‘Worst Shape I’ve Ever Seen It’: Veteran Arizona Sheriff Rips Biden, Dem Lawmakers for Neglecting Border

Ari Blaff
Wed, February 1, 2023 at 12:32 PM EST

In his opening statement before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Mark Dannels, the sheriff of Cochise County, Ariz., told panelists that the border situation is in the “worst shape I’ve ever seen it.”

“I have personally experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a border county. Currently, this is the ugliest I’ve experienced,” Dannels said as part of his prepared remarks.

Dannels explained that the costs of cartel human and drug smuggling operations on his community amounted to $4.3 million “absorbed by my local and state taxpayers.

“Border-related crimes are at an all-time high. Death, murder investigations, aggravated acts against my citizens…and, yes, assault against law enforcement officials,” Dannels said.

The veteran lawman went on to lay blame for the sorry state of the border at the feet of President Biden, who he claims has not been responsive to his concerns.

“My fellow sheriffs and have tried to partner with this administration to include the President of United States, with high hopes to share a collective message, a collective action plan, support the rule of law, prioritize our southern border and provide updates on community impacts and concerns — with little to no success,” he said. “By allowing our border security mission and immigration laws to be discretionary, these criminal cartels continue to be the true winners.”

Prior to Dannels speech, Brandon Dunn told committee members about his son, Noah, who died from fentanyl poisoning. “He was murdered by a drug dealer selling counterfeit Percocet pills,” Dunn said, struggling to hold back his tears throughout his emotional testimony.

The hearing, led by Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), marked the first time the new Republican-controlled Congress has convened to address the record surge in illegal migration that’s occurred under President Biden.

The White House has come under increasing fire from fellow Democrats in recent weeks, notably New York City mayor Eric Adams, for the administration’s failure to address illegal immigration. Since southern Republican governors have begun bussing migrants to northern cities, Adams has become vocal about the need for federal help.

“[W]hen I took the trip to El Paso, you could see firsthand the impact of how it not only harms the foundation of El Paso, but look at Chicago, Houston, Washington, New York City,” Adams told MSNBC last Wednesday.

“This is just unfair for cities to carry the weight of a national problem.”

Later in the interview, Adams went so far as to compare the situation New York City currently faces to that of a fire.

“If my house is burning, I don’t want to hear about fire prevention. Let’s put out the fire. And the fire right now is the over-proliferation of migrant and asylum seekers in several cities in the country,” Adams argued.

Under the Biden administration, the number of illegal migrants apprehended along the Mexico border rose to a record high in 2022. Customs and Border Control stopped 234,088 people crossing along the southern border in April 2022, the highest figure in the recorded history of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Since taking office in January 2021, President Biden has reversed several Trump-era border policies including the “Remain in Mexico” initiative, which required asylum seekers to wait outside of the country while their claims are being processed.

The Biden administration is fighting in the courts to rescind Title 42, a pandemic-era public health policy that curtailed illegal border crossings, but the president expanded the policy in early January, prompting backlash from progressive Democrats who believe the move was a sop to Republicans.

“I believe that expansion of Title 42 is something that is being implemented in order to slow Republican political attacks on immigrants and on the administration,” representative Greg Casar (D., Tex.) told ABC. “I think that’s a mistake.”

More recent data from DHS shows that border apprehensions have declined in recent months, suggesting fewer migrants are trying to illegally cross the border. DHS statistics from last week revealed a drop to 5,000 daily apprehensions, the lowest rate in nearly a year, and considerably below the 8,000 to 9,000 witnessed in December.