WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), member of the Senate Finance Committee and former chairman and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the following statement on the Finance Committee hearing to consider the nomination of Kevin McAleenan to be Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Department of Homeland Security.
“Today’s hearing to consider the president’s nominee for Customs and Border Protection Commissioner comes just days before President Trump will review prototypes for his proposed wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico. At the helm of CBP, Mr. McAleenan would be charged with carrying out President Trump’s irresponsible border security policies, including the construction of his multi-billion-dollar wall.
“The undeniable reality is that the costs associated with building a multi-billion-dollar border wall would inordinately outweigh the benefits. Erecting a wall will not solve our immigration challenges, nor make meaningful progress in stopping the flow of illegal drugs across our border. Hiring thousands more Border Patrol agents as President Trump has proposed to do, while the existing workforce suffers from poor retention and low morale, is simply not a smart approach—particularly since apprehensions at the border are currently at 40-year lows.
“I’ve been to the U.S. southern border several times over the years and spoken with CBP officers on the ground. I hear time and time again that CBP does not need more people or a wall but instead effective technologies to help them do their jobs better, as well as funding for customs officials and inspectors to stop drugs at our ports of entry. President Trump’s plan to build a border wall does nothing to address that need. What’s more, no amount of border security spending will work without investments in solutions to address the root causes of migration from Central America.
“Acting Commissioner McAleenan has a great deal of management experience and is a well-qualified nominee to run Customs and Border Protection, and I thank him for his willingness to serve. Unfortunately, President Trump’s border security policies make almost no use of the expertise Mr. McAleenan has to offer. Needlessly constructing a border wall and hiring thousands more agents is an exorbitantly expensive and inefficient substitute for addressing the root causes of why people come here in the first place, and investing in smart solutions to make our border security more effective and efficient. I hope to work with Commissioner McAleenan to enact border security and trade enforcement policies that will help improve our security without wasting taxpayer dollars.”