Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called out Vice President Kamala Harris over the border crisis late on Wednesday, requesting that the Biden Administration grant media access to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) facilities dealing with the influx of unaccompanied children and other migrants.
Cruz, who serves on the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and the Judiciary, asked the administration for transparency via Twitter, ahead of his trip Friday to a migrant processing facility in Donna, located in the portion of the U.S. border that lies in Texas where 17 other lawmakers will join him.
President Joe Biden recently tapped Harris to lead efforts to stem the flow of migrants, even as the administration continues to call the situation a “challenge, rather than a ‘crisis.'”
Republicans and the Presidents of El Salvador and Mexico suggested the Biden administration’s policies are to blame for the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico Border.
Addressing the VP, Sen Cruz wrote on Twitter late Wednesday night:
[Seventeen] senators are joining me at the TX border [Friday]. The Biden admin is refusing to allow [the] press to see the CBP facilities. Since you’ve promised to “release children from cages,” surely your admin will allow media to film the empty cages. If not, what are you hiding?
Kamala, tomorrow 17 senators are joining me at the TX border. The Biden admin is refusing to allow press to see the CBP facilities.
Since you’ve promised to “release children from cages,” surely your admin will allow media to film the empty cages.
If not, what are you hiding? https://t.co/wXDP3QwUP0
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 25, 2021
Sen. Cruz took Harris on a ride down memory lane, reminding his followers she tweeted in 2019 that, as president, she would release children from cages and do away with private immigration detention centers that continue to operate.
As president, I will immediately put in place a meaningful process to review asylum cases. I will release children from cages. I will get rid of the private detention centers. It’s time we had a president whose actions reflected the values of our country.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 5, 2019
Under mounting pressure to grant media access, the White House on Wednesday allowed a congressional delegation and one network pool reporter and camera crew to visit a shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas, run by the U.S. Department of Health Human Services (HHS).
HHS facilities, like the one in Carrizo Springs, are better equipped to deal with minors.
The HHS facility in Texas visited by the one TV reporter is reportedly not over capacity like the CBP migrant processing center in Donna, Texas, seen in recently released photos highlighting crowded and “inhumane” conditions.
On Tuesday, CBP, a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), also released B-roll footage and still images of its Donna and El Paso temporary processing facilities to media members.
Similar to pictures of the Donna facility that a Democrat congressman released to the media the previous day, the photos disseminated by CBP show crowded areas, including kids sleeping shoulder-to-shoulder on mats on the floor with aluminum blankets and on benches. They also show dozens of children in a transparent pen.
“In order to protect the health and safety of our workforce and those in our care, we continue to discourage external visitors in our facilities; however, CBP is working to balance the need for public transparency and accountability,” the agency said in a statement.
“We will look for ways to continue to increase transparency and provide additional access,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, added at a White House briefing Wednesday.
It appears Sen. Cruz was neither satisfied or impressed with the White House allowing one camera into an uncrowded HHS facility or the release of video footage and photos by CBP in the wake of transparency pressure by members of the president’s own party.
Hours before sending out his tweet addressing VP Harris about the border crisis, Cruz blasted the lack of transparency involving the treatment of children at CBP facilities.
“For four years, we heard Democrats go on and on about kids in cages,” Sen. Cruz declared during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “Well, Joe Biden desperately does not want you to see the Biden cages. His solution is to say, ‘No cameras, no TV cameras, no media.'”
“There have been multiple sexual assaults [at the Donna center], normal assaults, and daily medical emergencies,” an unnamed source told Project Veritas.
Psaki blamed the lack of transparency on the White House’s privacy concerns and pandemic precautions.
Nevertheless, CBP is releasing migrants into cash-strapped, small border towns in Texas and Arizona without testing all of them for coronavirus or consulting local officials who complain they lack the resources to deal with the influx of migrants left behind with no money or food.
Cruz acknowledged during the press briefing that every administration in recent years allowed media access to border facilities. Still, he said, President Biden does not want the public to see that he is holding kids in the same cages first used when he was former President Barack Obama’s VP.
During the Obama-Biden administration, Breitbart Texas’ Brandon Darby leaked photos in June 2014 showing the deplorable conditions where children, often packed shoulder-to-shoulder, were locked in jail cells.