Owens Blasts Biden’s Border Crisis

If misery is the goal of President Biden, not only is he an All-Pro, but he's a Hall of Famer.

WASHINGTON — Higher Education and Workforce Development Chair Burgess Owens (UT-04) participated in a Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Hearing titled “The Consequences of Biden’s Border Chaos for K-12 Schools.”

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During the hearing, Rep. Owens denounced the impact of President Biden’s border crisis on Utah schools and the American K-12 education system. 

Rep. Owens: “I think I’d like to start off by framing this in light of the border. This is not by accident, and we’ve seen an attack on our educational system. It has been on purpose. This type of incompetency cannot be an accident. The cost of illegal immigration has taken a substantial toll on our country and our educational system. In Utah alone, illegal immigrants are estimated to be adding 54,000 students to local school systems. The total estimated cost of illegal immigration amounts to over $900 million. Now, this is a state – that’s close to a billion dollars of extra costs – a state that prides itself on a balanced budget. It is unacceptable, unjust, to students, teachers, and citizens to pay this price for President Biden’s strategy for power.”

“If misery is the goal of President Biden, not only is he an All-Pro, but he is a Hall of Famer. We’re looking at misery of parents that have to try to figure out how to get the resources for their children to learn. Misery, in particular, for the at-risk communities like black communities that’s already been stripped of resources because of the Biden COVID shutdown. A school system in Virginia—60% of black students have lost two years of learning, and this will make it impossible for them to catch up. It’s also misery for illegal immigrant children. Of course, I’d like to mention that 85,000 of them have been lost by this administration. They’re unable to assimilate. They’re unable to speak the language, to understand what the American culture is all about. They’re stuck as wards of the government. Poverty is their future and it’s on purpose. They’re vulnerable to crime and gang violence. They’re vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse, and these guys just don’t care. So as we go through this process, please remember if this is on purpose, there’s only one word I can call it. It’s called evil. No one should ever do this to children – [who are] vulnerable – for power, and that’s what we have going on right now.”

Rep. Owens also questioned the following witnesses about the strain of illegal immigration on school districts in California and New York:

  • Mrs. Danyela Souza Egorov, Vice President, New York City’s Community Education Council 2
  • Ms. Sheena Rodriguez, President, Alliance for a Safe Texas
  • Ms. Mari Barke, Trustee, Orange County Board of Education

Rep. Owens: “Ms. Egorov, in your testimony you highlighted the Department of Education shows that 26 states have a shortage of English student learning teachers. How severe is that process going right now? And is the answer to spend our way out?”

Mrs. Egorov: “Yeah, I think that’s one of the biggest problems is that there are 26 states now that have the shortage as documented by the report by the Department of Education. This is not just teachers who speak Spanish because there are children from every single country coming, and so it’s just very hard to plan and then to be able to serve adequately.”

Rep. Owens: “It appears that the goal is, and as you mentioned in your testimony, that New York is lowering the bar of educational achievement following the learning loss of COVID. Is this a new American way or process now to figure out how dumb we can get our kids and call that success?”

Mrs. Egorov: “So what New York did, it’s so appalling, and for me as a mother, I can’t believe what they are asking me to do. Basically, they said that what third graders, for example, could do a few years ago, it’s not what third graders now can do. So what they are telling me is that my 11-year-old, what he could do in third grade, is not what I should expect for my youngest son. No parent will accept that, and what New York is doing is trying to hide the learning loss from closing schools for so long, from masking mandates, from COVID vaccine mandates that prevented children and parents from going in our school buildings.”

Rep. Owens: “Okay. Ms. Rodriguez, you mentioned the public school system communities have become hotbeds of criminal activity, recruitment, exploitation, and death. We have experienced that in Utah. In Utah this last February we had an illegal alien rape an 11-year-old girl. Can you elaborate more on the failure of securing the border has created the type of environment it’s set up because of this policy?”

Ms. Rodriguez: “Yes, and I think that that’s one of the most egregious things is that this isn’t safe for the children, for the students, for the staff, for the communities in these schools and in the surrounding areas. We’re failing. We’re failing the future of our country. We’re failing on every level.”

Rep. Owens: “Ms. Barke, in California, when you strain our system, what are the services and programs that are first to be cut from taxpayers’ children when these resources are short?”

Ms. Barke: “Yes, it’s always our most disadvantaged and our most vulnerable children that suffer the most. Those are the programs that go first. And we have a significant number of those children in California, about 800,000 and also a significant amount here in Orange County.”

Rep. Owens: “Well, I would just say this, anyone in the Biden administration that has any touch at all in education should be fired. This is not something we should ever expect for our children to go through. These are the most vulnerable in our country and they simply do not care. It’s called evil. So thank you guys so much, I appreciate it, and I yield back.”

The full hearing is available here.


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