House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and 12 other House Republicans are at the southern border and will make comments from El Paso, Texas, later Monday as the GOP continues to hammer President Biden over immigration.
McCarthy, R-Calif., and other Republicans have blamed Biden himself for the massive surge in border crossings since he took office. They are likely to highlight that point on Monday as they continue to paint a picture of a border in “crisis,” a word the Biden administration has refused to use to describe the large influx of migrants and limited federal resources to deal with it.
“This is something that President Biden created, and he can fix this today by reversing the order,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said on Thursday as Republicans announced their border trip.
Biden in his first two months in office has aimed to reverse a number of Trump-era immigration policies. He started rolling back the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “remain in Mexico” policy, ended a number of asylum policies that the Biden administration claims have closed to the border to asylum-seekers, and more.
“He’s got to recognize the policy failed,” Scalise continued. “Any good leader would look in the mirror and if they made a mistake they would acknowledge this as a mistake, and they would fix it. Because he himself can fix this right now. First step, though, is to admit there is a crisis.”
McCarthy meanwhile said that the purpose of the trip is “to see firsthand, to come back with solutions to make sure our border is secure, to make sure we can end this crisis that Biden has created.”
Making the trip with McCarthy are Reps. John Katko, R-N.Y.; Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.; Clay Higgins, R-La.; Tony Gonzales, R-Texas; Michael Cloud, R-Texas; Yvette Herrell, R-N.M.; David Joyce, R-Ohio; Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa; August Pfluger, R-Texas; John Rose, R-Tenn., and Maria Salazar, R-Fla. The group will speak at 1 p.m. E.T. Monday.
Meanwhile, Democrats are insisting that Republicans are blowing the situation at the border out of proportion.
“I guess their Dr. Seuss approach didn’t work for them. Now they have to change the subject,” Pelosi said to reporters last week of Republicans’ focus on the border.
Democratic National Committee spokesperson Eduardo Silva, meanwhile, said he does not believe that Republicans are serious about finding immigration solutions, as McCarthy said.
“Republicans for years – including the last four years – did nothing to help with the nation’s immigration issues,” Silva said. “Unless Republicans come back from the border with a commitment to helping President Biden solve the problem, this visit is nothing more than a political stunt.”
McCarthy and the other House Republicans are likely to paint a dire picture of the harms associated with the huge influx of migrants under Biden. At his press conference on Thursday, McCarthy told reporters about one border community that he says has seen some of the worst harms from the surge.
“The facilities down there are so packed, Border Patrol is left to just release migrants into the middle of the town,” McCarthy said, citing a mayor of a border town. “There’s a car chase now just about every single day. Just this Sunday, they had a head-on crash.”
McCarthy added: “The migrants are sometimes armed. In the last two weeks, they’ve had to shut down the schools because armed migrants are out. In January, multiple officers were shot. That’s just in this community.”
The border visit by the group of Republicans follows a visit to the border by a delegation of senior Biden administration officials earlier this month. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice were among the group that visited facilities for both Border Patrol and Health and Human Services facilities on the border, according to the White House.
But Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, a Democrat in Congress who has been openly critical of the Biden administration’s border actions, said the trip was insufficient because the White House delegation “didn’t talk to anybody, not even members of Congress down here.”
The Biden administration, meanwhile, has emphasized that it is following the law on the border and not simply letting anybody in the country.
“The majority of people that come to the border will be turned away,” Psaki said last week.
Meanwhile, encounters by Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) with migrants skyrocketed in February, the full first month of Biden’s presidency, to more than 100,000.
So far, encounters in FY 2021 to date is 97% higher than FY 2020 and 24% higher than FY 2019 — when there was a crisis at the border.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
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