A House GOP delegation led by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) blamed President Biden’s immigration policies for the massive influx of migrants at the southern border, during a Monday visit to El Paso, Texas.
McCarthy called on Biden to travel to El Paso on the U.S.-Mexico border to assess the crisis for himself. U.S. Border Patrol agents detained over 9,000 unaccompanied minors during the month of February, and are currently arresting roughly 400 children attempting to cross the border per day.
“This is where [Biden] should look the people in the eye. This is where he should talk to the border agents, and let them know that this is beyond a crisis,” McCarthy said. “He can continue to deny it, but the only way to solve it is to first, admit what he has done.”
McCarthy added later in the press conference, “The safety and security of Americans and our border is the job of the President. He is the one who created this [crisis], and he is the one who can fix it.”
Representative John Katko (R., N.Y.) blasted Biden’s policies as beneficial to drug cartels operating at the border. Katko was a former prosecutor at the Justice Department who prosecuted drug cartels while living in El Paso in the 1990’s.
“I had a fundamental understanding then, and I do now, that the cartels know when to exploit the southern border, and they’re doing it now masterfully,” Katko said. “They’re doing it because President Biden rolled back a lot of the orders of the previous administration that were working.”
Biden has scrapped a number of immigration restrictions implemented by the Trump administration, including the “Remain in Mexico” policy whereby asylum seekers were required to wait in Mexico while their cases were processed in the U.S. The Biden administration has also reinstated “catch-and-release” policies, in which some migrants are released into U.S. border towns to await processing.
Representative Chuck Fleischmann (R., Tenn.) also blamed the recent influx of migrants on the Biden administration’s policies.
“President Biden and his minions created an environment causing this surge,” Fleischmann said.
The press conference came after Representative Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat whose district sits on the U.S.-Mexico border, criticized a Biden administration delegation last week for not reaching out to border communities.
“You know, the president sent a delegation and a bunch of folks from the White House,” Cuellar told Fox News on Friday. “They didn’t talk to anybody, not even members of Congress down here.”
There are currently over 4,200 migrant children in custody of Border Patrol, with detention facilities in Texas and Arizona operating above full capacity. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services has 9,000 migrant children in its shelters.