With a clear crisis emerging along the U.S.-Mexico border, Democratic leaders including President Joe Biden have steadfastly downplayed or denied the extent of an ongoing influx of undocumented migrants.
This has led to sharp criticism from many in the GOP, such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who wrote a letter to the Biden administration calling out its lack of “transparency.”
“Outrageous and hypocritical”
The Texas Republican declared that “the American people are beginning to understand the gravity of the situation” despite the White House’s “refusal to admit” that the circumstances have resulted in a crisis.
Cruz revealed that he would be traveling with others in his party “to talk to the brave men and women on the ground who are working every day to stop this crisis and secure the border.”
Nevertheless, he argued that allowing elected officials to tour border facilities is not good enough, formally requesting “that members of the media be allowed to join us” because “the American people must see” what is happening.
“But your administration clearly and emphatically refused to offer press access,” Cruz complained, calling the decision “outrageous and hypocritical.”
Calling out the administration for its early emphasis on “truth and transparency,” the senator accused the president of violating his pledge.
“We are in the midst of a pandemic”
“But now, when your administration faces a crisis of your own making, you are refusing the very transparency you promised and what you demanded from prior administrations,” Cruz said.
He reiterated that message in a tweet earlier this week, declaring: “Denying the press the ability to observe, film, and report on the conditions at the border is not openness or transparency — it is hiding the truth from the American people.”
The president’s border-related actions have earned bipartisan criticism, including from U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who published photos taken inside of a border facility, which shows large numbers of detainees — including children — being held in plastic pens.
Not everyone on his side of the aisle agrees, however. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) recently asserted that it is not “appropriate” for reporters to enter immigration centers.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas blamed the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic for the administration’s refusal to allow reporters into detention facilities, stating: “We are in the midst of a pandemic, we are dealing with crowded Border Patrol facilities, we are focused on our operations and the needs of the children and at the same time, we are working to provide access to those border patrol facilities when we can do so in a safe manner.”