Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), whose district shares a border with Mexico, said the large number of migrants coming to the U.S-Mexico border are listening to smugglers’ or family members ’ over the Biden administration’s “Don’t come now, come later” messaging.
Illegal border crossings along the southern border hit 100,411 in February, according to recently released figures, including nearly 9,500 unaccompanied minors.
The Texas congressman said the administration has to do something to stem the “pipeline” of illegal immigrants coming to the border, and that won’t happen until they send a “solid” message down to Central America.
“There are three messages … One message from the White House—’don’t come now, come later.’ Message number two from the family members and neighbors—‘Hey, Pedro, ya pasamos. We’re able to come. Come over right now,’” Cuellar told CNN on Thursday.
“Message number three is from the criminal organizations—‘Hey, I can get you across. Pay me a little bit of money.’ And they are going to listen to message number two and three. Quite honestly, that is what’s happening until we have a solid message that we can send down to Central America.”
Cuellar then warned that the number of illegal immigrants entering the country will continue to increase.
Although the Biden administration has refused to use the word crisis to describe the influx of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas sent an email requesting emergency volunteers to help curb the number of illegal immigrants entering the country.
“Today, I activated the Volunteer Force to support Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as they face a surge in migration along the Southwest Border,” Mayorkas said in an email to staff, according to Fox News.
“In 2019, over 900 volunteers deployed to support their CBP colleagues during a similar migration surge,” Mayorkas said. “Please consider joining the Volunteer Force to again provide needed humanitarian support along the Southwest Border and relief for our CBP colleagues.”
Under the Trump administration, Border Patrol agents encountered what was a near-record low of 17,106 illegal immigrants in April 2020. Every month since then, the number of encounters has gone up.
President Joe Biden’s reversal of a number of immigration orders imposed by former President Donald Trump, such as one requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims were being adjudicated in U.S. courts, has been blamed by critics for the surge this year.