'They Can Fix It, But Don’t Want to’: GOP Lawmaker Says Dems ‘Own’ Border Crisis as Midterms Loom
13:52 GMT 18.04.2022 (Updated: 14:08 GMT 18.04.2022)
US Customs and Border Protection has reported on the arrest of nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants in 2021, with daily migrant encounters currently topping of over 7,100 people on average. On 1 April, authorities announced plans to end expulsions under Title 42 – one of the last hardline Trump-era border control policies still in place.
Democrats can’t escape their responsibility for the ongoing crisis along the US southern border with Mexico, and should recognise that they “own” the policy disaster ahead of the November midterm elections, Texas Republican congressman Michael McCaul has said.
“This issue was fixed. In the prior administration I worked with President Trump’s team to get the [Remain in Mexico] Migrant Protection Protocols in place…It worked, and it was stopping – look if you have a legitimate political asylum claim, you can get in, but about 85 percent, as you know do not. And while they remained in Mexico, it stopped them from coming in. Then once they get in it’s ‘catch and release’ all over again,” McCaul said
in an interview with Fox News.
The Biden administration rescinded these policies “from day one, they own this. And in terms of the midterm elections they do own it. They can fix it, but they don’t want to,” McCaul suggested.
The White House launched a revamped and dramatically scaled down version
of Remain in Mexico in December 2021, fast-tracking asylum hearings and reducing the number of asylum seekers made to wait south of the border.
“You have estimates of 2-3 million that have come in under this administration. When Title 42 is gonna be suspended in May, they’re projecting 500,000 illegals coming in in five weeks…You cannot sustain this. Not to mention that fentanyl’s coming in. We’ve seized enough [of the drug] to kill the entire population at the border seven times over. It’s killing our kids, not to mention the criminals coming in and the human trafficking phenomenon. This is probably the biggest human trafficking event of our lifetime, and it didn’t have to happen. That’s the saddest thing about the whole situation,” the congressman said.
McCaul stressed that while his state, Texas, is being hit particularly hard by the crisis, it’s not just the border states that are affected.
“I would argue that every state is a border state because they’re not just staying in Texas. They’re moving on to other states and every state in the country is gonna have to deal with this problem,” he said.
On 1 April, the Department of Homeland Security and the US Centers for Disease Control announced that Title 42 would be scrapped on 23 May. The Trump-era policy allowed border officials to expel over 80 percent of immigrants caught trying to enter the country illegally under the pretext of Covid-related health concerns.
Title 42 was one of the final hardline immigration policies left in place by the Biden administration after he stepped into office. Nearly a dozen other Trump-era federal directives including the Republican’s signature ‘border wall’ and the ‘Remain in Mexico’ programme were repealed by Biden in January 2021. These decisions, combined with Biden’s promises to “restore and expand” the US asylum system and to potentially provide a path to citizenship for the 11+ million undocumented immigrants already residing in the US, have sparked a historically unprecedented increase in the number of people from Central and South America and the Caribbean attempting to enter the US via the southern border with Mexico.