OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A leading moderate Democrat has issues with the ongoing migrant crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, a problem that continues to worsen by the month.
Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, whose district includes the city of Laredo which is situated along the border, rebuked President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris over recent claims that the border is “secure” when it clearly is not.
Speaking with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd last week, Harris — who was assigned the task of dealing with a surge in illegal immigration and drug smuggling by President Joe Biden not long after they took office — was asked about the current status of the border.
The VP gave a somewhat pained response but did say that it was “secure.”
“I think that there is no question that we have to do what the president and I asked Congress to do. The first request we made, pass a bill to create a pathway to citizenship. The border is secure, but we also have a broken immigration system, in particular over the last four years before we came in, and it needs to be fixed,” she said.
Cuellar, in an interview with CNN, responded after host Michael Smerconish asked, “Congressman, that’s just not true, right? You’re on the front line. You’ve spent your whole life in Laredo. The border is not secure, is it?”
“The border is not secure, with all due respect to the VP,” he began.
“This, look, we get thousands of people along the border, from 6,000 to 8,000 people a day. They’re releasing people, and we can send you pictures and videos of what’s happened in Del Rio, the valley, El Paso, and other places. People are coming in,” Cuellar continued.
“We have 1.7 million people that were encountered last year. We’re going to have 2 or maybe 2.2 million by the end of this fiscal year in about two more weeks. That’s almost 4 million people,” he added.
“That doesn’t even include the getaways. Getaways are the people that border patrol has a good idea that evaded them. So you’re talking about almost 4 plus, maybe 4.4 million individuals in two years,” he said.
“If you call that ‘secure,’ I don’t know what ‘secure’ is.”
Democratic Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar urged Pres. Biden to step up enforcement of immigration laws as Republican governors this week transported migrants to Democratic-run cities.
"If we don't have repercussions at the border, we're going to continue getting 8,000 people a day." pic.twitter.com/is2opZPx3W
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) September 18, 2022
Several border sheriffs in recent weeks have shared Cuellar’s assessment of the situation.
In an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” Goliad County Sheriff Roy Boyd pushed back on Harris’ claims while also praising Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) for bussing hundreds of volunteer migrants to Democrat-run “sanctuary” cities like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago.
“It was a great ploy by Governor Abbott to bring attention back to something that was kind of fading away from mainstream media,” Boyd said. “He’s put it back in their lap, and I applaud him for what he’s done.”
He then went on to mock Harris’ claim of a “secure” border.
“The border is wide open,” Boyd said. “In Texas, the Border Patrol is encountering over 100,000 illegal aliens. So every month, Border Patrol agents tell me that on a good day, they encounter between eight and 15 percent of the number of people that actually come across.”
Later Monday, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto spoke to another border county sheriff, Maverick County’s Tom Schmerber, who also ridiculed the vice president’s claims about the border. He also said that soon, northern states will begin to see what’s going on as well.
“I haven’t seen anything that would stop this immigration problem coming through to the USA. I worked with the Border Patrol, I retired from Border Patrol, and I have never seen something like this,” he said.
For his part, Cuellar recommended a solution to the Biden administration: Namely, there should be “repercussions” for crossing illegally into the U.S.
“One of the things that this administration is not doing is showing people going and landing in the countries in Honduras and El Salvador to show that there’s repercussions,” Cuellar said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“When was the last time you saw a picture or video of people going back? You only see people coming in, and you’ve got to have words along with actual enforcement,” he added.