Republicans have long argued that President Joe Biden’s immigration policies are exacerbating a crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) offered a variation on that belief, insisting that Mexican drug cartels are profiting as a result of the Biden administration’s policies.
“It’s that simple”
Specifically, Donalds criticized Vice President Kamala Harris who recently traveled to Guatemala as part of her assignment to address the “root causes” of an immigration surge.
In an appearance on Fox & Friends, the lawmaker said: “The answers aren’t down there in Guatemala because the cartel is actively recruiting. They’re making about $5 billion this year trafficking people across our southern border.”
As for the vice president’s recent trip, Donalds described it as unnecessary.
“You don’t have to go down to Guatemala to know what’s actually going on,” he added. “What’s going on is this administration’s weak policies allow the cartels to make billions of dollars. It’s that simple.”
The congressman pointed to the policies enacted during the early months of the Biden administration as fuel for increased action by the dangerous drug cartels.
“Send more of a clear message”
“If it’s hard for the cartel to make money they’re not going to allow people to be trafficked across our border,” Donalds said. “If the cartel does not allow for people to be trafficked across our border, Border Patrol will not be overwhelmed and we can secure our border. So it starts with this president and it starts with our vice president. They need to reverse their policies immediately.”
Notably, his remarks were echoed by Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammettei ahead of the vice president’s visit.
Referencing the shift from former President Donald Trump to the current White House, Giammettei said: “The message changed too: ‘We’re going to reunite families, we’re going to reunite children.’ The very next day, the coyotes were here organizing groups of children to take them to the United States.”
The Guatemalan leader went on to say that his country urged the U.S. “to send more of a clear message to prevent more people from leaving,” making it clear that he and Harris “are not on the same side of the coin” where immigration is involved.
As Republicans like Donalds and even foreign leaders like Giammettei are increasingly arguing, it appears that Trump’s approach to the border was right all along.