Republicans take political theater and fear-mongering to the border

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Republicans in Texans have increasingly escalated their rhetoric blaming the Biden administration for an increase in people crossing the border into the United States. This weekend, the two Senators from Texas led a delegation to the border and fanned the flames even further.

Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. John Cornyn were joined by seventeen other Republican Senators in the Rio Grande Valley. They were planning to participate in a midnight patrol with border agents and to tour a facility in Donna, Texas.

Cruz filmed a late-night video for his Twitter account at the Rio Grande River, where he claimed to be able to see and hear smugglers and human traffickers taunting border patrol agents. He also called on the Biden administration to “stop sanctioning lawless chaos on our southern border.”

Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, also echoed Cruz’s comments about hearing taunting from the other side of the Rio Grande River. Collins was later challenged by Rep. Veronica Escobar to actually talk with vulnerable migrants who have been impacted by the Migrant Protection Protocols from the Department of Homeland Security which were implemented during the Trump administration.

Cruz and Cornyn have loudly criticized the Biden administration for policies they claim have led to an increase in border crossings. However, there has been a steady rise in border crossings since last October.

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference in front the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, which is holding about 1,700 immigrant teenagers. He warned that the influx of teenagers from Central America could lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Abbott defied guidance from organizations like the Center for Disease Control (CDC) when he recently lifted the mask mandate in Texas.

Democrats, led by Rep. Joaquin Castro, also had a delegation in Texas over the weekend. Castro was joined six other Democratic members of Congress who toured the Carrizo Springs facility, currently housing unaccompanied minors.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, originally from Somalia, spoke outside the facility about her own experience coming to the United States as a child. “What I want to remind people is that when my father was making a decision for me at the age if eight to flee conflict, he was making a decision for me to live,” said Omar.  

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