MCALLEN, Texas (KFOR) – Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma and 18 of his U.S. Senate colleagues traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border Friday to spotlight what they say are border security issues caused by the Biden Administration.
The group of Republican senators, with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas acting as the lead, went down to the border as part of their response to a recent surge of migrants at the southern border.
Lankford, who went to the border on a day-trip, and his colleagues toured a Temporary Processing Facility in Donna, Texas, which he previously visited in 2019, according to a news release issued from his office.
He posted a comparison of the visits on Twitter.
The delegation also toured the Pharr International Bridge and ended the day by touring Anzalduas Park’s riverine with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Lankford said he watched people cross the border illegally while he was participating in night border tour with border patrol agents Thursday night.
The senators are blaming the migrant surge on President Joe Biden.
Biden held his first presidential news conference on Thursday and defended his border policies, insisting that the breakdown at the border was the fault of his predecessor President Donald Trump’s policies.
“It’s because of lack of food, it’s because of gang violence,” he said.
Biden denied accusations that his past remarks caused the surge.
Thousands of unaccompanied minors are among the migrants.
Biden also said nearly every U.S. president deals with the migrant surge issue at some point during their presidency.
“Does anybody suggest that there was a 31% increase under Trump because he’s a nice guy?” Biden asked.
Biden also said his administration is working to house and feed minors who came to the border alone, but that a large majority of the people crossing the border are being sent back.
Cruz blasted Biden during a new conference Friday, claiming to have seen migrant children caged in cramped conditions in the Donna facility. He referred to those cages as “Biden Cages.” Cameras were not allowed in the facility to verify whether children actually were kept in such conditions. Cruz also blasted what he said was the Biden administration’s refusal to allow camera’s in the facility while he and fellow senators toured it.
Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar toured a South Texas facility on March 12 and said migrant minors were not being kept in cages.
Cuellar and Republican Sen. John Cornyn visited a detention facility for migrant teens in Carrizo Springs, Texas, which 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.
Cruz, three years ago, defended the Trump administration for separating migrant parents from their children when caught crossing the border illegally.
“There’s actually a court order that prevents keeping the kids with the parents when you put the parents in jail. So when you see reporters, when you see Democrats saying don’t separate kids from their parents, what they’re really saying is don’t arrest illegal aliens,” Cruz said to Dallas public radio station KERA in June 2018. That quote is featured in article by The Dallas Morning News.
Many of the minors separated from their families during the Trump presidency were kept in cages.