Senator Collins Urges Actions to Address Out-of-Control Border Security Crisis
“In the State of Maine, encounters have increased over 450 percent since fiscal year 2021.”
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, there were a record 12,381 encounters with foreign nationals entering the U.S. along the southwest border without authorization.
In response to this ongoing—and worsening crisis—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, delivered remarks on the Senate floor today to call for bipartisan solutions that address the border security crisis the United States is facing at both the southern and northern borders.
In her remarks, she noted that “so far this fiscal year, we are averaging nearly 8,500 encounters per day, and this month, the average is nearly 10,000 per day. At the current rate, we are on pace for more than three million encounters in fiscal year 2024, which would shatter the previous high set last fiscal year. To put this in perspective, that is more than twice as many encounters at the southwest border as there are people in the entire State of Maine.”
IMPACT ON MAINE
“In the State of Maine, encounters have increased over 450 percent since fiscal year 2021,” said Senator Collins. “Just recently, the U.S. Border Patrol encountered a group of 20 Romanians illegally crossing into the United States near Houlton, Maine. Two of these individuals were flagged as Transnational Criminal Organized Crime matches and detained for expedited removal proceedings. The remaining 18 were released into the local community.”
“Communities in Maine and throughout our country are struggling to absorb this influx of people who are being released into the interior. The majority of migrants are released pending an adjudication of their claims, but that is a process that can take years,” Senator Collins continued. “In Portland, Maine, a city of 68,000 residents, more than 1,600 asylum seekers have arrived since January. Sanford, Maine, which has a population of only 22,000, has had approximately 400 migrants arrive since May. Over the past six months, the City of Sanford has spent 1.3 million to provide food, housing, and other required assistance to asylum seekers and their families.”
“Mexican drug cartels are using the chaos at the southern border to facilitate their trafficking operations. They are sending record amounts of fentanyl into this country – enough to kill every American many times over,” said Senator Collins. “Maine, like so many states, has seen record increases in recent years in the number of overdose deaths, nearly 80 percent of which were fentanyl related. We lost 513 Mainers in the first 10 months of 2023 to fatal overdoses – 373 of these deaths were fentanyl-related.”
Earlier this year, Senators Collins and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) introduced the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act of 2023, which would shorten the waiting period for asylum seekers who come through legal ports of entry to apply for work authorizations.
Click HERE to read Senator Collins full remarks.
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