FIRST ON FOX: Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy calls for meeting with President Biden following “alarming” figures at the border that showed more than 192,000 encounters of migrants in September.
“I am writing to re-express my deepest concern about the crisis at our southern border and to request an urgent meeting to discuss this crisis,” McCarthy wrote to Biden in a letter on Saturday obtained by Fox News.
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McCarthy wrote to Biden after new figures from Custom and Border Protection (CBP) showed there was only a slight decrease in encounters with migrants in September compared to the more than 200,000 seen in July and August.
This means that there were over 1.7 million matches in fiscal 2021, marking a new annual record. Republicans have sounded the alarm not only on the numbers, but also on fears that suspects on the terrorism watch list could overtake the overwhelmed border patrol agents.
“These statistics are alarming,” McCarthy said. “CBP has arrested more than 1.4 million people illegally crossing the border since you took office, and the total number of encounters this fiscal year is at an all time high. There is no doubt that there are an unprecedented crisis, which I am determined to work with your administration to resolve.
The Biden administration acknowledged the situation to be a challenge, although rarely calling it a crisis, but blamed the increase on factors such as the closure of legal asylum routes by the Trump administration. He also focused on “root causes” like poverty and violence in Central America.
Republicans, meanwhile, pointed to the end of Trump-era policies such as the construction of border walls and migrant protection protocols – which kept migrants in Mexico pending their hearings.
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In addition, GOP lawmakers have also highlighted efforts by Congressional Democrats to include either a path to citizenship or some form of legal status for those already in the country illegally in a budget reconciliation bill.
While those efforts have so far been shot down by Senate MP, Senator Bob Menendez, D-NJ, this week introduced a “Plan C” that would use parole to grant legal status to an estimated eight million. illegal immigrants.
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While such proposals are unlikely to apply to new illegal immigrants, Republicans have said such proposals would act as another pull factor for migrants north.
McCarthy warned Biden on Saturday that such inclusions in the bill – which wouldn’t need Republicans’ support to pass – would only exacerbate the crisis.
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“As the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, I am opposed to any provision of mass amnesty within the framework of the reconciliation bill currently being debated between members of your party,” he declared. “By enacting amnesty and other federal benefits for illegal immigrants, you will incite even more illegal migrants. This policy would worsen the border crisis.”
McCarthy concluded his letter by stating that the border crisis “transcends party lines” and “will force us to work together to resolve it.”
“It starts with a recognition of the crisis and a willingness to resolve it,” he said.
Griff Jenkins of Fox News contributed to this report.
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