LAREDO, Texas (Border Report) – A bipartisan Texas two-some of Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar toured a South Texas facility on Friday where unaccompanied migrant children are being held, and then they held a roundtable discussion with border leaders in Laredo in which Cornyn compared the immigration situation on the border to a “Category 5 hurricane.”
After the 90-minute roundtable, Cuellar announced in a press conference that the Texas capital city of Austin is joining the list of cities where undocumented migrants are being released by federal officials. Citing officials with ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, Cuellar said if the migrants are processed through the South Texas detention facilities in Karnes City and/or Dilley they are heading to Austin.
“We were told this morning, confirmed that they are dropped at San Antonio and Austin. This is from ERO,” Cuellar said.
Cuellar who is vice chairman of the House Appropriations Homeland Security Committee expressed frustration that the Biden administration is not being as transparent or forthcoming with information to local border officials, or the public. And he said they need to tell border communities, and U.S. citizens what is really going on as migration rates surge on the South Texas border.
“I think people need to know. Because I saw that under Obama. I saw that under Trump and now I’m seeing it under Biden where they start releasing people into neighborhoods and bus stations and people need to know. And I don’t care if it’s a Democratic or Republican president, they need to let the communities know and work with the cities and the NGOs,” Cuellar said.
The two – which repeatedly stressed that they represent both sides of the political aisle – said they came down to be the eyes and ears for the public.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks to media on Friday, March 12, 2021, at Texas A&I University in Laredo, Texas. (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez)
On Friday morning, they visited a detention facility for migrant teens in Carrizo Springs, Texas, where they said has 952 beds ready to accept unaccompanied children ages 13-17. The facility is run by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
They said the daily cost is $800 per bed and the federal government is required to pay for all beds, whether filled or not, and that brings the monthly price tag to $1 million.
Cuellar said they spoke to several migrant children who came because they had heard from others in Central America that the U.S. border was open under President Joe Biden. And he said that is part of the problem that is drawing thousands to the border right now.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection this week released apprehension statistics from February that showed over 100,441 migrants were taken in by Border Patrol agents along the Southwest border, and Cuellar said much of that is happening in South Texas. And because of Mexican officials in the state of Tamaulipas refusing to accept back children under “tender age” of 7, hundreds of families with young children are being released each day from detention facilities and from Border Patrol custody.
The unaccompanied minors, however, are kept in Carrizo Springs, which is about 225 miles north of McAllen, Texas, and Cuellar said they are given schooling, have access to legal services, given medical care and are “tested several times” for coronavirus.
“No they are not held in cages but they are well kept,” Cuellar said.
But the real concern for border communities, and those receiving released migrant families, however, is that those families are not being tested for coronavirus by CBP officials who have told Border Report they lack the resources to do so.
Criticism has been mounting as Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has refused federal resources to administer and send additional COVID test kits to CBP and Border Patrol agents. And during a visit to the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday he reiterated that he does not believe that is the state’s responsbility.
This is just flat out false.
"108 migrants released during the past month have shown to be carrying the coronavirus, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, said Wednesday."
The border crisis won't be properly addressed with media outlets spewing falsehoods.https://t.co/UNcgQ2ayuA https://t.co/u6qxBtly8g
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 14, 2021
Cuellar said in the past he has worked in DC to pass legislation for an “end-around” Gov. Abbott – such as 2019 when he was able to get FEMA funds to reimburse border communities and nonprofits for helping migrants, despite Abbott’s refusal to send the FEMA monies.
Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz was among the 25 leaders who attended the roundtable discussion at Texas A&M International University, which included representatives from nonprofits, city managers and clergy. Saenz said that lawmakers in Washington need to pay more attention to border communities, which are suffering from collateral damage.
Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz tells media on Friday, March 12, 2021, during a news conference at Texas A&I University that his city needs more information and resources from Washington, D.C. to handle the migrant surge during this pandemic. (Border Report Photo/Sandra Sanchez)
“Usually what Washington structures by way of policies we’re the recipients of it. We usually take what Washington does and we suffer the consequences,” Saenz said. “It’s a tug of war and the border usually feels those pains and repercussions.”
“It’s a tug of war and the border usually feels those pains and repercussions.”
Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz
Saenz said Laredo currently is receiving about 75 undocumented migrants from CBP officials per day, but they fear it could be hundreds per day soon.
Cornyn said he spoke with a caretaker of the children in Carrizo Springs who likened the immigration situation to “a Category 5 hurricane in the Gulf with tropical storm-force winds on the coast.” And to that, Cornyn said of the situation: “It’s coming. Everyone we’ve heard from today said this is just the beginning unless we step up and do something about it.”
A Republican-led delegation is expected to tour El Paso on Monday and Cuellar said a Democratic-led delegation is expected to tour South Texas within the next month.
Border Report has requested a tour of the Carrizo Springs detention facility but HHS officials said that due to the coronavirus pandemic they are not allowing media to tour the facility.
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Senator Henry Cuellar,” “I think people need to know. Because I saw that under Obama. I saw that under Trump and now I’m seeing it under Biden where they start releasing people into neighborhoods and bus stations and people need to know”. Yep Cuellar, blame Trump, as Trump wanted the border sealed. You, Cuellar, refused to appropriate money for the border wall, you phony hypocrite. Then there is Senator Cornyn, who is nothing but an open borders RINO, yet this clown shows up at the border, showing his phony “concern” for the open borders we have. Give me an airsick bag.
THE ONLY place they should be released, is out of the back end of a C-130, from 20,000 feet up, over their home nations!
Oh, and parachutes are not required!
All they are concerned about is their re-election for more terms of office – screw the country.
Please use my tax money to charter busses for transportation of illegals to CA NY DE and DC. I’m quite sure the ruling politicians of these states are waiting with open arms for new recruits to join their demonic team.
I’d rather NO ONES TAX money be used to bus them around.
IF LIBERALS WANT THEM BUSSED< they should pay out of their OWN bloody pockets.
Apparently when invaders and MS 13 barbarians are not carrying guns and illegally enter the United states – the GOP becomes confused over how an unarmed criminal can be a threat – that’s what it is like in the RINO GOP that hopes to win votes form Americans who want the border wall built.
Good news is that the RINO supported by so called Liberal Christian are engaged in a suicide pact.
Is thsi why the FBI say Evangelical Christians are America Greatest threat?
Biden opens border to show that Evangelical Christins raising support for Illegal migrants males Crstians a threat.
Remember Dems will spin it into whatever they want
IMO EVERY church “Raising funds’ to help illegal invaders, SHOULD BE CHARGED with a crime, for aiding and abetting illegal aliens. ONE COUNT PER ALIEN they help.
The “highly efficient” federal government is paying $800 a day. The finest luxury hotels plus deluxe room serve is far less.
Stupid is as stupid does…and never learns anything from bad decisions…never ever.
Sending them to Texas is Biden’s way of getting back at Governor Abbott for being outspoken against him.
IT certainly seems suspect, THIS MASS RUSH seems to MOSTLY be happening in Texas.. i’ve seen even two reports of it going on in AZ. BUT NOT FROM CA OR New mexico.
Yes Henry Cuellar is NOW complaining but when Trump was president he did everything in his power to prevent the wall from being built. The mayor of Laredo did the same and went so far as to sanction the painting of the street in front of city hall with DEFUND THE WALL. So now they think they have the “huevos” to complain about this. They are the ones who caused this. Henry likes to say he’s a blue dog democrat but the important thing is that he’s a Pelosi democrat and just voted to make hunting in south texas even more difficult with new gun laws and expand Obamacare. What a pendejo