13:52 GMT24 July 2021
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    A number of Republican lawmakers visited the US-Mexico border on 30 June, as former President Donald Trump and Texas Governor Greg Abbott also travelled to the area amid simmering tensions over the overwhelming migrant influx.

    Republicans have warned that the US currently has no “operational control” of the border, as they tore into the Biden administration for its handling of the migrant crisis.

    "We have no operational control, no legal control, no law enforcement control of our border. We are not enforcing our laws, we are not preventing people. This is willful and intentional on the part of this administration to facilitate the illegal entry into our country of tens of thousands, 180,000 in [the] month of May…some 700,000 this year, of the ones we’ve apprehended," Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., said in an interview with Fox News.

    Good and a number of other Republicans described how during their visit to McAllen, Texas, on 30 June, they witnessed migrants streaming into the country and being put on flights to other states.

    The visit by lawmakers from the Republican Study Committee had coincided with a trip there by former President Donald Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

    ‘No Prevention at the Border’

    According to the group of 20 Republicans, who visited the border itself at around midnight, migrants were coming entering and deliberately turning themselves over to the Border Patrol.

    "We saw hundreds coming through in just a short time, we were there at about midnight and just saw many many folks coming across the border, many illegals streaming across," said Bob Good.

    The Republican Virginia Representative voiced concerns over how many illegal arrivals were managing to dodge past Border Patrol, among them gang members and child sex offenders.

    "The crafty, the most cunning, most dangerous ones are trying to evade apprehension and they’re estimating tens of thousands of those on a monthly basis as well, and all of it controlled…by the Mexican crime cartels who are making hundreds of millions of dollars a month off of this," he said.

    At the end of the visit, Good said that his flight to Dallas International Airport had many illegal immigrants holding manila folders believed to contain a DHS "Notice to Appear" in court.

    Migrants from Venezuela await transportation to a U.S. border patrol facility after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in Del Rio, Texas, U.S., May 11, 2021
    © REUTERS / STRINGER
    Migrants from Venezuela await transportation to a U.S. border patrol facility after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in Del Rio, Texas, U.S., May 11, 2021

    As he emphasised that many of the notices do not contain court dates, which are "to be determined" (TBD) later, Good added that at least a third of the people on his flight were illegal aliens who would somehow have to be reached subsequently to be summoned to court.

    The response from officials has been to claim that the TBD is due to the fact the Department of Justice is currently not conducting non-detained immigration hearings. The latter are scheduled to resume in July.

    Over 60,000 migrants have been released into the US at a local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office or placed on flights taking them to other states with a notice to appear in court.

    Good recalled the words of some officials claiming the border was not open. Vice President Kamala Harris recently urged would-be migrants in Guatemala not to try to enter the United States illegally, saying "Do not come. The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our borders.". Harris was speaking on her first overseas trip since taking office.

    Rep. Good says that message isn’t being heard by the migrants continuing to arrive.

    "The memo has not been received by these illegal aliens who continue to stream across because there is no prevention there at the border we can see. It’s just accommodating them once they get across."

    ‘Incompetent’ Border Policy

    On 30 June, ex-President Donald Trump visited the US-Mexico border together with Texan Governor Greg Abbott. He applauded the governor's bid to complete the "unfinished" border wall that had been his ‘pet project’.

    Former President Donald Trump, left, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, right, visit an unfinished section of border wall, in Pharr, Texas, Wednesday, June 30, 2021
    © AP Photo / Eric Gay
    Former President Donald Trump, left, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, right, visit an unfinished section of border wall, in Pharr, Texas, Wednesday, June 30, 2021

    Approximately 400 miles of the large steel wall structure had reportedly been put up by Trump, who had made border security a top priority. One of Joe Biden’s first executive orders had been to freeze construction of the wall.
    During his border trip Trump blasted the Democratic President and his VP Kamala Harris' "incompetence" over ignoring the unfolding crisis at the US southern frontier:

    “I mean the real question is do they really want open borders or are they incompetent?” the ex-president asked.

    Vice President Kamala Harris, who was tasked by the POTUS to lead diplomatic efforts to stem the flow of migrants arriving on the southern border, recently finally paid a visit to the border. However, her tour of a government facility in Texas border town of El Paso failed to ease simmering tensions.

    Harris came under heavy criticism over her choice of El Paso from both Democratic and Republican observers, who denounced her "politically safe trip" and the fact she had not visited the region sooner.

    The Rio Grande Valley region in south Texas, struggling to contain an influx of hundreds of thousands of asylum-seeking migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico, would have been a better destination for the VP’s trip, claimed critics.

    © REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEIN
    U.S. Vice President Harris visits El Paso, Texas

    Republicans have been ripping into the Biden administration over its handling of the migrant crisis at the border, which they believe was unleashed after a rollback of Trump-era policies.

    Besides freezing construction of Donald Trump's wall, Biden also halted the 'Remain in Mexico' policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico until their court dates in the United States.

    In response, Joe Biden’s White House team said it was focusing on the "root causes" of the crisis, like poverty, climate change and violence in Central America.

    US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data revealed earlier this month that the number of asylum-seeking migrants apprehended along the southern border with Mexico in May set another record, reaching a new 21-year monthly high of 180,034.

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    Tags:
    US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Mexico, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Greg Abbott, Joe Biden, Donald Trump, US-Mexico Border, US-Mexico border, US Border Patrol, US border
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