Representative Henry Cuellar (D., Texas) on Friday blasted the Biden administration’s handling of the U.S.–Mexico border crisis, calling out a delegation from the White House for failing to speak to anyone when they visited the border this week.
“Any president should come down [and] really spend time with border communities,” Cuellar told Fox News. “You know, the president sent a delegation and a bunch of folks from the White House. They didn’t talk to anybody, not even members of Congress down here.”
Earlier this month, Cuellar told National Review that while he is a Democrat who supports the administration, as he supported the Obama administration, that “sometimes I think they need to do more and listen to the border communities.”
The Biden administration is struggling to get a grip on the rapidly deteriorating situation at the border: the number of migrant children in custody along the border has tripled in the past two weeks to more than 3,250 and of that more than 1,360 have been held for longer than the allowed three days, according to the report.
An anticipated CBP report this week is expected to show there were roughly 100,000 apprehensions last month.
The influx comes as Biden has terminated several policies that the Trump administration had put in place in response to a 2019 crisis at the border. The new administration has ended the Migrant Protection Protocols, or “Remain in Mexico” program, which forced migrants to await their hearings in Mexico. Officials have also severed a number of agreements with Central American countries.
Cuellar told Axios that he hopes the administration continues using the Trump-era Title 42 public health order to quickly expel migrant adults and families during the pandemic. He has also expressed concern that some immigrants are being allowed into the country without receiving a COVID-19 test first.
“You just can’t say, ‘Yeah, yeah, let everybody in’ — because then we’re affected down there at the border,” Cuellar reportedly told the outlet last month.
While the administration has denied that the situation at the border qualifies as a “crisis,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday sent an email to staff asking for volunteers for a “Volunteer Force” to help CBP at the border as it faces an “overwhelming numbers” of migrants.
“You have likely seen the news about the overwhelming numbers of migrants seeking access to this country along the Southwest Border,” he said. “President Biden and I are committed to ensuring our Nation has a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system while continuing to balance all of the other critical DHS missions.”
Biden’s eye toward creating a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants and implementing other laxer immigration policies is likely encouraging migrants to attempt to cross the border, experts say.