Republicans urge transparency, action from Biden on southern border crisis

House and Senate Republicans are demanding transparency and action from the Biden administration on the “out of control” situation at the southern border, where suspected cartel members have reportedly been taunting Texas Army National Guard soldiers. 

This week, 16 Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee wrote to President Biden and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas accusing the administration of failing to acknowledge the situation as “a national security and humanitarian crisis,” which they said is now “out of control,” according to Fox News.

“It is time to admit that there is a crisis at the southern border and that the men and women of the United States Border Patrol are overwhelmed,” they wrote. “It is time for your Administration to take appropriate steps to prevent a recurrence of what we witnessed in Del Rio, Texas. We demand transparency from your Administration on behalf of the American people.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, accompanied by from left, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021.
Senator Ted Cruz said the issues at the border have been exacerbated by President Biden and Vice President Harris,
Andrew Harnik/AP

“The minority Members of the Committee on Homeland Security want to work together with your Administration on these critical homeland security issues; however, in order to productively work together, your Administration needs to be more open and more forthcoming with the Committee.”

On Wednesday, several Senate Republicans joined together to also urge Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to take action. 

“This is unconscionable,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx) told reporters. “And Joe Biden and Kamala Harris caused it. The way to fix it, is reverse the political decisions they made on January 20 of this year, they could do it and fix it. It is only partisan politics that prevents them from doing so.”

Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, pauses while speaking during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, on 24 September 2021.
Republicans wrote to President Biden and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas (above) about the crisis at the border.
Al Drago/Pool via EPA
President Joe Biden participates in a meeting with members of his administration and business leaders and CEOs on the need to address the debt limit, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, DC USA, 06 October 2021.
The group of Republicans on the Committee on Homeland Security said they want to work with Biden on curbing the disaster on the border.
Michael Reynolds/EPA

The Texas senator cited three decisions made by the president and vice president on their first day in office as reasons behind the crisis, including halting construction of the border wall, reinstituting a catch and release policy towards illegal immigrants, and ending the Trump-era remain in Mexico policy. 

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) warned that among the historic number of illegal immigrants crossing the border, “Of course we’re going to have rapists, we’re gonna have those that are terrorists, we’re going to have other bad people entering our country.”

She added that the issues Texas has been facing regarding the illegal immigration surges will now affect every state, adding “every state is now a border state.” 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, right, shakes a National Guard member's hand after speaking during a news conference along the Rio Grande, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shakes a National Guard member’s hand after speaking during a news conference along the Rio Grande on Sept. 21, 2021.
Julio Cortez/AP

The Republicans’ demands come weeks after Del Rio, Texas saw unprecedented amounts of illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico and camping under the Del Rio International Bridge in a squalid makeshift migrant camp. At one point, some estimated 15,000 people were camped under the bridge waiting for processing. Local and state officials pleaded for immediate action, citing health and safety concerns, including terrorist threats. 

While many later were deported to Haiti or voluntarily returned to Mexico, roughly 12,400 migrants were released in the US, according to Mayorkas.

In recent days, suspected cartel members reportedly involved in human smuggling armed with AK-47s have been taunting Texas Army National Guard soldiers along the Rio Grande, according to Fox News

A Haitian migrant child holds up her stuffed animal so it doesn't get wet as she is carried on the shoulders of a man wading across the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas, to return to Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021.
Mayorkas said at the end of September that over 12,000 Haitian immigrants were subsequently released into the US.
Felix Marquez/AP

There have been multiple incidents of armed gunmen wearing tactical vests standing in and near the river in Starr County, per the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

The Department has vowed to investigate any potential threats towards law enforcement and the military, saying they are fully committed to securing the border under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.