Congressman Keller visits southern border, leaves with powerful insight from law enforcement, local families

April 13, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Keller (R-PA) this week joined Ranking Member James Comer (KY-01), Congresswoman Yvette Herrell (NM-02), and six other Republican members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee on a trip to the southern border to see first-hand the crisis currently unfolding and understand how it is impacting our nation.  

 

Congressmen Byron Donalds (FL-19), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Scott Franklin (FL-15), and Jake LaTurner (KS-02) were also in attendance for the three-day visit to hear from border patrol, farmers and ranchers, and local officials at various stops in El Paso, Texas and Doña Ana and Luna counties in New Mexico.

 

Stop 1: Border Patrol Station 1/El Paso Processing Center

 

Keller receives brief from Gloria Chavez, Border Patrol Sector Chief for El Paso.

 

Keller heard from law enforcement at Border Patrol Station 1 about the difficulties posed by the ongoing migrant surge. In the El Paso sector, recidivism is at a staggering 44 percent. Border patrol agents are currently stretched dangerously thin, tasked with serving as social workers and detention guards in addition to patrolling 260 miles of border.

Inside the processing facility, unaccompanied children of all ages were being held and processed by agents. In one instance, a young boy stood sobbing on the phone trying to get a hold of his parents. 

 

Stop 2: Santa Teresa Port of Entry


Keller walks along the border with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent.

 

While touring the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in Doña Ana, New Mexico, Keller and his colleagues spoke to another group of agents who expressed that they have not received guidance from the Biden administration on how to address the surge of migrants crossing the border.

 

Stop 3: Roundtable with ranchers, local officials 

 

Keller (right) hears from ranchers about how their lives and businesses have been impacted by the increased surge at the border.

 

In Columbus, New Mexico, Keller met with local farmers and ranchers whose land backs up to the U.S-Mexico border. Those in attendance at the roundtable explained the challenges of living and working along the border. In contrast to the humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied minors coming across ports of entry, Keller heard firsthand accounts of the dangerous realities that many Americans in rural sectors of the border face with criminal elements trafficking drugs and people. 

 

These citizens shared stories of ranchers being kidnapped and beaten by gang and cartel members.  

 

“These are the people not trying to get caught. These aren’t the little kids who are turning up for asylum. That’s not what we have. That’s not what we’re facing,” one rancher said.

 

“I don’t know what needs to take place to get this administration to wake up and see what is going on is wrong and it needs to stop,” added another. 

 

Stop 4: Border wall tour

 

An unfinished section of the border wall on the Johnson family cattle ranch in New Mexico.

 

After the roundtable, the group followed members of the Johnson family to its ranch, displaying the exact spot where the construction of the border wall was halted by President Biden’s Executive Order.

 

“Our ranch is absolutely getting invaded,” rancher Joe Johnson said.

 

Down the road, miles of border wall steel—already funded and authorized for construction by Congress—laid in pieces, rusting in the desert.

 

Keller recorded his immediate reaction.

 

Click to view video.

 

 

Stop 5: Columbus Port of Entry

 

Keller (third from left) receives an update on operations from Tony Hall, Port Director.

 

After departing the Johnson family ranch, Keller and the rest of the congressional delegation stopped at the Columbus Port of Entry.

 

Stop 6: Night tour with Border Patrol Council


Keller surveying a section of the wall with members of the Border Patrol Council.

 

Keller joined the Border Patrol Council on Monday night to tour a remote portion of the border wall west of El Paso. It was here where smugglers recently dropped three- and five-year-old children from the top of a nine-foot section of the border wall. The night tour illustrated how hard Border Patrol agents work to secure the border and keep America safe.

 

Congressman Keller returns to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

 

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