Davis Reflects on Recent U.S.-Mexico Border Visit with Congressional Delegation
During the visit, Davis and other members of Congress met with law enforcement personnel to learn about the border crisis and see it firsthand
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 or by clicking the image below.
You can watch video of the overcrowded CBP's Donna Processing Center here or by clicking the image below. Donna has the capacity to hold 250 migrants, but currently, more than 4,000 migrants are being held there.
Upon taking office, President Biden terminated the Migrant Protection Protocols, asylum agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, and re-instituted Obama-era “catch and release” programs, where immigrants claiming asylum are detained, processed, and eventually released into the United States until their asylum claim can be adjudicated. The President also issued an executive order temporarily halting deportations for many immigrants who enter the country illegally, although that policy action was stayed by a federal court. President Biden also halted border wall construction. These Trump-era policies were eliminated with no new policies with similar goals ready to replace them.
CBP is currently encountering more than 3,000 individuals per day. From January to February, the number of family units crossing the border has risen by over 163%, surging to nearly 20,000. In February of this year, over 100,000 illegal immigrants were detained — nearly three times the apprehensions during the same period of time last year. In March, that number was 172,000, including nearly 19,000 unaccompanied teens and children.
From the Washington Post article titled, “Border agents took 172,331 into custody in March, statistics show”:
“President Biden last month described the surging numbers as consistent with historic seasonal trends, but the last time the U.S. Border Patrol made more arrests was March 2001.
…CBP records show the soaring number of crossings tallied since Biden took office has no recent comparison. CBP recorded 78,442 arrests and detentions in January, and the nearly 100,000 raw increase since then is the busiest two-month span in 20 years.”
“Biden officials have acknowledged they are no longer turning back the majority of families that enter without authorization, citing capacity limits in Mexico. About 33 percent of families were expelled under the Title 42 order in March, officials said.”
You can find pictures from Rep. Davis's visit below.
Reps. Davis and Devin Nunes of California talk with a CBP official about the situation at the border.
Rep. Davis and other members of Congress talk with a Texas state trooper about the Texas Highway Patrol's border security mission.
An unfinished section of the border wall near Mission, Texas. President Biden has halted construction of the border wall. CBP officials have said the border wall helps slow border crossings and assists them with their border security mission.