July 21, 2021

Cassidy Brings Attention to ICE Drop Offs throughout Louisiana on Senate Floor

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today delivered a speech on the Senate Floor on the drop off of migrants in Shreveport, Monroe, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with little to no notice to state and local officials.

“This situation in Shreveport, Monroe and Baton Rouge shows the degree of failure of their policies. It’s hard to believe they are the only communities dealing with this,” said Dr. Cassidy. “It’s unfair to every single person involved – the community, our country, the immigrants. We need answers. We need accountability. And we need sound immigration and border policies.”

Cassidy released a statement over the weekend after learning about the situation in Shreveport. He also spoke with ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson on Tuesday afternoon seeking answers and accountability on the situation unfolding throughout Louisiana.

Cassidy’s speech as delivered can be found below:

Madam President, 

We are seeing record numbers of people coming to the U.S-Mexican border. 

I am told 63 different countries have folks that have arrived at our border. 

In the latest numbers released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), they encountered almost 190,000 people coming to the United States illegally coming through the southern border last month. That’s the highest monthly number of encounters by CBP in two decades.  

This is where we are now. 

That number is up 471 percent from June 2020. Across the board, every category of CBP encounters at the Southwest land border – single adults, unaccompanied children, individuals in a family unit — they are surging in 2021, including in the hot summer months when it has traditionally been that’s when it falls. It’s important because these people coming across in the hot summer months are at increased risk for death from dehydration and heat exhaustion. 

With June’s tally CBP’s migrant encounters surpassed one million for the fiscal year. Now in context, the last fiscal year had 460,000 encounters. Fiscal year 2019, 980,000. That year was labeled a humanitarian catastrophe. That was for the entire year. Now we’re speaking of a million, and we have three months left to go in this fiscal year.  

On Monday, Texas and the national media broadcast videos of migrants trying to force their way past Texas border guards. Eight federal agents and police officers pushed back on the gate to prevent a rush of about 300 people just breaking through, coming across the border from Mexico. 

By any definition, this is a crisis. For the individual, who is at risk of dying of dehydration in the desert, for our country, which cannot control the border crisis, for the infection of the COVID/coronavirus situation in our country, because obviously coronavirus could be rampant upon the among these folks. 

The Biden-Harris administration could not be doing worse if they intentionally set out to mismanage the situation.

This past weekend it became clear that it’s not just the situation on the border, but it’s also a situation in Louisiana. 

On Friday, KTBS, a Shreveport news outlet, reported that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) dropped off approximately 80 Haitian immigrants with little to no warning to local government and law enforcement officials.  

Again, this is multiple levels. I presume that these folks are dropped off because we’re out of capacity, but let’s think about the individual being dropped off. A source told KTBS that the men had money, but some of the women had little or no money. No contacts, no money. They don’t speak the language, dropped off in a strange city. 

Multiple Louisiana outlets are reporting approximately 400 immigrants from 42 countries have been dropped off by ICE in Shreveport since the end of March, but this is the first we hear of it. 

In Baton Rouge, WBRZ, the ABC affiliate, had photos and video of a similar drop-off in Baton Rouge on Friday, July 16. 

Monroe, Louisiana, a similar situation. Natchez, Mississippi, similarly as well. 

We called ICE over the weekend, and yesterday we actually spoke to the acting director. He told me the drop-offs are [sic] common practice. 

I would argue that releasing migrants without notifying local officials, at least the NGOs that can give them help, particularly when there isn’t, when some of them have no money, no contacts, no place to go, is not good. And he acknowledges that. In fairness, he acknowledged that that was a mistake and that the number of 70 was too large a number. He denied it was a problem of capacity, but frankly when we see what’s happening at the southern border and then we see a whole group of 70 being dropped off without the organization required to make sure there is seamless entry into our society, that tells me there probably is a capacity problem.  

Again, you cannot imagine a worse immigration policy and execution of what we’ve seen in the first six months of this administration.  

It is incoherence, it is dysfunction. 

It appears that Washington told ICE, just send them someplace with, again, little or no notice to state and local officials. 

We have to ask do the President, do the Vice President care about controlling the border? Do they care about communities? Do they care about these immigrants? It’s almost as if they are wishing that the issue be swept under the rug. Unfortunately, the crisis continues to worsen. I don’t know if there’s a plan. I say that because if there is a plan, we’ve not yet seen it executed. What we have seen is that record numbers of people are now coming into our country. It’s more as if hands are being thrown up in the air.  

I will also say there was a lot of criticism of what President Trump did, but it’s my observation that whatever the last thing the last president did was the first thing that worked. Because it’s not as if they tried the immediate solution first off. It’s like they worked through some things that didn’t work, and they finally got to where they were able to stem the tide. So if it’s the era of let’s do the opposite of what President Trump did, even if it’s the only thing that’s ever worked, we’re in trouble. 

I do think it’s time for the Biden administration to admit they were wrong and to begin going back to that which appeared to work. 

I want to thank the people of Shreveport. They have been kinder than the federal government in terms of helping people out. The churches, the NGOs that came out to help folks, as one of them said, the scripture teaches us to help those who are aliens in our land. They have been willing to handle the situation when the administration failed. 

But the charity of the American people is not a substitute for a coherent policy. 

This is an issue for the Executive Branch, specifically, President Biden and Vice President Harris who was personally put in charge. 

We need to get it right. We need answers. We need accountability. We need sound immigration and border policies. And it starts with securing our southern border and enforcing our laws. 

Again, the current situation is unfair to everyone – the migrants, the community, our country. 

The situation in Shreveport, Monroe, and Baton Rouge shows the failure of the policies. I don’t think they are the only communities dealing with this. And we will continue to deal with it even more so until we have a controlled border. 

With that, I yield the floor.