Politics Biden not focused enough on stopping flow of illegal immigrants, border Democrat says
Rep. Henry Cuellar, one of Biden's harshest critics on the migrant surge, is urging White House to listen to border towns
Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar has become an outspoken, critical voice on immigration as Biden grapples with migrants coming to the border.The 65-year-old congressman, donning a tan button-down shirt and matching pants, lamented about the issues he’s seen in his community as an increased number of migrant children, families and adults make their way to the U.S.-Mexico border. American teenagers are being recruited by cartels to help smuggle people into the United States, ranch property is being destroyed, and now migrants are replacing drugs as the newest and most valuable commodity to smuggle into the country, he said.
President Joe Biden is too focused on responding to the surge of migrants at the southern border, a border Democratic congressman said, rather than preventing further illegal immigration.
Henry Cuellar of Texas, a senior House Democrat, said the flow of illegal migration across the Mexican border "is not stopping" and that it may persist into this summer, despite the triple-digit heat that usually acts as a deterrent. Instead, Biden's inability to quell the surge of people this spring is prompting more people to migrate, he said.
Cuellar expressed dismay in responses that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas gave during congressional hearings last week about the 21-year high in the number of people who attempted to cross the border illegally in April.
Voters unhappy with Biden handling of border crisis, polls reveal
U.S. residents disagree with how the Biden administration is responding to the surge of children and adults illegally coming across the U.S.-Mexico border, according to new polling. © Provided by Washington Examiner Just 43% of adults approve of how President Joe Biden is handling the border and immigration issues, compared to 54% who do not approve of his administration's actions since January. Immigration was among Biden's lowest-rated issues as of April 29 through May 3, according to findings released Monday by the Associated Press-NORC at the University of Chicago.
"It doesn’t seem to faze him that these large numbers are coming in," Cuellar told the Washington Examiner.
The Biden administration has focused its response on reacting to the number of people arriving, doling out billions to house people before they are released into the United States —to house children as of early May. Most recently, the White House planned to shift $2 billion in emergency coronavirus funds to cover the costs of housing and transporting people who have come across the border, Politico reported over the weekend. The Biden administration also has chosen not to return migrants to their home countries as the Trump administration had done amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"We’re certainly not addressing the inflow situation," said Cuellar, vice chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. The sentiment has been echoed byin Congress, as well as many Republicans, , who said Mayorkas's indifference toward the border was "extremely damning." U.S. voters are with the worsening situation.
US agents encounter more single adults crossing border
LA JOYA, Texas (AP) — Parents emerge from the brush into a baseball field, carrying exhausted children. Border Patrol agents dictate orders: Families with young children in one line and unaccompanied children in another. The smallest of three lines is for single adults. The scene Tuesday night in La Joya, a town of about 4,000 people, plays out nightly in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, presenting Joe Biden with one of the most serious challenges of his young presidency — high numbers of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum. April was the second-busiest month on record for unaccompanied children encountered at the border, following March’s all-time high.
In April,attempted to come across the southern border without permission or documentation, more than double the seen at the border in January and the highest monthly figure in 21 years. Cuellar said the U.S. could see 200,000 unlawful crossings in May due to the Biden administration's inaction to stop the surge, which has generated increased migration from countries outside Central America.
Cuellar's district sits along 200 miles of the border, from the Rio Grande Valley through Laredo and on to Del Rio in south-central Texas. The three regions are seeing different trends in terms of human smuggling by criminal organizations, which charge up to $8,000 per person to get migrants to and across the southern border illegally.
In the southeastern region of the Rio Grande Valley, half of all people encountered by the Border Patrol agents who patrol for illegal crossings between ports of entry are adults. Approximately 15% are children without parents or who may have been pushed across the river by their parents to take advantage of a change Biden made to policy that allows Central American children not to be sent home. The remaining 36% are families.
Biden's border closure cracks under pressure from lawsuits, advocates and the easing pandemic
Even as Biden officials call Title 42 a "source of pain" and stop expelling asylum seekers to Mexico late at night or far from where they crossed the border, they're defending the Trump-era pandemic-policy.Days earlier, Maria had crossed the U.S. southern border some 1,500 miles away, near Hidalgo, Texas, to seek out the Border Patrol and ask for asylum. The agents told her she was being sent to another state to make her claim, she told the Los Angeles Times.
In Laredo, 90% of people encountered crossing illegally are single adults from Mexico trying to evade detection. In this region, smugglers use "stash houses" to hold people who have just gotten across, then will smuggle them further into the U.S. through tractor-trailer trucks that may carry 50 to 100 people inside, often without any air conditioning.
In Del Rio, migrants from countries beyond Central America are arriving in record-high numbers. This region has seen predominantly Venezuelan, Haitian, and Cuban people crossing the border since March.
Cuellar's chief concern is the Biden administration's plan to end Title 42, a public health protocol that allowed border authorities to turn away anyone caught crossing the border unlawfully rather than taking them into custody and holding them in jail-like confined spaces during the pandemic. More than 90% of adults who come over the border are turned away under the policy, and rescinding it would mean many would simply be released into the U.S.,with families and children. Biden has also begun releasing migrants into the country without assigning immigration court dates.
Biden’s old Senate colleagues don’t recognize his current economics. They’re cool with that.
The White House says there’s no change to his core principles even as he adapts to meet the crises he inherited.In the 1980s, Biden voted for the Reagan tax cuts, significantly reducing the tax rate for high-income earners. In the 1990s, he promoted legislation that would have dramatically restricted deficit spending and backed Clinton-era welfare reform ultimately seen as harmful to working class Black and brown Americans. And as vice president, he negotiated major deals with Republicans that included the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and domestic spending reductions.
The Biden administration ought to be planning now what it will do with adults at the border when it chooses to stop automatically turning all away, Cuellar said.
If the Biden administration discontinues the automatic return of all adults but wishes not to release everyone into the U.S., the government will need additional funding for detention operations.
"I'm one of those Democrats, I want to give people their day in immigration court," he said. "To just release people into the U.S. and wait for court hearings and all that, all it does is provide more incentive to the criminal organizations."
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In conversations with Border Patrol agents, Cuellar said, the federal law enforcement agents have expressed frustration about taking people into custody when they will just "let them go."
"'Why are we here if we're going to have this type of open policy again?'" Cuellar said, citing what agents have said.
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100 Days of Biden hypocrisy: Court-packing, filibuster, and immigration .
Like many prior promises and positions, President Joe Biden’s pledge to pursue unity and bipartisanship once he was in charge gave way to political realities soon after he sat down in the Oval Office. © Provided by Washington Examiner Such has been a pattern in the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency: The things he’s said over the long arc of his career (either to build his image as a commonsense senator from Delaware or, more recently, to win liberal favor in his bid for the White House) have not matched the actions he’s taken as chief executive.