15:14 GMT15 April 2021
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    Republican lawmakers have been directly linking the southern border crisis to the Biden administration's policies, including the termination of the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as "Remain-in-Mexico", which held migrants in Mexico for their admission trials.

    US Republican Senator Ted Cruz characterized what he and his fellow lawmakers saw during the trip to the southern US-Mexico border while visiting a migrant sheltering facility in Donna, Texas as "a humanitarian disaster", putting the blame on President Joe Biden.

    "You had children side-by-side lying on the floor, no beds, cots, lying on the floor, covered up in emergency reflective blankets and 10% of the population there is testing positive for COVID," Cruz said in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday. "It is a humanitarian disaster and crisis and it is manmade. Joe Biden caused this with political decisions made in the opening weeks of this administration."

    On Friday Cruz shared the photos taken at the facility on his social media, depicting the overcrowded rooms.

    ​Cruz went on describing himself and other senators joining Border Patrol agents on midnight patrol, during which they saw "just a stream of illegal immigrants coming into this country."

    "Caravans walking up the trails that go north from the Rio Grande River into outdoor holding pens where the Customs and Border Patrol was processing them," Cruz said.

    The Republican senator noted that the purpose of the trip was to show the lawmakers' appreciation of the US Border Patrol agents, which are "not getting support from the Biden administration."

    Cruz along with fellow Senator John Cornyn of Texas led a 19-member delegation to a facility in Donna, Texas where migrants have been crowded into facilities built for far fewer people. At a press conference held during the visit, the senators said that the facility, which was built to hold 250 migrants, now holds nearly 4,000.

    "Donna is a gigantic tent city that they built to handle this massive crisis, this massive surge of illegal immigration," Cruz stated. "They are not six feet apart or three feet apart, they're not even six inches apart."

    ​The Migrant Crisis at the Southern Border

    Despite a significant influx of illegal migrants crossing the US border over the past two months, the Biden administration refuses to call the situation a "crisis", however, it has noted the increased workload on border services and the "overwhelming" number of arriving migrants, including unaccompanied children.

    During his first official presser, President Biden downplayed the significance of the border issue, saying that "it happens every single solitary year."

    Migrants crowd a room with walls of plastic sheeting at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporary processing center in Donna, Texas, U.S. in a recent photograph released March 22, 2021
    © REUTERS / Office of Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28)/Handout
    "There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March," Biden said on Thursday.

    Nevertheless, the Biden administration has issued a warning against coming to the US southern border, where migrant arrests are at an all-time high.

    In his turn, former President Trump said on Saturday that he will most likely visit the border in the coming weeks. Trump urged Biden to finish the border wall, warning that if the "Remain-in-Mexico" policy is not reinstated, millions of migrants will flood into the US, "destroying the world."

    According to estimates, around 100,000 illegal migrants attempted to cross the border into the US from Mexico in February, compared to just 36,000 in the same month last year. 

    Data from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows 9,457 unaccompanied migrant children were apprehended at the southern border in February, which is a substantial increase from the 5,858 unaccompanied migrant children apprehended in January.

    The US Border Patrol believes that this month, the number of unaccompanied children placed into custody will exceed 16,000, marking a record since at least 2010. In April, between 18,600 and 22,000 children could cross the border, while the US government estimates for May are between 21,800 and 25,000 unaccompanied minors.

    According to US media reports, there are currently over 18,000 unaccompanied migrant children in US custody, over 5,000 of them are being held at CBP facilities not designed for long-term housing.


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