Texas GOP Rep. Chip Roy attacked his Democratic colleagues for not passing legislation, he argues, that would alleviate the immigration crisis and said they do not actually care about the conditions illegal migrants are living in.
Roy asked Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan a series of questions about the immigration crisis during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing Thursday.
The Texas lawmaker brought up funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) beds, the Flores settlement and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).
McAleenan said reforms to all of these things would dramatically change the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border. However, Roy said House Democrats are not pushing legislation to address these issues.
“So for Flores, TVPRA or money for ICE, the things that we know would solve the problem and largely address the crisis, you are not anticipating that that will be brought to the floor of the House of Representatives this next week before we adjourn for the August recess?” Roy asked.
“I don’t see any legislative action that would make that possible at this time,” McAleenan said.
Customs and Border Patrol agents — shackled with laws that were designed to quickly process single, adult males from Mexico — are not able to manage the unprecedented number of Central American family units and children arriving by the tens of thousands. Leaders within DHS have long argued that changes to the Flores settlement, among other things, would minimize the border crisis, allowing immigration officials to better process the high volume of families arriving. (RELATED: The Most Heroic Child Rescues Made By Border Patrol Agents)
The recent supplement funding bill Congress passed allocated billions of dollars to immigration agencies. However, Democrats refused to fund more funding for ICE detention beds and have bucked calls to change the Flores settlement.
“Which begs the question, ‘Why?'” Roy said Thursday. “And I’ll tell you why. It is because my Democratic colleagues don’t give a damn about our national security or the migrants coming here, and they prefer to use children as political props.”
Roy’s comments came as Democratic members on the Oversight Committee used their time to hammer the DHS chief over child separation policies and allegations that migrants in Border Patrol custody are subjected to abhorrent conditions. While Democrats attempted to frame DHS as a purveyor of child separation, a Thursday report from Republicans on the House Oversight Committee reveals that 95% of children separated at the border have since been reunited with their family.
Chairman Elijah Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, suggested during the hearing that agents have an “empathy deficit” for illegal migrants.
In response, Ranking Member Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, presented committee members with a picture of a Border Patrol agent medically treating a small migrant child.
“I just wonder, why would an agency, if they have a deficit of empathy, create a border search, trauma and rescue team to try to protect people that are making this dangerous crossing?” McAleenan said in response to the image. “Where is the deficit of empathy there?”
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