Border 'Crisis' Gives Ted Cruz Chance to Move on After Damaging Few Weeks

Senator Ted Cruz and his Republican colleagues are renewing their criticism of President Joe Biden's immigration policies as the nation sees a surge in unaccompanied minors at the southern border.

The administration has refused to call the surge in migrants a "crisis" but a record 7,000 unaccompanied minors were transferred to U.S. refugee agency shelters last month, according to Forbes, and the GOP is blaming Biden's decision to drop Trump-era "zero tolerance" policies.

The annual migrant surge represents a political opportunity for Republicans whose opposition to the $1.9 trillion stimulus package was out of step with most Americans, according to polls. For Cruz, refocusing on the border may also help him move away from a difficult start to 2021.

The senator pointed to a Fox News report that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has had to close three highway checkpoints in Arizona as it struggles to deal with the surge of migrants at the border. Agents who work at the checkpoints will be redeployed to the border.

"How much more will it take for the Biden administration to admit there is a crisis on the border?" Cruz tweeted on Monday.

Cruz' home state of Texas is also being affected by the surge. Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, placed the blame on the president and pointed to changes in policy by the new administration.

How much more will it take for the Biden administration to admit there is a crisis on the border?

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 9, 2021

"There is a crisis on the Texas border right now with the overwhelming number of people who are coming across the border," Abbott said.

"This crisis is a result of President Biden's open border policies," he said. "It invites illegal immigration and is creating a humanitarian crisis in Texas right now that will grow increasingly worse by the day."

Both Abbott and Cruz faced criticism after severe winter weather in Texas left 4 million people without power and also caused some water outages.

Cruz traveled to Cancun, Mexico, for a family vacation at the height of the crisis—flying back early after a backlash. Abbott also faced scrutiny for blaming the state's loss of power on green energy. He later acknowledged that the whole grid was affected, including generation that uses fossil fuel.

The senator was already having a difficult year before the Cancun incident, however. He was one of the two most prominent Republicans to object to Biden's Electoral College win, along with Senator Josh Hawley.

After the deadly riot on January 6, it was suggested that Cruz bore some responsibility for the storming of the Capitol.

However, issues at the border could allow Cruz and his party to reframe the debate on familiar ground while also putting former President Donald Trump's policies front and center.

Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, has taken a hard line on undocumented migrants entering the country. He favors the construction of a border wall and recently criticized the fact that $1,400 stimulus checks would be sent to people who live in the U.S. illegally.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz speaks during a Senate hearing about the Capitol riots, on March 3 in Washington, D.C. The Texas senator has criticized the Biden administration's approach to the southern border. Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images