Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and other members of the all-GOP Louisiana congressional delegation are blaming President Biden for a surge of unaccompanied migrant children at America’s southern border that has overwhelmed facilities there.
“There’s a crisis,” Cassidy said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters, a description the Biden administration has avoided. “It took awhile for Biden administration to notice.”
Though previous surges also occurred under former Presidents Obama and Trump, Biden’s Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas conceded Tuesday the U.S. is expected to reach the highest number of people apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in two decades.
While he said most adults are being deported, unaccompanied children are not.
The surge has created a backlog in border patrol stations, with over 4,200 children in custody and 2,943 of those children being held over the 72-hour legal limit.
Cassidy and other Republicans are blaming the Biden administration’s immigration policies, contending the president has relaxed border security, including a halt of building the border wall that was one of former President Trump’s priorities.
“The Biden administration was hesitant to call it a crisis because it didn’t want to take responsibility,” Cassidy said.
Acadiana Congressman Clay Higgins was among a group of Republican representatives who visited the border over the weekend.
“It’s beyond a crisis at the border,” Higgins said during a press conference. “It’s a threat to our Republic. And you, Mr. President, have a responsibility to listen to the citizens that we serve.”
Higgins is the ranking Republican of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security.
Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson, R-Benton, also pointed the finger at Biden on Twitter.
“The Biden Administration should reverse course on their open borders policy & rhetoric before the #BidenBorderCrisis gets completely out of control,” Johnson tweeted Tuesday.
Biden has deployed the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the next three months to help receive, shelter and transfer unaccompanied migrant children, Mayorkas announced Saturday. The administration is also increasing the number of officials charged with connecting the children with sponsors.
“Our goal is a safe, legal and orderly immigration system that is based on our bedrock priorities: to keep our borders secure, address the plight of children as the law requires, and enable families to be together,” he said.