Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday blamed President Biden’s “sweeping left-wing amnesty plan” for fueling the escalating migrant crisis on the southern border — and said it sidelined the interests of American workers, Fox News informed.
“Just six weeks into unified Democratic government, we already have another crisis brewing on our southern border,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.
The Republican leader noted stats showing a surging crisis at the border, with Customs and Border Protection making 78,000 encounters in January, while the numbers of unaccompanied children are also rising.
The Biden administration has been scrambling to cope with the crisis, building two facilities to process migrants in Texas, and a separate one to house unaccompanied minors — even as it resorts to releasing migrants into the interior, a practice that was ended by the Trump administration in 2019.
The Biden administration has pushed back on the claim that it is a crisis, with DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas describing it as a “challenge” rather than a crisis.
He said instead that the Department of Homeland Security is working to “replace the cruelty” of the Trump administration with “an orderly humane and safe immigration process.”
“Well if this isn’t a crisis, with unaccompanied kids pouring in and exceeding capacity amid a pandemic, then I’d sure hate to see one,” McConnell responded.
The top Republican accused Biden of weakening border security with moves like the rollback of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — which kept migrants in Mexico as they awaited hearings — but also said the recent U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 was partly responsible.
That bill, proposed by the administration and introduced by congressional Democrats, would grant an eight-year path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants amid a slew of changes to the U.S. immigration system.
“We’re not just talking about the fine details of border policy. The big backdrop behind this whole discussion is the sweeping left-wing amnesty plan that the Biden Administration unveiled before they were even sworn in,” McConnell said.
He went on to say it was an approach backed by the “far left” and big business interests: “As for the best interests of American workers — well, that’s not as trendy a cause in certain circles.”
“It’s not fair to American citizens and workers,” he said. “But neither is it fair to the people who are being lured into a humanitarian crisis in the middle of a pandemic because they believe this Democratic administration just conspicuously turned on a neon ‘Vacancies’ sign.”
McConnell’s is the latest criticism from Republicans of not only the moves at the border by the administration, but also the immigration bill — which appears to have a difficult path to passage, particularly in the Senate where it needs 10 Republican votes.
McConnell’s remarks come days after former President Donald Trump tore into Biden for his moves to undo Trump-era policies on immigration at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“It took the new administration only a few weeks to turn this unprecedented accomplishment into a self-inflicted humanitarian and national security disaster,” he said. “By recklessly eliminating our border, security measures, controls, all the things we put into place, Joe Biden has triggered a massive flood of illegal immigration into our country like we’ve never seen before.”