News and Commentary

‘It Is, By Definition, An Emergency’: McConnell Blasts Biden, Says He ‘Owns’ Crisis At The Border

"My definition of a crisis is when you send the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which only goes to emergencies, down to the border."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, walks from his office at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on March 19, 2020.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted the Biden administration for the crisis at the southern border of the United States, asserting that when the federal government sends the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) down to the border, “It is, by definition, an emergency.”

Appearing on Fox News on Wednesday with host Harris Faulkner, McConnell stated, “My definition of a crisis is when you send the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which only goes to emergencies, down to the border. It is, by definition, an emergency. This administration walked away from the policy of the previous administration (which) was able to negotiate with the Mexican government, where people are detained on the other side of the border.

“It (Biden administration policy) allows that influx into our country and then they’re caught up in the system, which is largely going to remain under this administration a ‘catch-and-release’ approach,” McConnell continued. “Certainly we want to take care of the children, but this is about a lot more than these youngsters. This is about whether or not the federal government will contain the border. The previous administration did an excellent job on border security; this administration is stopping funding for the wall, as an example. How is that helpful? Stopping the agreement with the Mexican government to contain people on the other side of the border? How is that helpful?”

“This is a crisis,” he declared. “I don’t care what the Secretary of Homeland Security wants to call it; it’s a crisis.”

On Saturday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced he was sending Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the border. The Department of Homeland Security stated on March 13:

Homeland Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas has directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support a government-wide effort over the next 90 days to safely receive, shelter, and transfer unaccompanied children who make the dangerous journey to the U.S. southwest border. … FEMA is now integrated and co-located with HHS to look at every available option to quickly expand physical capacity for appropriate lodging.

Rep. John Katko, ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, said that sending FEMA was an admission there was a crisis, asserting, “By doing that they’re admitting there is a crisis even though they won’t say it.”

Earlier this month, McConnell stated on Fox News:

Secretary Mayorkas, the head of the Homeland Security, says there’s no crisis at the border. Well, that’s absolutely incorrect. And the crisis was created by the administration sending a message to desperate people who want to come here that just hang on, you will get in sooner or later.

And, of course, the Mexican government then will become less cooperative.

One thing the previous administration did an excellent job of, by any objective standard, was border security. And all of that is being undone very quickly in this new administration. They own this crisis at the border. They created it. And they could stop it if they chose to.

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