Chairman Cole Opening Remarks on H.R. 529, H.R. 7888, H. Res. 1112, and H. Res. 1117

As prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon.

The United States continues to face a crisis at our southern border. This crisis takes on many facets: it is not only a national security crisis, although our open borders have allowed countless narcotraffickers, potential terrorists, and criminals to enter our country. It is not only a humanitarian crisis, although each month hundreds of thousands of migrants risk the dangers of crossing the border, often through deserts, and risk hunger, thirst, disease, and other threats to their health and welfare. Nor is it only a legal crisis, although it has resulted in a widespread failure to enforce American law.

The most salient feature of this crisis is in its creation. Indeed, the root of this crisis can be traced back to one person and actions taken immediately after he was sworn into office, and that is President Biden. Since then, it has only been made worse by the policies pursued by him and those in his administration.

Since entering the White House, President Biden has repeatedly acted to dismantle border security. He terminated the Migrant Protection Protocols, terminated Asylum Cooperative Agreements, ended construction of the border wall, refused to detain inadmissible aliens at the border in violation of Federal law, and ordered the release of millions of inadmissible aliens into the United States without any legal repercussions.

The consequences have been stark and devastating. Under his watch, 9.5 million people have arrived at the southern border, more people than live in all but our ten most populous states, and over 6.4 million people have been allowed to enter American communities.

It is for this reason that we will consider two items related to this crisis today. This includes H. Res. 1112, a resolution denouncing President Biden’s policies that have created this crisis and calling on President Biden and his administration to rescind these policies and implement policies that will end his administration’s border crisis.

We will also take up H.R. 529, the Extending Limits of U.S. Customs Waters Act. This is a bipartisan bill, unanimously reported out of the Ways and Means Committee, that will extend the authorization for Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations out to twenty-four miles off the U.S. coast, consistent with the contiguous zone of the United States. Extending the operational limit will enhance CBP’s ability to defend our coastline, enforce U.S. customs and immigration laws, and prevent narcotraffickers and smugglers from entering U.S. territorial waters.

The Rules Committee will also consider H. Res. 1117 a resolution opposing one-sided efforts to force Israel into a cease-fire. Israel undeniably has the right to exist and the right to self-defense, full stop. On October 7 of last year, Hamas, a vicious terror organization, unleashed an unprovoked terror attack against Israel, murdering over twelve hundred Israelis and kidnapping hundreds of others as hostages. Today, at least one hundred thirty-four people are being held hostage by Hamas, including at least eight American citizens.

Yet last week, President Biden issued a press release calling on Israel to undertake an immediate ceasefire. This followed President Biden’s decision not to use the United States’ veto at the United Nations Security Council to stop a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.

Israel is one of America’s closest allies, and has been designated a major non-NATO ally. The United States must be supportive of our ally as it fights against a terror organization bent on genocide. Today’s resolution expresses the House position that it stands with Israel, supports Israel’s right to self-defense, and opposes efforts to place one-sided pressure on Israel for a cease-fire.

Finally, the Rules Committee will consider the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act. As members are aware, title seven of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act expires on April 19. Today’s measure will both reauthorize this important national security program and provide needed reforms to prevent abuses and protect the civil rights of Americans. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses on this important matter today.


Apr 9, 2024