Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar says southern border ‘is not secure’ amid record apprehensions
This image of Customs and Border Protection officials in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, was taken after a large-scale migrant caravan made its way north through Mexico to the US-Mexican border. (Chris Kraul/Getty Images)
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is “taking all the necessary measures to protect our border.”
But Democrats call for a more aggressive approach.
“The reality of the situation is that the border is wide open and there are large numbers of illegal immigrants crossing every single day,” said Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat who’s leading the way to win his state’s first congressional seat in more than 30 years.
With President Donald Trump threatening a government shutdown in three weeks if Congress doesn’t boost border security, lawmakers and aides say lawmakers should put the need for wall construction — along with border security measures like fencing — on the agenda for the president’s State of the Union address next week.
Cuellar said the southern border “is not secure” and called for more immigration officers at the remote ports of entry and to keep an even larger number of federal agents at the border.
Republican Senator Martha McSally of Arizona, who is running for re-election in 2018, said the president’s rhetoric on immigrants “makes it more critical we provide more security at our border.”
“Unfortunately, the rhetoric from the White House has led to people fleeing their homes and coming to the border looking for protection in the form of a humanitarian crisis in Central America and across the southern border,” McSally said.
Cuellar said “we can only improve the situation if the President will follow through on his promises and take action on the bipartisan border security bill he signed last year.”
The White House said its border security measures could be funded through a temporary spending bill that’s set to be rolled over by Congress. That bill has drawn opposition from Democrats as well as Republicans, including Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona.
A House committee on Thursday approved funding for 3,200 border agents and fencing, including $1.6 billion for more border fencing and $1.5 billion for immigration detention beds. The Senate is scheduled to vote early next month on its version.
It’s unclear if Trump will sign the bill if it passes — but aides say there won’t be a spending bill until he