Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar Accuses John Cornyn, Ted Cruz of Using Border as Political 'Prop'

Texas Democratic Representative Veronica Escobar said Senator Ted Cruz and the other GOP senators who visited the U.S. southern border are acting out "political theater," politicizing what would otherwise be a serious humanitarian issue.

Escobar, who represents Texas' 16th District, a post formerly held by Beto O'Rourke, told the Daily Beast that the 18 Republican senators who toured the border last week are the same people who've failed to solve the immigration problem. Escobar said the "vast majority" of former President Donald Trump's policies are still in place and that Republicans are simply trying to blame the crisis on his Democratic successor, President Joe Biden. Escobar said the Washington GOP lawmakers only toured the Mexican border in Texas Friday as a means of scoring political points with their conservative base—they have no interest in helping to solve the problem they helped create.

"I think there are 18 senators that are parachuting into Texas and that delegation is led by [Texas GOP Senators] John Cornyn and Ted Cruz," she told the Daily Beast in an interview published Sunday. "These are people who are about to engage in political theater, use the border as a prop, [and] do a whole lot of complaining and finger-pointing. But these are the same people who've been in the Senate for a number of years."

"They were in the Senate when their party had control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. They did not solve this problem," she added.

Last week, Escobar hosted a bipartisan delegation in El Paso, Texas, which visited a U.S. Border Patrol Processing Center and met with federal and local government officials who are trying to deal with the massive influx of migrants arriving at the border. Cruz on Friday posted a video to social media which should "thousands of kids" crowded into a migrant detention facility. He joined fellow Senate Republicans in accusing Biden of being too soft on illegal immigration policies in contrast to Trump's hard-line rhetoric and stances.

But Escobar said that with the exception of the child separation policy, Trump's directives are overwhelmingly still in place at the southern border.

"It didn't stop people from coming," she said. "They had their chance to govern. They chose not to."

Escobar penned a piece in 2014 entitled, "Why the Border Crisis Is a Myth," which posited that Washington lawmakers are capitalizing on anti-immigrant beliefs in order to justify increasingly restrictive policies. She rejected the GOP claim that Trump had a "hard-line" approach to immigration, instead, she argued, the former president was simply "cruel."

"What has happened repeatedly from Washington has been this idea that if we could just tough enough on the border, all of our immigration challenges will go away," she continued. "The walls kept getting bigger and taller and thicker and uglier, [with] investments in drones and personnel. Enter Donald Trump and his cruelty and dehumanization. What we now know after four years of some of the most draconian immigration policies is unless you address the root causes, you're not going to change things much."

Newsweek reached out to Escobar's congressional office for additional remarks Monday morning.

veronica escobar texas democrat
Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas votes to approve the first article of impeachment against President Donald Trump on December 13, 2019 in Washington, D.C. On March 29, Escobar said the "vast majority" of former President Donald Trump's immigration policies are still in place and that the GOP is simply trying to blame the crisis on President Joe Biden. PATRICK SEMANSKY - Pool/Getty Images