Tuesday | October 19, 2021

Senator Scott Calls Out Biden CBP Nominee for Refusing to Acknowledge the Border Crisis

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) questioned Chris Magnus, President Biden’s nominee to head U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), at a Senate Finance Committee hearing. Senator Scott challenged Magnus’ refusal to call the situation at the southern border a crisis, despite record high illegal border crossings in the last year.

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Click to watch Senator Scott's questions

Read the full transcript of his questions below:

Senator Scott:  You struggled to come to the conclusion that there is a crisis on our border, which I found fascinating. Millions of Americans, literally millions upon millions of Americans have come to the same conclusion that I have and that Senator Young has and that, frankly, I think even the administration is coming to: There is a crisis on our southern border. When we have 200,000 folks illegally crossing our border in just July—more than one million in the last fiscal year—there is a crisis on our border. Why admitting that there is a crisis on our border is a problem, I don’t fully appreciate. After demonizing every single action of the Trump administration as it relates to the border, it is apparent to me that when the Department of Homeland Security reinstates a “Remain in Mexico” policy, it is because there is a crisis at the southern border. So I want to ask you, Mr. Magnus, just for clarification: With the reinstatement of the policy, with a million plus people crossing our border, with more than 200,000 just in July, with the actions taken against the border agents, is there a crisis at our border?

Mr. Magnus:  Senator, thank you for the question. But if I might just make the observation that perhaps as a nation and as a group of electeds, if we spent a little less time debating on what the terminology is and perhaps a little more time trying to fix a broken system and working together, we could address what I’ve already acknowledged is one of the most serious problems that we face right now in our nation.

Senator Scott:  Mr. Magnus, this is frankly where both Republicans and Democrats come to the same conclusion, that there is a crisis at our border. This is the one area of many areas within the political spectrum that we’d like to see some kind of uniformity and people working together and acknowledging the concerns that we have, but words have meaning. We are living in a time where we’re trying to find a way to erase and then re-define words, but the fact is that there is a crisis, number one. Number two, when Rodney Scott, the former chief of the border patrol, who worked for both President Trump and President Biden says that the administration is abusing its authority as it relates to paroles, I’ll ask you, with over 30,000 released via parole and so many hundreds of thousands more just released into our communities, do you believe that the administration is abusing their immigration authority? 

Mr. Magnus:  Senator, I appreciate the question, and obviously this issue of immigration authority, how it’s being used, is something that would be very important to me if confirmed for this position. I’m coming into this, obviously, as someone from the outside. My intention would be to learn as much as I can, talk to different parties involved who maybe have very different perspectives on this, learn what I can, and then share that information with those above me.

Senator Scott:  Let me just say it this way: When our American public is watching the reckless action in Afghanistan, where we are trying to figure out what the vetting process was for those folks arriving here, we are thankful [for] those who assisted our soldiers in Afghanistan [and] we want to have the folks who deserve to be here here from Afghanistan, and yet the vetting process was rushed because of the arbitrary nature of the departure. That creates one concern from an immigration standpoint.This exacerbates the situation when you add, on top of those concerns for the average American, seeing more than a million folks come into our country illegally, which is about 20% of all of the citizens in the great state of South Carolina. So you can imagine my concerns that are shared by millions of Americans around this country as it relates to what we’re doing on our border, and what we’re not doing on our border, is very concerning. Thank you.

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