House Republicans criticized President Joe Biden for failing to acknowledge the crisis on the southern border after they visited immigration facilities on Monday.
The Republican delegation, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), surveyed multiple immigration facilities on the border in New Mexico and Texas. Rep. August Pfluger (R., Texas), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, blasted the administration’s response after speaking to immigration officials. He said the conditions on the ground are deteriorating and potentially undermining national security.
"It’s such a shame that the Biden administration won’t call it a crisis … but they’re signaling it [is a crisis] with all the resources that they’re putting into it," Pfluger told the Washington Free Beacon. "Anybody who cares about the security of this country should be doing something, regardless of partisan lines."
In the first two months of the Biden presidency, thousands of aliens have attempted to illegally enter the United States, including unaccompanied minors and families. The Biden administration has revoked Trump-era immigration policies, including the "remain in Mexico" policy that made asylum-seekers wait in Mexico before their immigration hearing. Biden also revoked proposed worker protections that would prevent illegal immigrants with deportation orders from gaining legal employment.
Pfluger said the immigration crisis is making Americans less safe. Sparse resources for border patrol authorities have left holes in border security for human traffickers and other dangerous criminals to exploit. McCarthy said border officials told him they have already detained illegal entrants on federal terror watchlists.
"The number one job of the president is to keep the citizens of this country safe," Pfluger said. "The secretary of state has come out and said that we will be judged on our progress on keeping Americans safe and secure…. You have to ask yourself, are we meeting that metric? I don’t think so."
"There are people who would do bad things in this country and they are incentivized by the lack of strong policy and rhetoric to keep the border and this country safe," Pfluger added.
The White House referred the Free Beacon to comments Department of Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made Tuesday, which offered several policy solutions for the influx at the border but neglected to call the situation a crisis.
"The situation we are currently facing at the southwest border is a difficult one," Mayorkas said. "We are tackling it. We are keeping our borders secure, enforcing our laws, and staying true to our values and principles. We can do so because of the incredible talent and unwavering dedication of our workforce."
Mark Morgan, the former acting ICE director and a Heritage Foundation fellow, told the Free Beacon that Biden’s crisis was completely avoidable. Morgan said he briefed members of the Biden transition team about the ongoing situation at the border, and his recommendations were met with little interest or attention.
"We warned them not only with our words but also with extensive briefings with the transition team. We gave them the facts, the data, the historical analysis, and we told them: If you do what you are saying you are going to do, you are going to create a crisis," Morgan said. "And they ignored it and did it anyway…. It’s a joke."
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R., Tenn.), the ranking member overseeing homeland security appropriations, said the aversion to calling the situation a crisis is costing American taxpayers. He said an inability to conduct en masse coronavirus testing, limited resources for border security, and ongoing humanitarian problems have led to a disaster on multiple levels.
"This is a crisis on multiple levels. It’s a humanitarian crisis, a national security crisis, and a coronavirus crisis," Fleischmann said. "It’s unfathomable.... I don’t know what the Biden administration is thinking. They’re either oblivious or they just want it to happen."