While Rep. Henry Cuellar supported Joe Biden in his bid for office, the Texas Democrat now believes the president has surrounded himself with the wrong people to combat the crisis at the southern border.
During an appearance on the Fox News podcast, “The Brian Kilmeade Show,” Cuellar said Biden has been listening too much to “immigration activist” and not enough to those down at the border, such as local law enforcement and land owners.
“The bottom line is I supported Joe Biden for president. He was the most centrist candidate running but the problem, in my opinion, is that he has surrounded himself, at least on the immigration issue, with people that have backgrounds in – I would call them immigration activists — and they’re giving their perspective and the problem is that’s only one perspective,” Cuellar said, adding “What about the perspective of the border communities?”
The Democrat proceeded to call the administration’s response “one-sided,” saying someone has to have the backs of the people along the border.
“What about the landowners? I got a call from this landowner two days ago. He was so frustrated. He texts me later saying ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, you know, letting out my frustration.’ I said, no, I wanna, hear from you so they’re, not listening to the border communities.”
He continued: “And most importantly, also, they’re not listening to the men and women in green and blue. Somebody has to have their back and when you have the political people that are giving advice to the administration, that is only one-sided.”
Cuellar has been very critical of the Biden administration’s response to the border crisis in the past, and called on Biden to visit the U.S.-Mexico region this week.
“I think he needs to understand what’s happening,” Cuellar told Fox News host Neil Cavuto.
“He needs to listen not only to the immigration activists, but he needs to listen to our border communities … They need to listen to the judges, to the mayors, to the public officials, the landowners down there, and they also need to listen to the men and women in green and blue. Those are the people in the front line and we need to have their backs.”
In recent weeks, many have questioned if Biden has ever visited the border during his political career.
Last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki touted the president’s visits to Mexico and Central America, noting that people crossing the border are coming from those areas.
She also claimed that Biden visited the border when driving through El Paso in 2008.
“As you may have seen, there’s been reporting that he did drive through the border when he was on the campaign trail in 2008,” Psaki said, appearing to refer to a Washington Post report published shortly before the briefing that cited the drive-by.
“And he is certainly familiar with the fact — and it stuck with him — with that fact that in El Paso, the border goes right through the center of town.”
This summer, Vice President Kamala Harris made similar trips to Mexico and Central America that Biden did during his vice presidency, however last month, Cuellar said the trips had no impact.
“With all due respect, no,” Cuellar told CNN host Erica Hill, when asked what impact the June visit to Mexico and Guatemala had on migration.
“Look, you know, we’ve been providing assistance to Central America since 2014. I was involved with Kay Granger and then at that time Vice President Joe Biden to provide the first $750 million to the Central American countries,” he continued, referring to the Republican congresswoman from Texas.
“I think since then it’s been over $3.5 billion that we have appropriated. And again, it’s the assistance, but we’ve got to work with the private sector to create jobs down there in Central America,” Cuellar said.