U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee suggested the Biden administration’s approach to the worsening migrant crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border is not showing many signs of success, though she also criticized the Trump administration’s policies as “cruel and inhumane.”
In an interview with MSNBC, the Texas Democrat initially dismissed criticisms of President Joe Biden’s immigration policies as “talking points” for the 2022 elections, adding that as a long-serving member of Congress and the Homeland Security Committee, she has seen many migrant surges before.
But later, Jackson Lee said that the plan being implemented by the administration “does not look like it’s working.”
“[N]ow Jonathan, we have a situation that is a humanitarian concern,” she said. “We do have issues with any number of children. The numbers are coming up, but I will say that the Biden administration has met with members of Congress. They have a plan. The plan does not look like it’s working at this time, but you have to get it implemented.”
She went on to discuss elements of the plan, which she said includes “isolating” migrants and children due to COVID-19.
“[W]e need to put in more resources so that our asylum protocols can go quickly and those that do not meet the standards — they have to be returned safely and securely,” Jackson Lee added.
“But what the administration is saying is that they’re not going to cage children. They’re not going to turn children back to their deaths. They’re not going to have young girls, 13 years old, subject to rape and pillage,” she continued. “And so it does look a little unseemly. But these are human beings. And so, they’re not coming to endanger our lives. They’re coming basically to save their lives.”
Jackson Lee also falsely accused the Trump administration of not trying to reunite migrant children with their parents.
“This narrative has been dispelled on numerous occasions. DHS has taken every step to facilitate the reunification of these families where the parents wanted such reunification to occur,” DHS spokesperson Chase Jennings told conservative media talk show host Glenn Beck in October.
“The simple fact is, after contact was made with the parents to reunite them with their children, many parents have refused,” Jennings added. “In the current litigation for example, out of the parents of 485 children whose plaintiff’s counsels have been able to contact, they have yet to identify a single family that wants their child reunited with them in their country.”
“The result is the children remain in the U.S. while their parents remain in the home country. The reunification process is a whole of government approach involving [Customs and Border Protection], [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], and [Health and Human Services],” said Jennings.
Matthew Tragesser, chief communications specialist for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), explained the reason why reunification doesn’t always occur is because “the parents of these migrant children willingly separated from their child at the southern border in order for their child to obtain a better life in the United States.”
“A 2019 Los Angeles Times piece further proves this theory where it reveals that ‘migrant parents stranded on [the]border send kids across alone,’” Tragesser continued. “Yet, there remains little to no blame on the parents for their decision making.”
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