08:24 GMT11 April 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Senate GOP leaders asked their Democratic counterparts, who hold a majority, to hold hearings on the surge in illegal immigrants crossing the US southern border, a letter from Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson to Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durban and subcommittee Chairman Alex Padilla said on Wednesday.

    “While we may not agree on the causes of or the solutions to this crisis, we believe it is vitally important for the Senate Judiciary Committee to exercise its oversight authority and seek testimony from [Health] Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas and relevant officials at US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Health and Human Services regarding the situation at the border and the Biden Administration’s response to it," the letter said

    Images released in recent days show thousands of children lying side by side with mylar blankets that cover the floors of makeshift detention facilities set up after President Joe Biden eliminated border control measures imposed during a similar crisis in 2019.

    Most of those detained appear to be male adolescents who crossed into the United States without parents or adult guardians.

    “Our recent visit to the Rio Grande Valley Sector of the southern border only served to reaffirm our view that the situation has gotten exponentially worse in the last three months, becoming a crisis, and that the Judiciary Committee should hold hearings on this topic," the letter said.

    At the present rate, US border officials anticipate encountering more than 1 million migrants border-crossers this year, similar to the 2019 crisis that featured waves of migrant caravans from Central America.

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