Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) said the Biden administration needs to ramp up border enforcement to mitigate the immigration crisis.
Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, Cuellar said that Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) sending migrants to Democratic-run cities was “theater.” But Cuellar, who represents a district on the Texas border, called for more resources and said the Biden administration should actively turn more people away.
“First of all, we need solutions and not theater,” Cuellar said. “By sending folks off to New York and Chicago, it does bring attention, but we want to focus more on solutions on the border. We got to give Border Patrol, we got to give ICE, Homeland Security the equipment- you know, making sure they have everything where they can enforce the law, because if we don’t have repercussions at the border, we’re going to continue getting 8,000 people a day.”
“Just for my hometown in Laredo, we’re sending out 21 to 26 buses a day out of Laredo, just to give you an idea of what’s happening here,” he continued.
Cuellar said migrants crossing the border must be treated with dignity, not used as political pawns. At the same time, he pointed out that drug cartels are exploiting migrants.
“[T]he cartels are using people because they make let’s say $8,000 a person,” he said. “In two years with all the people that have come in, that get away included, that’s about 4 million individuals. You multiply that by $8,000 and that shows you how much these bad guys [are] being enriched at the sake of these human beings.”
Cuellar also pointed out that the cartels have very sophisticated trafficking networks, and they control every migrant that crosses the border in some way.
He stressed the need to turn more people away at the border and return them to the countries they came from.
“[Former Homeland Security] Secretary Jeh Johnson–he treated the people with respect,” said Cuellar. “But at the end of the day, he enforced the law, and he returned people… he showed people going and landing in the countries in Honduras and El Salvador to show that there’s repercussions,” Cuellar stressed that the Biden administration needs to do the same thing, turning migrants away and making an example of turning them away.
Cuellar’s comments come after El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser (D) defended his city busing migrants into New York City. Leeser said that migrants are being treated humanely, and the city is simply trying to get them where they want to end up.
“The people are not coming to El Paso, they’re coming to America,” Leeser said in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “We don’t send anyone where they don’t want to go. We make sure we help them.”
“We put them on buses with food and make sure they get to their destination and make sure that we always continue to greet and treat people like human beings,” he added.