Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the Senate Republican Whip, said President Joe Biden’s administration “bears a lot of the responsibility” for the surge at the United States-Mexico border.
On the Senate floor on Wednesday, Thune said the current border surge has had a serious effect everywhere.
“Border patrol agents have been pulled off the border to deal with the influx of migrants and unaccompanied children, leaving the borders undermanned,” Thune said, adding, “the government is straining to deal with processing the massive number of people who have come across the border.”
Thune mentioned that one of the facilities he visited when he went to the border “was at 16 times its allotted capacity,” noting that “the administration has had to deploy the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)” as a result of the surge.
“That’s right. Our government’s disaster recovery agency to help deal with the influx of unaccompanied children,” Thune said. “The Department of Health and Human Services has been forced to open emergency shelters and ask the Department of Defense for temporary housing on bases.”
.@JohnThune: "While the administration would like to attribute this crisis to the previous administration, or anything but the current president's policies, the truth is President Biden bears a lot of the responsibility for this situation." pic.twitter.com/QtKOgtm3bS
— The Hill (@thehill) April 14, 2021
“Despite the pandemic, adequate COVID safety measures have been unable to be maintained because the numbers needing to be housed have been so great,” Thune said.
The Biden administration is trying to “attribute this crisis to the previous administration or anything but the current president’s policies; the truth is, President Biden bears a lot of the responsibility for the situation,” Thune continued.
Thune said Biden’s presidential campaign “made it clear that border security was not going to be one of his priorities.” Thune posed the question, “since taking office, what signals have he and his administration sent?”
Thune was a part of the delegation lead by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) that traveled to the Rio Grande last month. Cruz said members of the Mexican drug and smuggling cartels were visible on the Mexican side of the border “waving flashlights, yelling and … taunting border patrol” agents.
When Thune was at the border, he said the surge was avoidable, adding, “if you don’t build it, they will come,” when talking about building a border wall and not finishing it.
The Center for Immigration Studies Director of Research Steven Camarota reviewed illegal immigration levels from years past and found, despite Biden’s claims, the current surge is not merely the “usual seasonal bump.”
“[T]he surge occurred just as the new administration took office, a clear indication that the profound policy changes of the new president are the primary cause,” Camarota wrote.
In March, nearly 170,000 border crossers were apprehended at the southern border — including more than 18,600 Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs), nearly 53,000 family units, and nearly 97,000 single adults. The surge in illegal immigration under Biden marks a 72 percent increase in a single month and 243 percent increased compared to March 2020.