(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, used his opening statement to condemn the Democrats for holding hearings on the border crisis but not putting any bills forward that will address it.
Collins began his opening statement complaining that the committee had the same hearing in February where Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost testified that legislative fixes were needed to get the border crisis under control. That month, the Border Patrol apprehended 66,000 people, he said. The number of apprehensions has been above 92,000 every month since, Collins said, peaking at over 132,000 in May alone.
The congressman said he was horrified to hear acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan recount “three ongoing cases where a small group of children - 5 to 8 in each case - have been used by dozens of different adults to cross our border seeking release in the U.S.”
“Look I’m going to stop. I’m not going to read this,” Collins said as he stopped reading his prepared testimony and spoke extemporaneously:
You know what is dehumanizing is continuing to bring the same witnesses or the same people from the same agencies to talk about this over and over and over again. What’s dehumanizing is doing that and not doing anything about it.That’s what’s dehumanizing, is talking about a problem, talking about a problem, talking about a problem, and never putting a solution up.
I’ve talked about this almost at every one of these so far, especially in the last few weeks, and look, my Democratic colleagues have ideas. I may disagree with those ideas, but put a bill up. I have a bill. Put mine up. Make amendments to it. Do whatever you want to do. That’s what Congress is supposed to do. Dehumanizing is this.
This is dehumanizing, and also what a competent and capable majority would do is actually put a bill forward. Instead, we’re not a competent and capable majority, undoubtedly, using the words of the ranking member of the subcommittee.
We’re not capable and competent, because we’re not putting bills forward. We’re having bash the president time, bash the administration time. This is all it was, all this is. I appreciate you being here to testify. Some of you have been here before. Some of you are replacing the ones who have already testified before. Mr. White, you’re back again. Good to see you.
This is what bothers me. I can read another opening statement. We can ask questions, and we’ll all go through this, and we can talk about how the Trump administration is not competent and not capable. I think that just falls back on us. It falls back on this committee. Why has the majority not put a bill forward? We’ve heard that it doesn’t work. We’ve heard from both administrations - the Obama administration and the Trump administration - that laws need to fixed and worked on, but yet we don’t do it.
Collins said the bill that passed out of the committee and on the House floor “was a band-aid, which everybody ought to be treated humanely and as best they can at the border, and we need to have that.”
“That needs to happen, but we just did it in such a way yesterday that it just applied to everybody and again applied to nobody in a sense. So as we look at this, as we go forward, Madam Chairman, I agree with you. You and I have worked on big things before, but what is dehumanizing is this hearing," the congressman said.
“What is dehumanizing is this hearing, what we’re gonna talk about again, and people come and the folks in this audience I’m glad you’re here, but don’t accept another hearing. Accept some answers. Accept some bills being put forward. Don’t be fooled again. If you want to take part in a political positioning paper, then that’s what we’re doing today, because we’ve already heard -- no offense to our witnesses, we’ve heard your statements already before,” he said.
Collins said the Judiciary Committee is becoming “a committee of press releases.”
“So I don’t know what’s going to move us this time that didn’t move us last time. This is becoming unfortunately a committee of press releases. That’s it. Dehumanizing is taking people you say you care about but doing nothing for them. That’s dehumanizing. Competent and capable? The last time I understood Congress should pass legislation. I’ll be very slow. Pass bills that matter. Don’t have hearings that are simply stunts,” he said.