In a video statement filmed in front of his childhood home in South Texas, Cuellar, a frequent critic of President Joe Biden, said he was “fully cooperating with law enforcement.” He didn’t shed light on why he was under investigation.
“There is an ongoing investigation that will show that there was no wrongdoing on my part,” Cuellar said. “As an attorney, I know firsthand that the legal system is the pillar of our democracy. I pride myself on being your congressman and always doing things honestly, ethically and the right way.”
FBI agents were seen at his home and campaign office on Jan. 19. Photographs shared by local reporters showed agents at Cuellar’s residence in Laredo removing bags, bins, and at least one computer.
The FBI said at the time in a statement to media outlets that the bureau “was present in Laredo conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity,” without elaborating.
Cuellar, 66, has represented Texas’s 28th Congressional District since 2005. The district includes land that touches the U.S.–Mexico border.
He faces a primary on March 1 against Democratic challenger Jessica Cisneros. Cueller beat Cisneros in the previous primary by about 2,700 votes.
“This is my home, my community, and why I got into politics,” Cuellar said in his video statement.
“Nothing can distract me from being laser-focused on getting the job done for you and for South Texas, the way I always have. Let me be clear: I’m running for reelection and I intend to win,” he added.
Considered to be a moderate, Cuellar has been a frequent critic of Biden’s lax immigration enforcement policies, which experts say have contributed to the explosion in illegal immigration recorded since Biden took office one year ago.
Under the Democratic president, the most illegal immigrant apprehensions at the southwest border were recorded for both a fiscal year and a calendar year.
Shortly after being sworn into office, Biden halted construction of the border wall, curbed the use of pandemic-era expulsion powers, and directed officials to end the “Remain in Mexico” program, which forced many asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their claims to be heard.
Some of the administration’s moves have been blocked or reversed by courts, but December 2021 arrests were higher than the month before, according to preliminary figures provided in court documents by the Customs and Border Protection agency.
Cuellar said he will continue to represent the Congressional District of Texas.
“It is the honor of my life to represent you in Congress. And together, we will win this election,” he said. “Thank you. And God bless.”
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.