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Arrington, Babin Press Biden Administration for Answers on Southern Border Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Jodey Arrington (TX-19) and Brian Babin (TX-36) led a dozen Texas colleagues who recently visited the southern border in sending a letter to the Biden Administration. The letter asked Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas to provide answers to six questions about the conditions at the southern border. 

Between March 29-31, Reps. Arrington and Babin led over a dozen members of the Texas delegation to tour the border. Members visited McAllen, Laredo, and Carrizo Springs where they met with local stakeholders such as law enforcement, landowners, and health care providers. Members also visited with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officials, toured the Maritime Boundary Line off the coast of Corpus Christi, met with the McAllen Drug Enforcement Administration district office, and visited the Port of Entry at Laredo and the Carrizo Springs Influx Care Facility.

“Our recent trip to the border confirmed what we’ve known for months – the Biden Administration’s irresponsible border policies are aiding and abetting narco-terrorists. Border crossings are at an all-time high, holding facilities are totally overrun, border agents are stretched thin, and members of our border communities feel completely abandoned by the federal government,” said Rep. Arrington. “Border Czar Kamala Harris continues to ignore the problem by refusing to visit the Southern border. We hope the questions in this letter convey just how desperate the crisis at the border has gotten, and we look forward to a prompt response from the Biden Administration about their plans address the crisis at our southern border.” 

“I’ve seen firsthand health and safety protocols being utterly abandoned at our overflowing migrant holding facilities along the southern border,” said Rep. Babin. “These facilities are functioning at unsustainable levels with no end in sight as this border crisis rages on. Although this administration likes to pretend this crisis doesn’t exist, my colleagues and I are forcing them to give the American people answers on how they plan to solve this dangerous, humanitarian disaster they created.” 

Excerpts from the letter: 

We left our tour displeased and gravely concerned by the management strategy of the record-breaking surge of migrants flooding the border, the overflowing holding facilities that completely disregard COVID-19 protocols, and the lack of support and resources the federal government is providing to our border communities who battle this crisis every day.”

“We saw individual pods designed to hold 33 unaccompanied alien children (UACs) housing more than 600 boys and girls. As you know, in the interest of public health and pandemic recovery, the Donna facility is intended to hold a maximum of 250 people. However, the current number of UACs being held there is roughly 5,700 children. Moreover, we were told that CBP is being forced to assign 700 agents per day to these types of holding facilities to babysit, distribute meals, change diapers, and more.”

Six questions to the Biden Administration: 

  1. How much does the U.S. government, to include all applicable departments and agencies, spend on housing, feeding, educating, healthcare, and other needs per UAC every month? 
  2. In detail, what is the current process for vetting the sponsors of UACs? 
  3. Where are UACs transported to (exactly which states and specific shelters) when they do not have a designated sponsor to be released to? 
  4. How many illegal immigrants have been released into the United States without a notice to appear (NTA)? What is the protocol for distributing NTAs and holding immigration hearings given current COVID-19 safety protocols?
  5. What is the process for ensuring that sponsors bring a UAC in their care to their mandatory immigration hearing? Are there consequences for either the sponsor or the UAC for not showing up to their immigration hearing? Is there a process in which the federal government follows up with the sponsor or the UAC? Are 30-day wellness calls still being made post-release to a sponsor? 
  6. Are all non-Americans apprehended at or in between ports of entry on our southern border being tested for COVID-19? If not, why? What are the current protocols when a person tests positive for COVID-19? 

Full text of the letter can be found here.

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