And our Vice President, acting as border czar, must visit our southern border communities and the CBP agents and officers overwhelmed by this self-inflicted crisis.

Thank you Mr. President. I yield the floor.