OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene sounded off on Wednesday about an alleged incident at the U.S.-Mexico border.
At a House Homeland Security Committee hearing in Texas, which Democrats boycotted and refused to attend, Greene asked U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz about an alleged explosive device found by Border Patrol agents. As noted by Mediaite, it turned out to be a ball of sand and duct tape.
“Chief Ortiz, are you aware that there was an explosive device found by Border Patrol agents on January 17th in an area called No Man’s Land, and there’s surveillance of who put it there? And guess what? It wasn’t Americans; it was cartels. Are you aware of that?” Greene asked.
Ortiz declined to acknowledge the incident, citing classified information.
“I will tell you that some of this information that I receive, I receive in a confidential [sensitive compartmented information facility (SCIF)], so I’m going to be a little hesitant of briefing what I know and what I don’t know with respect to some of those, an event like that,” he explained.
“I understand, Chief Ortiz, but I’m not going to be confidential because I think people deserve to know,” Greene declared. “Our Border Patrol agents should not be in those type of conditions where they are at risk of being blown to pieces by the cartels, who, by the way, are criminals, and they should be treated as such.”
“As a matter of fact, I’ve co-sponsored legislation to declare war on the cartels because they are definitely declaring war on us, the American people, and our Border Patrol agents, and I’ve had enough of it, and I know Americans have had enough of it,” she added.
“Now this was supposed to be a full committee. But as you can see, the Democrats are not here. They decided to not — to not show. Why? Well, they said coming here was just a political stunt. You tell me, taking a hearing to the point of the crisis for a firsthand view, are boycotting a hearing because you know we’re going to shine a light on the truth. Which of those is a political stunt? I’d say the political stunt are these empty chairs,” she continued.
Every state is a border state.
In just the last two years under the Biden Administration, fentanyl deaths in my district in Northwest Georgia have increased over 350%.
Americans are dying, and Democrats don’t even bother to show up for work. pic.twitter.com/4yjAGeNp27
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) March 15, 2023
Greene tweeted a photo of the alleged object.
“Explosive found by Border Patrol Agents Jan 17th,” she wrote. “Not only are the Cartels murdering Americans everyday [sic] through drugs and crime, but now they are planting bombs on our land in our country. Our US military needs to take action against the Mexican Cartels. End this Cartel led war against America!”
Fox News National Correspondent Bill Melugin responded to Greene by saying a “high-level CBP source” told him it was “fake” and just “filled with dirt.”
NEW: A high level CBP source tells me that this was a fake, and was actually filled with dirt. It was discovered by Border Patrol agents in Rio Grande City in the RGV, and while it appeared nefarious, I’m told it did not contain any explosives. https://t.co/x1iWUQ4scZ
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) March 15, 2023
During another exchange, Ortiz testified that there have already been approximately 385,000 “known getaways” at the border since the fiscal year 2023 began.
Bishop: Thank you very much. And thank you, chief Ortiz for for your candor. I really — you’re in a tough spot. OK. And — and I know. I have a question for you. Suppose you that we have 1.3 million gotaways that we know of? What is your estimate of the people that we don’t know about that got away?”
ORTIZ: “Thank you, Congressman Gimenez. Good to see you again, sir. I will tell you that the gotaway number is a number that for a long time was associated with art. It was our agents out there actually cutting swaths of country and using you know footprints as an indicator as to what we were seeing out there. That was our situational awareness. With the investments that this Congress has made into the Border Patrol, CBP as a whole, we have greater situational awareness now than I’ve ever had. My confidence level on that gotaway number continues to increase. Is it 100 percent? No sir. 385,000 gotaways so far this fiscal year. We continue to refine that number. I’ve got to do a better job of accounting for the actual encounters.”
Bishop: “Chief — chief, I have — I have limited time. I just need a number. What percentage of the 1.3 that you know got away. How much more do you think got away you know — that you don’t know about?”
ORTIZ: “in my estimation based upon the situation awareness that I have probably be between 10 and 20 percent, sir.”
Last week, a federal judge in Florida delivered a massive blow to President Joe Biden’s administration over its “catch and release” policy, which allowed foreign nationals in the country illegally to be released into the U.S. instead of deporting them.
Florida state Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over the “catch and release” policy, arguing that the program is “illegal.”
A federal judge agreed.