AG Bailey describes how border crisis impacts Missouri taxpayers

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(The Center Square) – At a U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security hearing held to further a process to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey described how the border crisis was impacting Missourians.

At Wednesday’s hearing, he cited examples of how he said Mayorkas failed to secure the U.S. border and violated his oath of office. Bailey urged Congress to impeach and remove him from office. He also described how he secured Iraq’s border in 2005 and compared that to Mayorkas not securing America’s borders.

Bailey cited one of the committee’s reports on the costs to taxpayers, which estimates that federal and state taxes funding services for people in the country illegally exceeds the annual GDP of 15 states. This funding includes over $12.4 billion spent in the past two years on illegal foreign nationals and in fiscal 2022 over $6 billion on food stamps for them. These costs impact Missouri taxpayers, he said.

He also pointed to the fentanyl crisis. In 2023, Missouri Highway Patrol alone seized nearly 12,500 grams fentanyl, enough to kill the state’s population twice, he said.

According to state data, there’s been a 500% surge in child fentanyl exposure deaths, nearly a 75% increase in fentanyl overdoses between 2019 and 2023, and 43 children died from unintentional fentanyl poisonings in 2022, he said.

The border crisis has only emboldened cartel human trafficking operations, Bailey added. Missouri ranks fourth nationwide for having the highest human trafficking rate, of four per 100,000 people trafficked, he said. This is also due to the fact that main interstates flow through major cities in Missouri directly from the southern border.

It’s roughly a 17-hour drive from Brownsville, Texas, coming through Houston up through Little Rock, Arkansas, to St. Louis, Missouri, for example, entering Missouri on highway 67. If traffickers and smugglers are coming from Dallas, it’s slightly less than a 10-hour drive, traveling up through Oklahoma, entering Missouri on Highway 44. If smugglers are coming through Kansas City, Kansas, they enter Missouri using Highway 70. A primary destination of illegal foreign nationals is Chicago, just a 4.5-hour drive northeast from St. Louis.

He also pointed to the National Human Trafficking Hotline Database recording 1,100 human trafficking tips in 2021 in Missouri. Law enforcement officials were able to rescue 327 victims from the tips, he said.

“While these statistics shed light on a nauseating reality, some of the costs to Missourians cannot be quantified,” he said. “The loved ones lost to fentanyl or human trafficking can never be replaced, much less properly described in this hearing today.”

“The fact of the matter is that every state is a border state,” he said. “Every state and its citizens are forced to bear the brunt of Secretary Mayorkas’ ineptitude. My call to Congress today is simple: remove that burden from the shoulders of everyday Americans and put it back where it belongs – on the shoulders of those sworn to protect us. The states should not need to take steps to do the federal government’s job for them.”

Democrats said the hearing was “a joke” and politically motivated. They also argued policy differences between Congress and Mayorkas do not amount to high crimes and misdemeanors and are not enough to impeach Mayorkas. They also did not express concern about more than 10 million illegal border crossers since January 2021 despite Democratic mayors and governors declaring emergencies over the migrant crisis.

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