Democrat Representative Henry Cuellar of Texas is calling on President Biden and his administration to pay attention to the reality of the crisis on the southern border.
Cuellar’s district includes portions of the southern border and is one of the Democrats opposing Biden’s decision to lift Title 42.
Cuellar warned that he is “very concerned” about what will happen after the policy is lifted, fearing serious repercussions.
“They’re listening to the immigration activists, but my question is who is listening to the men and women in green and in blue, and more importantly, who’s listening to the border communities, the sheriffs, the landowners, the rest of the people who live on the border.”
Congressman Cuellar said his constituents are concerned and assert that “this message of lifting Title 42 is going to go straight to the criminal organizations. We need to listen to the border communities.”
According to the congressman, 60% of Border Patrol officers are now tasked to work at border processing centers, not even in the field at the border itself.
“It’s like having a school, and we’re only teaching with 40% of the teachers, and the other 60% are not teaching. That’s what we’re seeing, except it’s in law enforcement.
“So, what we’re seeing is large numbers coming in, the messages are going out to the smugglers and to migrants that on May 23, you can go ahead and come in, and Border Patrol is only working with 40% of its men and women.”
Cuellar: Listen to border officers
The Texas lawmaker said that he has communicated to the White House that Title 42 should be kept in place until the Covid-19 public health emergency is lifted — at the very soonest.
“We told them, but they say that they’re going to continue with lifting the title,” said Cuellar.
Rep. Cuellar continued, “But the thing is, yes, they’re listening to the immigration activists. But my question is, who’s listening to the men and women in green and blue? And more importantly, who’s listening to the border communities, the sheriffs, the landowners, the rest of the people that live on the border?”
When speaking of the border communities, Cuellar emphasized, “They’re very concerned because they’re on the front line, and they’re the ones that, I think, we need to listen to. We need to listen to the border communities.”
Bipartisan congressional bills aim to stop the Biden administration from ending Title 42 before the White House lifts the Covid-19 public health emergency.
Cuellar takes issue with the move explaining, “How can you ask for international travelers to make sure — they’re vaccinated or even show their Covid-19 negative tests if they fly in?”
He continued, “How can we have the federal public emergency extended to July 15 and say there’s a pandemic going on in the United States, but at the border, everything’s fine, and just let people into the United States? Those are mixed messages.”
Republicans and some Democrats continue to express outrage over the move to suspend Title 42, which is predicted to triple the migration numbers at the southern border.
March saw record-breaking numbers of migrant apprehensions by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with 221,303 encounters alone. For decades, the highest number eclipsed the last record high of 213,593 encounters in July 2021.
While some estimates predict the current migrant crossing number of 8,000 per day could rise to 18,000 when Title 42 is lifted, various groups warn that there are already hundreds of thousands of migrants waiting to cross once the policy is no longer enforced.
Since President Biden assumed office in January 2021, CBP has encountered and apprehended 2.4 million migrants crossing the southern U.S. border.