President Biden's immigration and border policy along the U.S.-Mexico border is creating a crisis that "will be devastating for our nation" if changes are not soon made, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Ooltewah, said after visiting the border with other Republican leaders on Monday.
Fleischmann, who serves as the ranking member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, said his visit showed "a humanitarian crisis of a tremendous scale," which he said is caused by the Biden administration signaling it is opening the U.S. to more immigrants and ending construction of the border wall being built under the previous president.
"It is abundantly clear that President Biden's disastrous open border policies – after only two months in office – have caused a grave crisis," Fleischmann said after his visit with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other GOP leaders to the border near El Paso, Texas. "President Biden and his minions created an environment causing this surge. Talk to the migrants. They've been told, 'come on and come across' from a whole host of countries."
The surge of immigrants coming to the border and many crossing into the U.S. illegally is a threat to U.S. security and drug control efforts, Fleischmann said.
"But for the actions of this president, which he will not acknowledge, he has created this crisis," Fleischmann said. "I will be pushing for robust funding to secure America's southern border and address this humanitarian crisis."
Asked about the crisis on Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, "The last administration left us a dismantled and unworkable system. And like any other problem, we are going to do everything we can to solve it."
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Saturday directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help manage and care for the growing number of children crossing the border.
The Associated Press obtained a memo Monday that said the U.S. government plans to use the downtown Dallas convention center to hold up to 3,000 immigrant teenagers as sharply higher numbers of border crossings have severely strained the current capacity to hold youths. The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center will be used for up to 90 days beginning as early as this week.
U.S. Health and Human Services is rushing to open facilities across the country to house immigrant children who are otherwise being held by the U.S. Border Patrol, which is generally supposed to detain children for no more than three days. The Border Patrol is holding children longer because there is next to no space in the HHS system, similar to the last major increase in migration two years ago.
The Biden administration is expected to request a budget supplement to help pay for the extra detention facilities. Fleischmann urged the administration to work with Republicans in Congress for a way to help limit the inflow of immigrants as well as providing care and treatment for those who have already crossed the border.