A Congressional delegation from Texas held a 75-minute press conference on Monday regarding Biden administration policies that are markedly affecting the numbers of illegals crossing into the U.S. They praised border control agents and heavily criticized the current administration's immigration policies, saying the policies are causing an unnecessary crisis.
According to Press Secretary Jen Psaki, in a press conference on March 30, Vice President Harris is in charge of the "root causes of the crisis" at the border. Harris has not indicated any plans to visit the border.
Congressman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) and Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) led the delegation. Brian Babin is the Chair of the U.S. Border Security Caucus for the United States House GOP conference. Among those also present were Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, former Acting Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director, Tom Homan, and Mark Morgan, former Acting Commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Arrington is calling for "transparency and truth" about the "facts that the American people desperately need to know" about the border crisis. According to the Border Report, his mission on this trip was to coordinate with local leaders, including "local law enforcement, landowners, small business owners, and health care providers [a] visit with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials, the Maritime Boundary Line off the coast of Corpus Christi, the McAllen Drug Enforcement Administration district office, visit the border wall, the Port of Entry at Laredo, and the Carrizo Springs Influx Care Facility."
Arrington remarked that there is not enough informational access, nor is there enough physical access to facilities by the press, regarding the "cause and effect" of Biden's policies at "ground zero" on the Texas border. Arrington stated that Biden's immigration policies are creating a "national disaster."
Serving his fourth term in Congress, Babin opened his comments by stating that what they are communicating in the press conference is not "political rhetoric" but rather a discussion of the "absolutely avoidable" consequences of the actions of the Biden administration who reversed the immigration policies that the Trump administration put in place. Babin said that seasoned professionals warned the Biden administration that a reversal of policies like the Migrant Protection Protocols and Title 42 would create the "bad crisis" he is seeing at the Texas border. Specifically, Babin's reference to Title 42 here refers to the removal of individuals who have been exposed to communicable diseases, like Covid.
"Americans are being endangered, our borders are open, and we have Covid being spread into the state of Texas," stated Babin. He added that they found out yesterday that Covid tests are not being performed on the illegal aliens "unless they are showing signs or symptoms of Covid," and then they are being "turned loose into the state of Texas." Ronny Jackson (R-TX) and former medical advisor to President Trump, said the facilities are basically "Covid incubators."
Arrington stated that all you need to do is visit the border towns of Texas to "know that we are burning out of control with absolute chaos because our Commander in Chief...has abandoned the rule of law and the constitution." He stated that Biden is ignoring the safety of law-abiding citizens of the U.S. with his policy changes.
This visit to the border for the Congressmen was markedly different because, according to Arrington, the delegation was "taken off the beaten path where we didn't have the dog and pony shows and PowerPoint presentations" so that they could see the reality of the dangerous journey to the U.S. border.
Gohmert's remarks centered on the horrors of the drug cartels. He explained that nothing about the Biden administration immigration is compassionate. Congressman Michael Burgess (R-TX) said that the Customs and Border Patrol are being significantly "overtaxed" with the burden of the new arrivals. Gohmert added, "this situation is not new but what is new is how bad it has gotten and how fast it has gotten this bad." He is extremely concerned about the overcrowding in the migrant facilities in light of recent warnings by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky of "impending doom."
Burgess, a doctor who is well acquainted with the potential for the spread of disease in the overpacked facilities, highlighted the contradiction between the restrictions being imposed on U.S. citizens, such as social distancing and masks and policies at the border. "These holding facilities were never intended to hold this many people for as long as they are holding them," he said. He emphasized that there must be an interruption of the flow to the border, or we will take "a crisis and turn it into a catastrophe."
Beth Van Duyne, (R-TX) and former Mayor of the city of Irving, TX, expressed her dismay at not being allowed to take pictures or bring the press into facilities like the one in Dallas which is now housing 2,300 thirteen to seventeen-year-old unaccompanied boys—"pod after pod after pod of kids lying on the ground, barely being able to see the floor." Another facility, called the Donna facility, designed for 250 people, now houses 5,700 migrants, she reported. UncoverDC reported on conditions at the Donna facility on March 22.
Former Commissioner Mark Morgan spoke pointedly about what he is seeing at the border. He said that there have been 150,000 apprehensions in the month of March as opposed to 33,000 in March of 2020—a 350 percent increase. "It isn't a seasonal problem," he stated. "The number of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) has surpassed the highest number experienced during the surge in 2019." He says it is directly a result of Biden's policies. Morgan estimates that there will be 1.4 million apprehensions in this calendar year alone—"larger than the entire city of Dallas, TX." He begged Secretary Mayorkas to "please stop lying to the American people...stop telling the American people that our borders are secure. You know it's a lie. Stop saying our borders are closed."
Morgan also reported that "families, UACs, and even enrollees in the Remain in Mexico program are all being released into the interior of the United States. The number released "exceeds 45,000" conservatively, said Morgan. "Don't tell me our borders are closed, he repeated." He estimates that daily there are at least one thousand "got-aways" or criminal aliens, disappearing because 40-50 percent of border agents are being "pulled off the line from their national security mission."
According to Morgan, an exhaustive number of border patrol resources are being used to process families who cartels bring in as a distraction in one area while the same cartels use the distraction to cross an unmonitored border elsewhere. The border patrol is spread thin and simply cannot address all of the gaps in the border. He said it was a total lie that the Trump administration "was in disarray" during the transition, saying that he was still there as Acting Commissioner of CBP.
"So they create this crisis," continued Morgan, "and they're trying to spin and blame everybody but themselves" by saying they weren't notified or the transition wasn't adequate. "I'm telling you that's a lie," Morgan continued, "...We provided exhaustive briefings to the transition team. We specifically told them that if you end the Migrant Protection Program (MPP), Title 42, and the signed cooperative agreements with the Northern Triangle countries you will cause, you will drive an unmitigated crisis that will make 2019 pale in comparison. We told them that again and again. We told them the surge numbers would skyrocket and that the border facilities would be overwhelmed... But they let their ideologic hubris make them ignorant and make them not listen to the very border experts who were telling them that if they did what they have done, we would be exactly where we are today."
Texas Border Patrol/Fox4Texas
During their visit, the delegates met with local landowners with the South Texas Landowners Association. Particularly compelling were the words from a rancher with 8,000 acres of land in Star County bordering a river with Mexico, one of the "strongholds of the cartels." He said he "hears all about the activity with the cartels in Mexico" because of his proximity to the border. He has had armed intrusions and fires set on his property as diversions to apprehension. "We do have a crisis," the rancher stated, "...It is critical, it is bad, and it is the truth."
The rancher also mentioned that the aerostat installed on his property is an example of the ones the Biden administration is threatening to eliminate. Aerostats employ radar that "detects and tracks a majority of suspicious air traffic along the southwest border, including ultralight and short landing aircraft threats. DHS requires this unique TARS capability in areas beyond the southwest border, including the Gulf of Mexico, southern Atlantic and Pacific coastlines and extended regions throughout the Caribbean used by transnational criminal organizations for illicit smuggling of narcotics and people." He reported that the aerostats have substantially curtailed illegal activity on his property. "Please listen to us," he continued, "We need every help we can get."
Tethered Aerostat/U.S. Customs and Border Control
Tom Homan talked about what happens to the illegal immigrants after they leave the border facilities. He spent three decades fighting surges at the border and, in his words, "investigating criminal cartels who smuggle people." Homan explained that the reality is that once illegal aliens are released, they "aren't leaving," and the U.S. will become a sanctuary country. He explained that nine out of ten Central Americans who claim asylum at the border do not qualify. Less than three percent actually leave the U.S. President Trump advocated sending them to Mexico to await their court date with his Remain in Mexico protocol.
Homan, who was fired from the Homeland Security Advisory Council by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas last week with 31 others, said that the illegal immigrants are being released more quickly and then transported to cities within the U.S. Homan believes that they are moving people quickly to the interior to avoid being perceived as creating a crisis at the border. He said that "this administration has no intention of enforcing the law. ICE has been gutted...and is no longer removing fugitives of immigration law." Homan added, "This is by design. This isn't incompetence...Remember Biden was Vice President during the 2014-2015 surge they are talking about and Mayorkas was Deputy Secretary. They know what causes surges. They know how to stop them. They know how to fix this. I was there. They are doing the complete opposite."
Homan denounced Biden's immigration stance, asserting that there is "no downside to a secure border. There is no downside in 31 percent of women not being raped. There is no downside in children not dying. There is no downside in children not being put in the arms of criminal cartels. There is no downside in less [sic] illegal narcotics coming across our borders. So explain to me why this administration refuses to enforce the law. There's one reason: This is an open borders agenda. This is their plan and it's happening in front of your eyes today."