Democratic congressman calls on Biden to put a 'pause' on border crisis, as COVID spikes in Texas

Texas Democrat calls for ‘pause’ on migrant releases

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, joins ‘Your World’ to explain plea to Biden, DHS: ‘There are people being released there that might have COVID-19.’

Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar sounded off Wednesday to Fox News amid dueling illegal immigration and pandemic crises in his border county district.

Cuellar, of Laredo, told “Your World” that he has been urging President Biden and the White House to take substantive action to curb thousands of illegal immigrants that are flooding across from Mexico week after week, many of them unvaccinated and untested for coronavirus.

He called on Biden to put a “pause” on accepting or releasing migrants who have been flowing across the Rio Grande in record numbers so that local and state officials can get a handle on the crisis.

“Last week in the lower Rio Grande Valley, [law enforcement] had over 20,000 encounters,” the House Homeland Security Committee member said, adding that he spoke earlier in the day to officials in hard-hit La Joya, Texas.

Cuellar referenced the case of a motel in the city that is housing illegal immigrants brought there by a charity, despite some testing positive for coronavirus. Neither city officials nor law enforcement were notified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or the charity.

As Fox News previously reported, the charity rented the entire hotel for COVID-positive migrants, and local officials only found out when a civilian patronizing a nearby restaurant alerted them to people wheezing and coughing unmasked. A sergeant with the La Joya Police Department said his barracks were never otherwise notified.

“[W]hen Border Patrol drops folks off at a charity, the charity gets overloaded and then they drop [the migrants] off at a hotel without telling the local officials,” Cuellar said. “That’s not right. The charity needs to tell the local officials especially if there are COVID-positive.”

“It’s not fair to by local communities, people being released there that might have COVID-19,” Cuellar continued. “We need to just make sure that we communicate with each other … What I’m asking of the Biden administration is to do a pause.

“Do a pause. They need to prioritize border communities, they need to prioritize the men and women of DHS. They need to prioritize our border communities and DHS.”

Host Charles Payne went on to note that “Your World” reached out to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, but did not hear back by airtime.

Cuellar added that local residents and Border Patrol officers are at risk of contracting COVID-19.

“Remember, those men and women have families. If they get sick and go home to the families, it’s not fair to their families and certainly not fair to the border communities to leave people that are sick and not even tell the local communities like La Joya,” he said.

DHS had announced that as of July 31 they would be considering ending Title 42 enforcement – a policy invoked by President Trump that allows for the expulsion of foreign nationals from places where there is a risk of communicable disease. However, a recent NBC News report said that decision is now “in flux.”

“I told the White House that they have — they’re deporting people under Title 42. I support Title 42 especially right now,” said Cuellar. “They need to publicize and show images of people being deported: Because I ask you, Charles, have you seen one single picture of somebody being deported? No. I haven’t seen one. I see people coming in. But we’re not showing people being deported.”

“These numbers are not stopping and with all due respect to the administration, they need to put a pause on this now for the sake of our border communities,” he stressed.

Biden had spent Wednesday touring Mack Trucks’ main assembly plant in Lehigh County, Pa., where he touted union labor and his infrastructure package, calling on entities like the Macungie factory to “buy American.” 

Fox News’ Rich Edson contributed to this report.

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