Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) accused the Biden administration of misleading the public about the purported success of its immigration policies.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released photos of a migrant processing facility in the border town of Donna, Texas, on Tuesday. The photos showed sparsely populated plastic cages where crowds of children had been kept, suggesting that the Biden administration is effectively dealing with the crisis-level flood of illegal immigrant children that have come into the U.S. in recent months.
Cuellar says that the photos are misleading because the children who were previously in those plastic cages are still at the tent compound, just in different sections. Officially, the children and teens have been transferred from Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) custody into the hands of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to Border Report.
“All they’re doing is they’re moving kids from one tent to the other tent and saying, ‘Oh, they’re not in the Border Patrol [custody],’ but they’re right next door,” Cuellar told Border Report. “They’re just next door in HHS.”
In a statement released along with the photos on Tuesday, DHS acknowledged that the children are in HHS custody while playing up the nearly empty plastic cages as a success of the Biden administration. The DHS statement also blamed the current border crisis on the previous Trump administration.
“DHS and HHS were left to rebuild the capacity to shelter and process the children, after having inherited a system that had been entirely dismantled by the prior administration. These photos demonstrate the tremendous progress that DHS and its partners have made to safely and efficiently transfer unaccompanied children out of CBP custody and into the care of the Department of Health and Human Services.
As the border crisis continues and the Biden administration struggles to cope with unprecedented levels of illegal immigration, the White House has ramped up attacks on former President Donald Trump. On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki opened her press briefing blaming Trump for the ongoing crisis at the southern border.
“After four years of an immigration system rooted in destructive and chaotic policies, President Biden is taking the challenge head-on and is building a fair, orderly and humane immigration system. That’s our objective,” Psaki said. “After coming into office, our administration immediately jumped into action to address the influx of migrants at the border, something that began during and was exacerbated by the Trump administration.”
Cuellar has been one of the most vocal critics of the Biden administration’s handling of the border from within the president’s party. Last week, Cuellar slammed the Biden administration for refusing to recognize the situation on the border as a crisis.
“I did notice that the president did not talk about the border. There is a border crisis, no ifs about it,” Cuellar said, referring to Biden’s speech to Congress. “The numbers are still high.”
“They’re doing a little better on the upflow itself but what about the inflow?” Cuellar asked. “That’s people coming in. Those numbers are still coming in.”
Related: Crisis: Record Number Of Migrants Taken Into Custody At Southern Border In March, Highest Number Of Child Migrants Ever Recorded