House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has urged President Joe Biden to deploy the National Guard to help deal with the illegal immigrant surge along the southern border, insisting the situation is a national security crisis and blaming the Biden administration for a “failed response.”
McCarthy made the remarks in a Sept. 17 statement that came as thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly from Haiti, were congregating under the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas while they await processing by Border Patrol.
“The Biden Administration must recognize this for what it is: A National Security Crisis. As such he must fully deploy the National Guard to the southern border to help our Border Patrol agents with more resources to control the situation,” the Republican leader said.
“Recently, over 10,000 migrants have surged to the border in Del Rio. It is no coincidence this is happening as Democrats in Congress are moving to pass legislation that would grant immediate citizenship for up to 10 million illegal immigrants. This is a wakeup call to Democrats that their policies are putting American lives in danger and must be abandoned,” McCarthy said.
The number of individuals gathering at the Del Rio bridge has skyrocketed in less than a week, to around 9,000 by Sept. 16 from only a couple of hundred on Sept. 9, according to Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez.
Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano confirmed that another 20,000 are on their way.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who traveled to the border on Sept. 16, called the scenes at the Del Rio bridge “the most horrific thing I’ve ever seen.”
“There are right now, as we’re speaking, there are 10,503 people under that bridge. It is packed in as a mass of humanity,” Cruz said. “They take your breath away because it just goes on and on and on—infants, little children, people struggling enormously.”
This is a manmade disaster. And it is a direct result of Joe Biden’s political decisions. pic.twitter.com/gLUFq4LTjw
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) September 17, 2021
Cruz, too, blamed the Biden administration for the situation and called for deportation flights to Haiti to resume.
“It’s a political decision that Joe Biden could end tonight by simply following the law and saying we’re going to send people back to Haiti, which is what federal immigration law requires,” Cruz said.
The Biden administration paused deportation flights to Haiti after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake devastated the country on Aug. 14. While there has been media speculation that the Biden administration was working on plans to start deporting people back to Haiti, those reports remain without official confirmation. The Associated Press cited anonymous administration officials as saying that deportation flights were to resume this week, while NBC News cited internal documents to that effect.
More than 50 Democratic lawmakers urged Biden in a Sept. 16 letter (pdf) to extend the deportation pause indefinitely “for noncitizens who pose no threats to public safety or national security.”
The mayor of Del Rio said it’s not clear who the illegal immigrants are and that he is concerned about security.
“I’m deeply frustrated. The thing that I worry about is a stampede. The thing I worry about is terrorism,” Lozano said. “We don’t really know who they are.”
The United States recorded more than 208,000 illegal immigrant arrests at the border in August, one of the highest months on record. Under the Biden administration, the country is on pace to set records for the highest number of fiscal year and calendar year encounters.
Charlotte Cuthbertson and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.