‘Wrong or lying’: Democrats blast Kevin McCarthy for claiming migrants at Mexico border are from Yemen and ‘on the terror watch list’

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Shweta Sharma
·3 min read
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<p>House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks to the press during a tour for a delegation of Republican lawmakers of the US-Mexico border, in El Paso</p> (REUTERS)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks to the press during a tour for a delegation of Republican lawmakers of the US-Mexico border, in El Paso

(REUTERS)

Democrats pushed back against House minority leader Kevin McCarthy for claiming that migrants from “Yemen, Iran, and Turkey” and people on the “the terrorist watch list” have been caught crossing the Mexico border.

Arizona representative Ruben Gallego called out Mr McCarthy for either lying or giving out wrong information. He said he has not come across any information about this despite being the chairman of the subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations.

“Weird as the Chairman of the subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations and a border state member of Congress haven’t heard anything about this. Gonna ask for a briefing. Pretty sure he is either wrong or lying”, Mr Gallego tweeted.

As the Joe Biden administration deals with a surge in migrants rushing to cross the border, Mr McCarthy led a delegation of Republican members of Congress to the border at El Paso, Texas, on Monday.

He criticised the administration for the surge in migrants crossing over since the president took office, piling pressure on him to act on a situation that is “worse than a crisis”

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“He needs to come to this border, look what has happened, at what he's created, and change it,” he said talking to Fox News. “It's worse than a crisis. I thought I would see a crisis, but this is really a human heartbreak,” he said.

He said “people from Yemen, Iran and Turkey” are attempting to cross into the US illegally, citing Customs and Border Protection agents he talked to, describing it as a situation never seen before.

“People on the terrorist watch list” are being caught by Customs and Border Patrol agents, Mr McCarthy said, raising the issue of security of the American with the influx of immigrants.

Later in a briefing from the border, he went on to repeat his claims and said the agents “even talked about Chinese as well” and included Sri Lanka, for which he was trolled on social media.

Mr Gallego, however, denied the claims and asked Republican leaders to provide a classified briefing for members to substantiate the claim.

“I have the same security clearance as you do. Can you have your office arrange for a classified briefing for members to see where this info is derived from?” he said in a tweet.

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Democratic representative Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso, called out Mr McCarthy and his colleague for fuelling xenophobia against immigrants.

“We saw my Republican colleagues stoke fear and anger toward immigrants, fuelling that xenophobia. You know, the whole immigrants-bringing-diseases-into-our-country kind of thing,” she said in an online news conference.

The Republican leader was also slammed on social media for his “racist” and “rumour mongering” statements.

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Thousands of migrants have rushed to cross the border since Biden’s administration rolled back the restrictive immigration policies of his predecessor Donald Trump. Hundreds of unaccompanied children have been cramped up in detainment centres while the Biden administration worked to transfer them to federal shelters.

Nearly 100,000 apprehensions or rapid expulsions of migrants were conducted by US border agents at the border in February, making it highest in a month since 2019.

Mr McCarthy sent a letter to Mr Biden earlier this month to request a meeting over the border crisis.