House GOP leaders visit border amid concerns of immigration surge

Washington D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON, DC (NEXSTAR) — House Republicans toured the U.S. southern border in Texas Monday amid a surge in the number of migrants, especially unaccompanied children, showing up there.

The GOP congressional delegation blamed one person for the increase.

“There’s no other way to claim it than a Biden border crisis,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA.

McCarthy stressed border patrol agents are catching hundreds of people a night not only from Central America but also countries like Iran, Yemen and Sri Lanka.

“President Biden and his minions created an environment causing this surge,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-TN.

The delegation worried about a rise in drug and child trafficking, and the spread of COVID-19 in shelters.

“You gave control of our border to the cartels,” said Rep. Clay Higgins, R-LA.

Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-TX, called on the Biden administration to work with them.

“Border security and legal immigration go hand in hand,” Gonzales said.

The Department of Homeland Security announced over the weekend that FEMA will help process the high levels of unaccompanied migrant children over the next 90 days.

“We recognize this is a big problem,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during Monday’s briefing. “The last administration left us a dismantled and unworkable system.”

Psaki said FEMA will help ensure migrants have access to medical care and shelters, and place them with vetted families.

“This is one of the steps that the president felt would help not become a final solution but help expedite processing,” she said.

Psaki said the White House is still sending a strong message.

“Now is not the time to come,” she said. “But also, we want to ensure that people are treated with humanity.”

During a virtual press conference following the GOP visit, Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-TX, criticized her colleagues for distracting from the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and using her community as a prop.

“My urgency right now is that we rebuild the infrastructure to be able to humanely process the children especially,” Escobar said.

The House plans to vote on two immigration bills later this week that would establish a pathway to citizenship for certain migrants.

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