As thousands of illegal immigrants pushed across the U.S. border in Del Rio, Texas, Sen. Maggie Hassan, an influential member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee participated in a press conference to excoriate… Gov. Chris Sununu.
Over the state’s Executive Council voting to cancel contracts with three Planned Parenthood clinics.
“The vote last week was an outrageous vote,” Hassan said.
The next day, as Americans watched horrific images of children sweltering in the 100-degree heat near an overpass in Texas and overwhelmed Border Patrol agents struggled to defend the border, Hassan was in a Homeland Security Committee hearing grilling DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas… over the Canadian border.
Hassan wanted to know why Canadians can fly into the U.S. regardless of vaccination status, but not drive.
“I do not understand the public health rationale here at all for closing the northern border to vehicular traffic when it is essentially open to air traffic,” Hassan said.
This even as tens of thousands of migrants, with no COVID-19 testing or proof of vaccination status, have been released by Mayorkas’ agents into the U.S.
“The lack of vaccine requirements for illegal migrants is not new,” the New York Post reports, “as on Sept. 10, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed the government would not require them, despite President Joe Biden’s order requiring roughly two-thirds of U.S. workers to be vaccinated.
Asked why there were vaccine requirements for businesspeople flying from Europe to the U.S. but not the would-be migrants at the border, Psaki said the migrants are “not intending to stay here for a lengthy period of time.”
Border crossings have exploded since February as 1.4 million people — equal to the population of New Hampshire — have been “encountered” crossing the border illegally since Biden took office. Illegal migration is at a 21-year high. Another migrant caravan is making its way from Central America to the southern border. And on Sunday, Mayorkas said at least 12,000 Haitian migrants detained in Del Rio have now been released inside the U.S. and, “it could be even higher.”
Unlike confronting the state’s Executive Council over its votes on Planned Parenthood, addressing these problems is part of Hassan’s job on the Homeland Security Committee. Which is why critics ask: If she can hold a press conference about one, how about the other?
As former GOP strategist Alicia Preston Xanthopoulos said of the Democrats’ anti-Sununu press conference: “So basically, everyone who represents us in the United States Capitol took time off of working to get us a budget before the government shuts down; passing an infrastructure bill; drafting legislation to fix the crisis at the border; fixing our health insurance and health care system; and maybe even smoothing over some current rifts with our European allies, for a political stunt for a colleague against a guy who hasn’t even said he’s running for U.S. Senate yet?”
Hassan’s border challenges don’t end there. After five years in the Senate, and on the committee whose job it is to oversee U.S. border security and immigration policy, she has never sponsored a bill regarding immigration reform or border security.
This year alone, Hassan has voted against reinstating the “Remain in Mexico” policy; against providing more border fence funding; and against ending the “Catch and Release” policy.
In 2019, Hassan talked about a recent visit to the border, speaking admiringly of the Customs and Border Patrol agents. “Here’s what I heard from our CBP frontline personnel. We need more personnel, we need more infrastructure… and in some cases horses to patrol certain kinds of terrain.”
Last week, when Border Patrol agents on horseback were falsely accused of “whipping” would-be illegal immigrants — and the Biden administration ordered an end to the use of horses by the CBP in that area in response — Hassan declined to defend the Border Patrol. She has had no comment.
Hassan’s 2016 opponent believes Hassan’s inaction on the immigration issue is a potential problem in 2022.
“Let’s face it: As a senator, there are fundamental issues — especially on the committees you serve on — that impact not only New Hampshire but the nation,” former Senator Kelly Ayotte told NHJournal. “Issues like what’s happening in Afghanistan or Cuba. And then also what’s happening at our southern border. These are all really important issues. Of course, she should talk about them.”
Hassan opposed former President Donald Trump’s attempts to build more physical barriers along the southern border, including his infamous “wall.” And Hassan supports the Biden administration’s decision to leave portions of the wall that have already been paid for unfinished.
Hassan’s strategy appears to be to quietly back the Biden administration and avoid any specific questions about immigration, amnesty, or deportations. That’s a risky bet given Biden’s numbers on the issue. In a recent Morning Consult poll, 55 percent of respondents disapproved of his handling of immigration (41 percent “strongly”), and almost half (47 percent) saw “illegal immigration” as a “critical threat to the vital interests of the United States in the next 10 years.”
Meanwhile, a new Pew Research poll finds just 14 percent of Americans say they’re “very confident” he “can make wise decisions about immigration policy,” while 28 percent are “not too confident” and 28 percent are “not at all confident.”
Republicans, on the other hand, are confident border security and illegal immigration will be a powerful issue when they run against Hassan next year.