Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) criticized sanctuary cities and argued Mexico can do more to help the United States address the influx of migrants from Central America across the southern border during an appearance on Fox News's Your World With Neil Cavuto on Wednesday.
"Once illegal aliens cross into our country and they fade into the shadows, we have major metropolitan areas that are giving them sanctuary. They are telling their local law enforcement officers not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, even when those illegal aliens commit crimes. Even the Democrats say that they want to crack down on illegal aliens who are criminals, yet we can't do that if they are being released from city and county jails without turning them over to the immigration authorities," Cotton said.
Cotton cited as example what happened when two MS-13 members were recently released from custody.
"Just up the road a few weeks ago, we had a terrible tragedy where two MS-13 members were released from local custody, they weren't handed over to federal immigration authorities, and they beat a young 14-year-old girl to death. That would not happen if we didn't have this problem with illegal immigration, and especially if we didn't have sanctuary cities," Cotton continued.
Cotton also argued Mexico could take action to help mitigate the crisis at the southern border.
"We just learned in May that over 130,000 illegal aliens crossed our border, many of them not running away from border patrol agents but running to border patrol agents making bogus fraudulent claims of asylum. Many of them come from Central America. They've got to cross over a thousand miles of Mexican territory before they get to our border, that's in addition after they cross over Mexico's very small southern border. So the numbers belie the Mexican government's claim that they can't do more to help the United States with this crisis that is also a humanitarian crisis that we face at our southern border," Cotton said.
In April, a panel of experts organized by the Department of Homeland Security said the border is in a crisis that demands congressional action. In March, former Department of Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson called the situation at the border a "crisis."
The border has witnessed an increase in families and unaccompanied children trying to cross the border, while drug seizures at the border have also increased over the past decade.
Last week, President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexico if the country does not do more to limit immigration, with the first round of tariffs set to come into effect on June 10. U.S. and Mexican officials failed to reach an agreement on immigration issues on Wednesday.