Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy held a roundtable discussion Thursday as a means to “expose” one of the underreported provisions in the Democrats‘ multitrillion-dollar reconciliation package: An attempt to grant amnesty to up to 10 million illegal immigrants.
About 1.3 million migrants have been taken into custody at the border since President Biden took office, McCarthy noted at the top of his Capitol Hill briefing. He was flanked by Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, Kat Cammack, R-Fla., John Rutherford, R-Fla., and Troy Nehls, R-Texas. The lawmakers were also joined via Zoom by Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, Sheriff Mark Dannels of Cochise County, Arizona, and Mayor Don McLaughlin of Uvalde, Texas.
Judd, who has been on the front lines of the crisis, emphasized McCarthy’s reading of the statistics at the border, saying he’s “never seen anything like it.” And if the Democrats succeed in pushing amnesty through reconciliation, he said, human traffickers and other bad actors at the border “will be rewarded.”
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio shared a few more numbers, saying about 208,000 migrants were apprehended in August. He noted Congress has still not received the September numbers from the Department of Homeland Security.
The Democrats are only going to “add insult to injury” by adding amnesty to the reconciliation package, Jordan said.
Mounted U.S. Border Patrol agents watch Haitian immigrants on the bank of the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas on Sept. 20, 2021 as seen from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Rep. Cammack deemed it “a great day to be a cartel member” at the border. Americans, she said, are “unaware” of what is truly going on, calling the reconciliation social programs and amnesty attempts “frightening.” The uptick in crime in local communities is a “direct result” of the White House’s policies, Cammack added, by way of suggesting the reconciliation bill would not affect only the U.S. economy.
“The bill not only is going to tax and spend us down the drain,” she said. “This is going to make us more vulnerable than ever.”
A majority of the lawmakers in the room condemned the White House for its recent moves – or lack of action – on the border. Biden was criticized, for example, for repealing former President Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, which kept migrants in Mexico for their hearings, only to have to reinstate it next month in response to a court order from a federal judge that was upheld by the Supreme Court.
Sheriff Dannels, calling in from Arizona, told the lawmakers that Vice President Kamala Harris, who has been handling some border issues, has not reached out to him to discuss the chaotic situation. Harris was previously lambasted for waiting nearly 100 days to visit the southern border since her appointment as the person in charge of solving the “root causes” of the problem. When pressed by reporters why she had waited so long to book the trip, Harris was often flippant in her responses.
Migrants camp under the International Bridge in Del Rio on Sept. 18, 2021. (Rep. Pfluger)
Cammack added that when she contacted Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, he told her that he was in charge at the border, suggesting there was widespread miscommunication in the administration on an issue that needs some immediate solutions.
As overwhelming as the situation on the border is, the lawmakers predicted it’s “going to get worse” because the White House does not seem to be willing to change its approach.
“The administration is sending a bat signal out for illegals with amnesty,” Gonzales said.
Border Patrol agents have been fired upon in a series of targeted attacks this month, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said. (Getty Images)
Gonzales told Fox News Digital he needs to see three things happen at the border before even considering negotiating with Democrats on the crisis: A wall or a barrier, more technology such as censors and drones, and more boots on the ground. Only until all those boxes are checked, he said, can they start talking about immigration reform.
Judd made the point of noting that despite the narrative that it’s just immigrants from Central America who are flooding into the U.S., many migrants from countries like Niger, Georgia, Russia and Romania have been intercepted in recent weeks.
“If that doesn’t scare the American people…I don’t know what will,” Judd said.
Senate Democrats’ attempts to add amnesty to the reconciliation bill have so far been rebuffed by Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough. In her recent ruling, MacDonough said that such a change in the law is a “tremendous and enduring policy change that dwarfs its budgetary impact” and is therefore a misplaced effort.