EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Republican House leaders plan to tour the U.S.-Mexico border Monday, where they say the Biden administration is creating a security and humanitarian crisis through lax immigration policies.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said he will lead a 13-member delegation “to see first-hand and come back with solutions” to a new surge in illegal immigration. The date and time of the visit wasn’t immediately disclosed but Border Report has learned the delegation will be in El Paso, Texas on Monday.
He and other GOP leaders say apprehensions of undocumented migrants have spiked to levels not seen since June 2019 because citizens of Central America and elsewhere are taking cues from Biden and his administration that the border is open to them.
“On the very first day of his administration, there wasn’t a plan to open American businesses or American schools. President Biden announced it was his priority to offer citizenship to 11 million undocumented immigrants. What did he think would happen?” McCarthy said Thursday as he announced the border tour.
Republicans expressed concern about new U.S. Customs and Border Protection data showing more than 100,000 undocumented migrant apprehensions in February – an amount not seen since the end of the last migration crisis in 2019. They’re also worried “catch and release” policies reportedly being applied in places like South Texas could expand across the border.
“Look at where we are right now. You have thousands of people crossing illegally into the United States every single day. Those border states are getting overrun. It’s a drain on their resources and all this was done by President Biden, and President Biden can address or reverse these policies,” said House minority whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana.
GOP members who represent districts in border states welcome their colleagues’ visit to the border because they say they’re already witnessing an immigration crisis.
“I’ve been to the border many times (as part of) the 2014 task force created (by President Obama) to address alarming number of unaccompanied minors coming over. I’ve seen firsthand what a border crisis looks like, so believe me when I say we are once again facing a crisis on our southern border,” said U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas. “Not only has the Biden administration failed to recognize the crisis even exists, but they stopped construction of the border wall, virtually eliminated enforcement of immigration laws and reversed Trump administration policies that were so successful in decreasing illegal crossings over the last few years.”
She concurs that Biden and the leadership at the Department of Homeland Security are sending a “confusing” message that’s encouraging illegal crossings and empowering the drug cartels that also control migrant smuggling on the Mexican side of the border.
“I urge the speaker (Nancy Pelosi) and the Biden administration to work with us to address this crisis immediately,” Granger said.
U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-New Mexico, urged Biden not to do away with a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention policy that’s becoming a last line of defense to reduce cross-border spread of COVID-19.
“We need the Biden administration to keep Title 42 in place so we can protect the citizens of our nation. That has nothing to do with politics,” Herrell said. “We are asking him to let our Border Patrol expel those who are coming into the nation illegally so we can protect our seniors, our children, our communities. It’s not fair we’ve been in a masked situation, in lockdowns, with closed businesses. […] yet we think it’s a good idea to somehow open the border and put not only the American people but those making the trip in harm’s way.”
U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, whose district includes East El Paso County and 800 miles of U.S.-Mexico border, said he’s seen how the increased migration has overwhelmed local resources.
“America is beautiful and what makes us beautiful is that we are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. Border security and legal immigration go hand and hand,” Gonzales said. “I am on the border every single week and what I am seeing is that this Administration’s open border rhetoric has caused a crisis. I urge this Administration to listen to those that are on the border — Democrats and Republicans alike. […] I urge the Biden Administration to take hold and focus on legal immigration, not illegal immigration.”