MISSION, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, on Friday brought a GOP delegation of senators on a tour of the South Texas border in the Rio Grande Valley, that declared the immigration situation is “dangerous” and “chaotic.”
The group of six senators went on a day-long, as well as a night, tour of the region where human smuggling and drug trafficking encounters have been among the top in the nation since 2014.
“We need help from the Biden administration but so far we’ve gotten nothing from them other than open-border policies,” Cornyn said during an afternoon press conference at Anzalduas Park in Mission, Texas, overlooking the Rio Grande.
The group had a 24-hour whirlwind visit.
They went on a boat tour of the Rio Grande. They visited an abandoned stash house. They spoke with migrants who crossed illegally, they said, and they visited a U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Central Processing Center in McAllen.
They also met with local law enforcement and ranchers who told them they are “overwhelmed.”
“Let’s talk a minute about the border communities, like this one. They have limited resources for health care, for law enforcement and they’re overwhelmed,” Cornyn said.
This was the latest congressional delegation to tour South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley this year.
Last month in Weslaco, Republicans led the first field hearing of the new Congress and it was on the border.
The Democratic minority leader came to Laredo last month to view the border.
And another field hearing is scheduled for later this month in McAllen.
Accompanying Cornyn on Friday were:
- U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota
- U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi
- U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska
- U.S. Sen. Pete Ricketts, R-Nebraska
- U.S. Sen. Katie Britt, R-Alabama
Cornyn said this was the tenth Senate delegation he has brought to the Rio Grande Valley.
And he said he hopes the Biden administration will take notice and prompt Democrats to enact “meaningful immigration reforms.”
“Until you come down here and see it, you really don’t have that full understanding and that broad picture of what this all entails,” Wicker said.
Britt, a freshman senator from Alabama, says she has visited the border three times since taking office in January. She says she is a mother and she is worried about the young migrants who are being trafficked by coyotes who she says have “no regard” for their safety or well being, or that of border communities.
Wicker said this “should be more of a bipartisan issue.”
Border Report asked Cornyn why there were no Democrats on the trip and he said he did not invite any, this time. But he said he recently took part in two bipartisan border tours — to El Paso and Yuma, Arizona.
And he said the Yuma delegation on March 19 is headed to Mexico City to meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador “to see if there is something we can do together.”
Several members said they worry that when Title 42 lifts in May that migrant encounter “gottaways” will increase in between the ports of entry.
“They don’t get across without help. It’s definitely a border that is policed on one side of the border, and that’s by the cartels. Everything from gun-running to drugs to the most poisonous failed drugs, to human trafficking and prostitution. It is a shame and a crisis and an avoidable self-inflicted wound on this country,” Wicker said.
Thune said that the thousands of pounds of drugs crossing from Mexico every day and making its way to northern states “makes every state a border state.”
He said drug overdoses are up 133% over the past five years in his state of South Dakota.
“It’s a sad situation,” Fischer, of Nebraska, said. “It’s a dangerous situation. It’s a chaotic situation.”
The senators also cited an increase in Chinese nationals illegally crossing the border. And talked about how fentanyl is being produced with precursor ingredients sourced by China and smuggled from Mexico.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com