Immigration Crisis: Texas Congressmen Urge Biden, Harris to Visit Southern Border

Dozens of asylum-seeking migrants from Central America walk north before surrendering to the U.S. Border Patrol after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States from Mexico in La Joya, Texas, May 7, 2021. (Adrees Latif/Reuters)

A group of bipartisan lawmakers from Texas is urging President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to visit the U.S.-Mexico border amid a surge in border crossings.

Republican Senator John Cornyn, Republican Representative Tony Gonzales and Democratic Representative Henry Cuellar penned an essay in the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday voicing concern that the U.S. is on track to receive “the highest number of total yearly border crossings in two decades.”

The group notes nearly 930,000 migrants including “almost 80,000 unaccompanied children” have illegally crossed the border into America in the past 8 months.

“The momentum for this crisis has been building for months, but no significant action has been taken to address it.” the essay reads. “The president and vice president have yet to even visit the border.”

The lawmakers took issue with Harris for saying  “she is interested in doing work that leads to real results as opposed to ‘grand gestures.’” 

“We agree, which is why we’ve spent significant time meeting with officials in Texas who are on the front lines of this humanitarian crisis,” the group wrote.

They said they had seen the effects of the cartels and criminal organizations abusing the U.S. immigration system.

The group warned that without a “transition plan, the administration will invite a complete and immediate overload of the system,” adding that “Border Patrol agents are already spread thin” as a result of the border crisis.

“They lack the facilities and resources to fairly and humanely process the current influx of migrants, let alone many tens of thousands more every month,” the group wrote. “As the administration considers the best path forward, there has never been a more important time to hear from the men and women who live and work in border communities and have for decades.

“Our message to President Biden and Vice President Harris is: Come to Texas. Visit the border. Listen to locals,” they said. “Take a look at our bipartisan bill. And let’s address this humanitarian crisis together.”

Earlier this month, Harris deflected questions about why she has not yet visited the southern border after being tasked with handling the “root causes” of migration, saying “we’ve been to the border.”

“I – at some point – you know – we are going to the border. We’ve been to the border,” Harris said. “So this whole – this whole – this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.”

NBC’s Lester Holt pushed back, noting Harris had not been to the border herself while in office.

“I – and I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t – I don’t understand the point that you’re making,” Harris said, adding “I’m not discounting the importance of the border.” 

“Listen, I care about what’s happening at the border,” Harris said, adding that her “focus is dealing with the root causes of migration.” 

“There may be some who think that that is not important, but it is my firm belief that if we care about what’s happening at the border, we better care about the root causes and address them,” she said. “And so that’s what I’m doing.”

Though Harris traveled to Central America earlier this month to work on the “root causes of migration,” she has gone 90 days without visiting the border since being named border czar.

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