House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) again requested talks with President Joe Biden over the administration’s handling of the surge in illegal aliens at the U.S.–Mexico border.
McCarthy said he has not heard back from the administration after he sent Biden a letter about two weeks ago asking for a meeting over the border crisis. In a second letter to the president on Thursday, McCarthy said the border situation has “only continued to deteriorate.”
“Securing our border should not be a partisan issue. The most basic function of government is to keep our citizens safe,'” McCarthy wrote in his letter, accusing the Biden administration of failing to fulfil its responsibility to the American people and not having a coordinated approach to stem the flow of illegal aliens.
At least 13,000 migrant children are being held in custody at federal facilities, one of which is reportedly 729 percent over capacity, McCarthy wrote. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said on March 16 that the country looks like it could face a surge that’s not been seen since the past two decades, the House minority leader noted in the letter.
Earlier this week, McCarthy led a congressional delegation to Texas and observed that the El Paso Processing Center, which is equipped to handle more than 1,000 migrants at a time, is now beyond capacity. Some 120 border agents at the same processing center were reassigned from their regular patrol to take care of the “unprecedented number” of migrant children at the facility, McCarthy wrote.
“The overcrowding is exacerbating the crisis and creating even more security vulnerabilities at our border,” he added.
McCarthy outlined five policy recommendations from House Republicans to stem the border crisis. They include restarting the halted border wall construction, sending a clear message to illegal immigrants that they won’t gain anything from crossing the border illegally, and creating a “robust” COVID-19 testing program for detained illegal aliens.
House Republicans also recommended that Biden bring back the “Remain-in-Mexico” program; the Trump-era policy sends migrants back to Mexico while they wait for a court to process their asylum claims. Biden, upon taking office, had suspended the program and reinstated “catch-and-release,” a process whereby illegal aliens are released directly into the United States while awaiting the courts.
The final recommendation to the administration is to maintain Title 42 authorities so that illegal aliens can be removed shortly after they cross the border amid the pandemic.
On Thursday morning, Mayorkas announced on CBS News a message for immigrants seeking to settle in the United States, “It is not safe to take the journey, it is not safe in a time of pandemic to arrive at the border. Families and single adults are being expelled. Let us rebuild, if I may, a safe, orderly way for you to apply for humanitarian relief under the laws of our country. That is who we are.”
Separately, Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and eight other members of the House Judiciary Committee issued a letter demanding that Democrats hold a hearing on the border crisis.
“Because of the Biden Administration’s immigration policies that have caused a surge of alien encounters along the U.S. southern border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now has to divert its resources away from its priority missions and law enforcement duties to secure the border and instead process illegal aliens,” Biggs and Jordan wrote in the letter addressed to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), head of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.
The White House and Rep. Jackson Lee did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.