Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) on Thursday got his first up-close look at the Southern border since taking office and came away more convinced than ever that the Biden administration is shirking its duty to halt illegal immigration.
“You see the Republican congressmen come down here,” said Carl, who was part of a 10-congressmen group that traveled to San Diego. “Where are the Democrats at?”
Carl said President Joe Biden has been missing in action.
“It’s a huge issue,” he said. “We’re trying to get the president to wake up.”
Carl said that during a stop at an auto crossing, he saw 200 pounds of methamphetamine that had been found in vehicles in just a 12-hour period. He told FOX10 News that the massive smuggling does not just affect districts near Mexico.
“I just witnessed 200 pounds of meth stacked in boxes,” he said. “That meth would have wound up in Mobile in the streets and arms of kids in Mobile. That infuriates me. You got to get your priorities straight.”
The congressman expressed disgust that the Biden administration has cut off funding for the border wall that former President Donald Trump had begun and is reversing other Trump-era policies.
The White House countered that the administration has made real progress in reducing the number migrant children held at Customs and Border Protection facilities.
“Wall construction along the Southern border in recent years is just one example of the prior Administration’s misplaced priorities and failure to manage migration,” the White House said in a statement to FOX10 news. “The President is taking the challenge head-on and is building a fair, orderly and humane immigration system. What we’ve seen from the data is progress. A month ago more than 5,000 children were in CBP custody. Today that number is less than 800.”
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told FOX10 News that the Biden administration’s position is misleading. He said it is true that fewer children are in custody, but only because the government is releasing them to sponsors in the United States faster.
Judd, whose union represents 14,500 Border Patrol agents, pointed to statistics showing more children apprehended at the border in April than the previous month.
“The only thing that we've done is we’ve made the revolving door quicker,” he said. “That’s it.”
Carl said he was shocked by the sheer volume of illegal immigrants cross the U.S.-Mexico border every day. And they are not just from Mexica and Central America, he added, noting that foreigners from all over the world are using the same smuggling networks to get into the United States via the vulnerable Southern border.
“On the way over here, we actually came to a place called ‘Smuggler’s Gulch,’ and there was a family of about nine, and they were from Romania with children that had crossed the border there,” he said.
Carl said he was disgusted to learn from border agents that smugglers will “sell” children to illegal immigrants trying to cross the border because they know children can make it easier to get admitted.
“The same child will show up three or four days, with a different group,” he said.
Judd said that jibes with his experience.
“We’re seeing it from many, many different countries, not just Mexico like it was,” he said.
Judd noted that on a recent day, 51 different nationalities were represented among the migrants held at a Customs and Border Protection facility in Donna, Texas.
“That just didn’t happen before,” he said.
Judd said apprehensions were higher in the 1990s and early 2000s. But he said the total numbers included many people who made repeated attempts in the same year. The current numbers much more closely equate to distinct individuals.
“If you compare apples to apples, this is by far the biggest search that we’ve ever seen,” he said.