Congressional caucus furious with Obama after border tour
Members of the Border Security Caucus bashed the Obama administration on Friday for dismantling immigration policies.
Five Republican representatives spent the day touring the Rio Grande Valley section of the U.S.-Mexico border. They said that in speaking with U.S. Border Patrol agents and the Texas Department of Public Safety, they had learned details about illegal immigration the White House has been reluctant to share.
"Despite the story the Obama administration is telling, illegal border crossings remain abnormally high," Caucus leader Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas said in a press conference after the tour.
The Department of Homeland Security's latest numbers show a 150 percent increase in the number of migrant families apprehended from fiscal year 2014 to 2015.
Reps. Diane Black of Tennessee, and Michael Burgess, Blake Farenthold and Sam Johnson of Texas accompanied Smith on the trip, but it wasn't the first visit to the border for any of the members.
"While this certainly wasn't my first trip to Texas' southern border, the new surge of illegal aliens over the past few months is why I made this trip today. It's no secret that Obama's lawless executive amnesty is having devastating impacts not only on Texas border cities but across the country," Rep. Johnson said.
Some said they recommitted themselves to their constituents after relearning how border issues affect interior states.
"We've known all along that our border was not secure and that the Obama administration's immigration policies were failing to uphold the rule of law. Now, I have seen the impact of that with my own eyes," Rep. Black said. "Tennessee may not be a border state, but President Obama's unwillingness to combat the crisis of illegal immigration is felt throughout the country, including in states like my own."
The number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border has doubled since last year, an issue Rep. Burgess said is having an effect on his congressional district.
"As Texans know all too well, the haphazard opening of our borders has caused total chaos with the influx of unaccompanied minors and strained our local communities in a truly troubling way," Rep. Burgess said.
The caucus members added that the administration is ignoring all of these problems, but there was no disputing what they witnessed.
"We must take the situation at the border very seriously and the current administration is not doing that," said Rep. Farenthold. "To be here and see firsthand, to talk to the agents face-to-face, it is clear the administration is not giving agents the tools they need to do their job effectively and safely."