Click here or on the image above to watch Senator Capito’s floor speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, delivered remarks on the Senate Floor on the urgent need for Congress to pass legislation that makes meaningful policy changes to address President Biden’s border crisis. Senator Capito acknowledges that while the crisis was created by the Biden administration’s bad policy, Congressional Republicans are tasked with the responsibility of addressing it, with inaction being irresponsible and further fueling this catastrophe.

Senator Capito’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are included below:

“Mr/Madam President—

“As we begin a new year, I rise to continue our discussion on one of the most pressing matters at hand for our country. That is, our open southern border and the responsibility for the Senate to take meaningful action.

“Since this chamber was last in session, each of us have travelled back to our respective states and had the opportunity to talk with our constituents about what they are thinking and seeing. And I can tell you that the crisis on our southern border is issue number one from my constituents back home.

“Time and time again, across a multitude of conversations, West Virginians have asked me: When will enough be enough? When will President Biden finally wake up and realize this is a crisis? What can Congress do to stop this? Or, what are you going to do about it?

“They see the numbers in the news, the mass humanitarian costs broadcasted on our TV sets, and the destruction that the flow of illicit drugs is causing in our communities. I share their frustration. 

“The crisis on our southern border is a topic that I have addressed repeatedly. The chronic failure of President Biden to act has led to the point where even my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have begun to raise alarm as the consequences of the administration’s bad border policy have become undeniable. 

“I have even seen one of my colleagues refer to our border as ‘porous.’ I’m not sure what it finally was that led to this near universal recognition – but I have some ideas.

“It could have been the 2.4 million migrant encounters this past fiscal year. Or the month-after-month of record illegal crossings with 302,000 encounters just this past December. Or the over 10,000 illegal encounters we are experiencing daily on the southern border with a record 12,600 crossings on December 18th. Or the record 169 encounters with individuals on our terror watch list this past fiscal year with an additional 30 encounters the first two months of FY24.

“This is an untenable national security crisis, one where we have no way of knowing how many terrorists have evaded apprehension and are now into the homeland of our country. That is a risk we cannot take, not now, not ever.

“Additionally, this lapse in border security under President Biden and subsequent mass flow of immigration is creating a real-life humanitarian crisis of drug smuggling and human trafficking. In fact, the cartels are thriving with our wide-open southern border.

“It’s important to remember that this catastrophe is entirely of President Biden’s making, and while Congressional Republicans did not cause this, we are tasked with the responsibility of addressing it. That is why we need substantive policy changes to address our broken border.

“It has become increasingly obvious that now is the time to act.

“Doing nothing will result in the continuation of 10,000 encounters per day and cover for cartels to smuggle drugs and traffic people. Doing nothing will result in more news like we saw today, that a New York City high school is being overtaken and students forced to remote learn in order for their school to be used as shelter for migrants. Doing nothing will only increase the national security threats that our country is facing. Doing nothing is unacceptable.

“In a moment as critical as this, we cannot let perfect be the enemy of good. We are currently in a historically narrowly divided Congress, making bipartisanship an essential component in getting legislation across the finish line.

“We all talk about how bad the situation is at the southern border, but it is irresponsible to talk about the problem while refusing to solve it unless you get 100% of what you want. If we do not take this opportunity to make serious reforms, then the current crisis will continue with no end in sight.

“As negotiations continue and we await the text of a final agreement, the question that will soon be before us will not be whether this is a bill that each of us would have personally written. But rather, if we will take this opportunity and make serious reforms to help stop the overwhelming number of encounters that our Border Patrol Agents see every day, and take back control from the cartels.

“We must bring order and process back to our southern border.

“I admire the steadfast dedication that my colleague from Oklahoma – Senator Lankford – has displayed throughout this process. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to recognize the importance of this moment and the urgent need to respond to the challenges of our time.

“As always, I maintain my optimism and remain confident in this chamber’s ability to deliver. We must take advantage of the opportunity that will soon come before us.

“With that, I yield the floor.”

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