"Many in Congress would rather talk about the problem than actually fix it"  

Congressman Michael Cloud testified about the humanitarian crisis on the southern border on Friday at a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing. Cloud highlighted congressional inaction, criticizing House members for allowing the situation to worsen while spending months denying the existence of a crisis.

“Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of when I was sworn into office; what I’ve learned in a year is that many members of Congress would rather talk about a problem than actually fix it,” said Congressman Cloud. “Thankfully, the President has made this a priority, and it’s past time for Congress to do the same.”

Cloud testified about the need to reform asylum loopholes that cartels are taking advantage of to traffic migrants into the country.

“Congress is allowing these cartels to massively profit because we refuse to close off the avenues they are using to smuggle migrants,” said Congressman Cloud. Citing Deputy Chief Roy Boyd of the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office, Cloud testified that cartels “are moving more and more into the slave trade now because of how profitable it is; while a kilo of cocaine or any drug can be sold once, human beings can be sold numerous times every day.”

Cloud also argued that many members of Congress currently denouncing conditions on the border were themselves responsible for those conditions, having failed to provide adequate funding for border agencies and shelters and instead calling the situation a “manufactured crisis.” Cloud had argued on the House floor as early as December 2018 that Congress’s failure to act was allowing the crisis to worsen.

The country’s current border facilities are not designed to handle the current numbers of migrants and until recently had received no help from Congress, Cloud said. He contrasted the lack of Border Patrol funding with a RAND Corporation finding that 2017 revenues from smuggling migrants from Central America could have ranged from $200 million to $2.3 billion.

Cloud spoke about his recent trip to the border, which included a late-night ride-along with the National Border Patrol Council to experience the conditions U.S. Border Patrol agents find themselves in. Cloud discussed visiting with ranchers along the border who said they feared for their lives while walking their own land, bringing a gun and a dog with them when they go outside.

Cloud also testified about visiting a shelter for unaccompanied minors and hearing that around 40 percent of the girls at the facility had been sexually abused during their journey across Mexico to the border.

“This is the tragedy we’ve allowed to metastasize, while many in Congress spent months claiming this was a fake, manufactured crisis,” said Congressman Cloud. “Real compassion would have been for us to do something about this – have the wisdom and foresight to avoid the situation that we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, instead of implementing policies that enable what the cartels are doing.”

Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) had originally invited only Democrats, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), to testify. Four Republican members were added after a letter Thursday from the committee’s ranking Republican, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who insisted that allowing Republican testimony was necessary in the interest of fairness. Rep. Jordan’s letter specifically requested that Rep. Cloud, as well as Representatives Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Chip Roy (R-TX), be allowed to testify.