As Joe Biden Readies Immigration Plan, Republicans Sound Alarm About Southern Border

Republicans have chastised Joe Biden as the number of migrant arrivals surge at the U.S.'s southern border with Mexico and the president's immigration policy is scrutinized by lawmakers in Washington, D.C., this week.

Biden allies on Capitol Hill introduced his immigration overhaul to the House on March 4. The proposals offer an eight-year path to citizenship for most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country, look to eliminate restrictions on family-based immigration and plan to expand worker visas.

Since he was inaugurated on January 20, Biden has led an effort to undo former President Donald Trump's immigration policies and launch a welcoming approach to migrants. But the president has been criticized for not doing enough to reduce prosecutions and reform border procedures.

Republicans are also concerned at Biden's choice to terminate Trump's Migrant Protection Protocols Program could result in a massive influx of arrivals at the southwest border, which could bring more coronavirus cases to the U.S.

Officials and migrant advocacy workers in El Paso on Monday reported that hundreds of migrants were being flown to the Texan city in response to overcrowding measures caused in part by the coronavirus pandemic.

Criticism of Biden's immigration reforms from several Republicans followed.

Kevin McCarthy, Republican House Minority Leader and Representative of California's 23rd District, said on Twitter: "Dear President Biden: Would be great if you would "build back better" along our southern border."

Republican Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson added in another post: "A caravan a day. Those are the numbers we are seeing right now at the border. We do not have the facilities to handle this. This is the tip of the iceberg of a crisis caused by President Biden's policies."

A caravan a day.

Those are the numbers we are seeing right now at the border.

We do not have the facilities to handle this.

This is the tip of the iceberg of a crisis caused by President Biden's policies. pic.twitter.com/w8fHn8G0IT

— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) March 8, 2021

Other Republicans sounded the alarm about the southern border.

"A nation without borders in a no nation at all," Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin said on Twitter, referring to Biden's immigration policy.

Rep. Chris Jacobs, a GOP member who represents New York's 27th congressional district, said that the president's border policies were "reckless" and "put Americans at risk."

"We have a new crisis at our Southern Border and we must treat it as such," he added.

Texas lawmaker Michael Burgess said that last week, more than 100 migrants who tested positive for COVID-19 were released. In his tweet, he attached a letter dated March 8 signed by 23 GOP representatives asking for the Department of Homeland Security to implement one of Trump's policies—Title 42—to reject the entry of any non-citizen or person without legal documentation in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The letter noted that Biden had not rescinded this authority and it therefore remained enforceable.

Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar, whose district extends from the Rio Grande along the Mexican border to the San Antonio suburbs, has said that 108 migrants released in the past month in Brownsville, Texas, tested positive for COVID-19.

"Last week, over 100 migrants WHO TESTED POSITIVE FOR #COVID19 were released, and @DHSgov needs to provide answers to the American people on why their health was not prioritized and Title 42 wasn't enforced," Burgess said. "I led a letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas seeking those answers."

Last week, over 100 migrants WHO TESTED POSITIVE FOR #COVID19 were released, and @DHSgov needs to provide answers to the American people on why their health was not prioritized and Title 42 wasn't enforced. I led a letter to DHS Secretary Mayorkas seeking those answers. pic.twitter.com/14VFOcoiKb

— Michael Burgess, MD (@michaelcburgess) March 9, 2021

Congressman Ben Cline meanwhile tweeted immigration statistics and added: "Rather than continuing immigration policies that worked, President Biden has done what's politically expedient by opening our border. This will hinder our economic and health recovery from COVID, as well as exacerbate the humanitarian and trafficking crisis @CBP encounters daily."

On March 5, Republican Governor Greg Gianforte of Montana criticized President Biden's immigration plan, saying he was "concerned" for the safety of his state's communities under the federal government's reformed policy at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Last month, nearly 100,000 migrants were detained at the southwest border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents, Reuters reported. The last time this number was above 90,000 was in June 2019.

Biden is facing the first big test of his immigration policy, and more than 3,250 children are now detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. That number has tripled in two weeks.

Migrants come to Brownsville, TX
A migrant family approaches the US border on Gateway International Bridge in Brownsville, Texas on March 2, 2021. Republicans have chastised Joe Biden as the number of migrant arrivals surge at the U.S.’s southern border with Mexico and the president’s immigration policy is scrutinized by lawmakers. Sergio Flores/Getty