Democratic Texas Rep. Cuellar criticizes Biden administration’s border visit, immigration policies

As President Joe Biden works to undo the Trump administration’s border security and immigration policies, it isn’t surprising he is being criticized by Republicans for the massive surge of migrants at the southern border.

However, even some Democrats have come out against Biden on the immigration issue, chief among them Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), a moderate who represents a district along the border with Mexico, Fox News reported.

During an interview Tuesday with Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade, Cuellar lashed out at the administration for its lax enforcement of border and immigration laws as well as for paying a brief visit to the border in his district without notification or a request for any input.

No notice, no “courtesy”

During the radio interview, Cuellar noted the spike in border encounters over the past few months and expressed his concern over the impact it was having on local border communities, particularly with regard to hospitals and the still-ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The congressman also took issue with the recent Biden administration delegation that traveled to the Texas border. “With all due respect, I don’t think no member of Congress got told that,” he said. The congressman revealed that the delegation had visited his district and hometown, as well as those of other members, without the “courtesy” of any advance notice or offer to accompany them.

“Again, with all due respect, coming in for a few hours doesn’t substitute for people on the border that live there and talk to Border Patrol, talk to (Non-Governmental Organizations) all the time,” Cuellar said. “We don’t just go in there for a few hours and think that we know the border better.”

He indicated that Biden and his people were only listening to immigration activists instead of finding a “balance” by considering the knowledge and opinions of community leaders and law enforcement officials who deal with the fallout of policy decisions on a daily basis.

Mixed messaging

Later in the program, Cuellar stressed the need for “humane” policies paired with a respect for “law and order,” and proceeded to criticize the Biden administration for its messaging that was being received by migrants down in Central America.

According to Cuellar, migrants in Central America are hearing three main messages — from the Biden administration, from networks of family and friends, and from the cartels and criminal organizations. Those messages are, in respective order: “Don’t come now, come later”; “Hey, I made it in and you can too”; and, finally, “We can get you in, this is the time to get in.”

With regard to the surge of unaccompanied minors at the border, Cuellar concluded, “I, as a parent, wouldn’t like to send my kids and put them in the hands of ‘coyote’ criminals,” given the fact that many will be preyed upon by criminals and some won’t even make it to the border at all.

This isn’t the first time Cuellar has bucked his party and spoken out against excessively liberal immigration policies. In February, Axios reported that the congressman warned President Biden against suddenly reversing all of Trump’s policies due to the substantial impact it would have on border communities, many of which are predominately populated by immigrants themselves.

“You just can’t say, ‘Yeah, yeah, let everybody in’ — because then we’re affected down there at the border,” Cuellar told Axios.

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