On June 17, U.S. Representative Brian Steele (RW, Wisconsin), the ranking member of the U.S. House Committee on Economic Inequality and Growth Equity, joined some of his colleagues on the committee on a trip to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas where they conducted a field hearing entitled ” Investing in Infrastructure: Building Economic Resilience in South Texas.
“I’m glad we had a full congressional hearing with Democrats and Republicans on the southern border where we can see first-hand the challenges facing American cities because of open borders,” Rep. Steele said during a press conference afterward. “The inaction of President Biden and his administration has created a crisis on our southern border.”
During the hearing, the bipartisan Congressional delegation heard firsthand from local leaders, community members, and experts about the challenges Texas faces in building and accessing the modern infrastructure needed to grow the local economy and benefit the entire community, according to the committee’s statement.
Lawmakers also had an opportunity to gain first-hand insight into the effects of aging infrastructure on working-class societies and its impact on economic mobility, the statement says.
After the committee hearing, Republican members took part in a tour of the southern border hosted by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Rep. Steele and his colleagues then held a news conference to discuss the effects of the Biden administration’s border policies, including the increase in human trafficking and fentanyl coming across the border, and the resources needed to secure borders and protect communities, according to congressional staff.
Rep. Steele and colleagues also toured local neighborhoods known as “colonias” to illustrate the unique infrastructure challenges affecting unincorporated communities and to highlight the obstacles to escaping intergenerational poverty.
“Resources have been diverted to make investments in the critical infrastructure discussed during the hearing and to protect Texas communities to manage” the crisis at the border, Rep. Steele said during the GOP press conference. “Farmers, ranchers, and families see this for themselves.”
For example, he said, there has been an increase in high-speed car chases, forcing schools to erect barriers to protect students.
“The needs of farmers and ranchers have been routinely ignored and humiliated by the Biden administration’s inaction,” Rep. Steele said. “Human and drug trafficking on personal property harms the integrity of Texas and destroys farmland. We cannot continue to ignore this crisis. The federal government has a duty to secure our borders. It is time for President Biden to act and one-party control in Washington.”