Last week, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) joined U.S. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and other members of Congress in a delegation to the U.S.-Mexico border near McAllen, Texas, and the surrounding area. After returning from his trip to the border, Rep. Davis reflected on what he saw and learned:
“Last week, I joined House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and other colleagues in Congress to meet with law enforcement personnel from both Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Texas Highway Patrol to see the border crisis firsthand. From what I learned and saw, this crisis is the direct result of rhetoric and policy changes coming out of the Biden Administration. Since taking office, President Biden has issued executive actions on immigration, such as temporarily halting deportations, and reversed immigration actions taken by President Trump that were designed to discourage immigrants from entering our country illegally. At the same time, Democrats in Congress pushed an immigration bill that would allow for citizenship for immigrants who entered the country illegally at any point prior to January of this year. Even one Biden advisor admitted their immigration policy ‘may have driven’ the migrant surge at the border and encouraged ‘smugglers.’
“Our southern border has seen an out-of-control surge of migrants in recent weeks, overwhelming migrant holding facilities. In one case, a CBP facility is holding at 1600% of its holding capacity. In February alone, nearly 100,000 illegal immigrants were detained by law enforcement. In March, that number was 172,000, including nearly 19,000 unaccompanied teens and children. CBP and Texas state troopers have had to redirect some of their focus to operating and maintaining migrant holding facilities instead of engaging in their typical border protection efforts of combating drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other criminal activities of drug cartels and other criminal organizations. This puts our national security at risk.
“What is unfolding at the border is both a humanitarian crisis and a national security crisis. The migrants making the dangerous journey from central America to our southern border face terrible conditions and are often taken advantage of by smugglers and cartels along the way. In some cases, migrants have faced sexual abuse and even death. State and federal law enforcement stationed on the southern border have an incredibly tough and dangerous job, now more than ever. We need to support them in their work and give them the resources they need to do their job.
“We also need to take immediate immigration action at the federal level, and that must start with President Biden reversing some of his immigration policy actions. In the past, I’ve supported several iterations of immigration reform, but the reality is we cannot reform and modernize our immigration system without first getting the current border crisis under control, fully securing every mile of our borders, and discouraging unlawful entry into our country.”
You can watch Rep. Davis's remarks from a post-trip press conference here.