Lawmakers concerned about migrant surge, but divided over solutions


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As the Biden administration allowed members of the media inside overcrowded facilities for the first time Tuesday, Republicans are continuing to raise alarms about the surge of migrants at the southern border.

While Democrats agree there are problems to be fixed, the two sides remain divided about how to move forward.

“They’re just simply overran,” said Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., who visited the board last week. “It’s probably three or five times worse, just the number of people in a cell.”

The Donna, Texas, Department of Homeland Security holding facility is at more than 16 times capacity, housing about 4,000 migrants — the overwhelming majority of whom are unaccompanied minors.

“President Biden needs to tell them (migrants headed toward the U.S.), ‘Stop. Please stop coming right now. … You’re endangering the life of your children,'” Marshall said.

He and other Republicans argue Biden, a Democrat, must reinstitute Trump-era immigration policies to deter migrants.

The Biden administration says it is addressing the surge by working to open more holding facilities, process children faster and invest more money in the countries that see the largest numbers of their citizens flee to the United States.

“This is not simple. It’s is a very tough problem,” Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill, said.

She and fellow Democrat Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri say the administration is making the right long-term investments to resolve immigration problems.

“What we’re going to have do is go to Guatemala, Honduras … and say to the leadership there: ‘We’re going to help you develop economically,'” Cleaver said.

They say Republicans are playing the blame game.

“That’s not what we need to do to solve this problem,” Bustos said.

“It certainly would be shortsighted for anybody to come to the conclusion … that these problems began in January,” Cleaver said.

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