Texas Congressional Leaders React After Visiting Border Crisis Epicenter
HOUSTON, Texas—House Homeland Security Chairman, Congressman Mike McCaul (R-TX) said American military bases are being turned in to refugee camps. Unaccompanied minors who have been crossing the border in record numbers for months are being warehoused at military bases across the country.
“I never thought I’d see this in the United States of America,” McCaul said during a Homeland Security Committee field hearing he conducted in McAllen, Texas on Thursday. The children are being housed in military facilities like Lackland AFB, near San Antonio and others nationwide. McCaul claimed the Obama Administration is not prepared to deal with this influx of children, according to a report by FoxNews. McCaul went on to state, “This has left state and local officials to fill the void.”
Describing the journey faced by many of the children who wind up crossing the border and surrendering to Border Patrol agents, McCaul said, “These children are often subjected to beatings, starvation, sexual assault and are at risk of being trafficked."
Other Texas congressional leaders have been visiting the border region as well. Congressman Blake Farenthod (R-TX) who serves a district that includes Corpus Christi placed the blame for the problem squarely in the hands of President Obama. “He telegraphed a message that if you’re a kid, you’re gonna get to stay,” Farenthold explained in an interview with Roll Call. He also said “instant deportation” is not an answer to the problem.
During his first term in Congress, Farenthold’s district represented the region that is now at the epicenter of the developing humanitarian crisis. He expressed frustration with many who are calling for the instant deportation of these children. “We can’t just take them to the town square in Guatemala and kick them off the bus,” Farenthold said. “I also make the point that, if I were to send my child on a journey this perilous, child protective services would be knocking on my door trying to take away custody of my children.”
Farenthold distinguished between the ongoing border security crisis and the humanitarian crisis underway in the Rio Grande sector of the Texas border. “Here’s the thing with border security,” he continued. “Let’s assume it’s 100 percent secure, we catch anybody who crosses the border within a mile of the border, alright? Even if we capture a child, we still have to do something with that child.”
North Texas Congresswoman Kay Granger (R-TX) visited the region after being appointed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to head up a congressional working group to come up with recommendations for the House Republican Conference on responding to this crisis.
In a July 2nd statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, Granger said, ““The humanitarian crisis at the southern border demands to be treated with the seriousness that it deserves. Despite the President’s claims, this is not about immigration reform, this is about managing the immediate humanitarian crisis that this country faces at the Texas-Mexico border.”
During her visit to the region she visited the same bus station visited by Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby. Darby posted videos from his visit revealing the immigrant families laying around on the floor waiting for busses with the tickets they had received from the detention facilities.
Granger witnessed the shelter and aid for dozens of family units in the bus stations while their families await transportation that was paid for by American taxpayers. The immigrants are released on a promise to appear at a future date in an immigration court near their destination.
“Throughout my visit one message was clear,” Granger stated, “please don’t call this an immigration reform issue, this is a humanitarian crisis and we need help now.”
I will be returning to the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday [July 3rd] to continue to meet with officials to hear directly from them on what solutions can be developed to end this crisis,” Grainger concluded.
The Working Group will provide its recommendations to the Republican Conference in Washington, D.C. on July 15th.
In an op-ed published by YourHoustonNews.com, Congressman Pete Olson (R-Texas) who represents Sugarland, Texas (near Houston) and the surrounding communities, said, “Thanks to this administration’s lenient enforcement policies and insistence that any immigration reform bill must have amnesty, the drug cartels have put the word out in Central America that once these children reach Border Patrol agents, they will be taken into custody and never sent back home. These policies help fund the drug cartels.”
“Much of this disaster was created,” he continued, “when the Obama White House issued executive orders such as the DHS ‘catch and release’ policies that issue illegal immigrants a notice to appear in court and release them back into border communities. Another problem is the policy that prohibits DHS from immediately deporting unaccompanied minor children back to their country of origin.”
“Let's be clear, there is no mechanism in the Senate immigration bill that would fix this crisis,” Olson concluded. “And the flawed Senate bill will never get my vote, primarily because it fails to fix the crisis at the border. Sadly, President Obama's cherry-picking of which laws he chooses to enforce means it will be very difficult for me to support any immigration reform until we have a new, trustworthy president.”
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.