Cuellar said illegal immigrants have been flooding into his district over the border, and has argued that the U.S. government needs to be much more aggressive in deporting migrants and turning them away if it wants to stem the surge that has been underway since Biden took office.
“I have tried and I have tried and I have tried” to get Biden to do more about the border crisis, Cuellar said. “For many years, I’ve said that we need to make sure we do the right thing at the border.”
“If you don’t deport people, they will see the border as a speed bump,” he continued. “We have to deport people. We have to deport people who aren’t supposed to be here.”
When asked why deportations under former President Donald Trump were fewer than under former President Barack Obama, Cuellar argued that it was “because of the repercussions.”
“You have to have the right repercussions,” he said.
The Texas Democrat stopped short of calling for a physical barrier at the border, but he did say he would like the Biden administration to invest in more personnel, technology and cameras in the area to assist with apprehending illegal immigrants.
“Playing defense on the one-yard line called the U.S. border is one thing,” he said. “We have to play defense on the 20-yard line.”
Since Biden took office, immigration officials have encountered more than 2 million illegal immigrants near the border. During Trump’s presidency in 2019, there were less than 1 million encounters at the border.
“Obviously the border is not secure,” Cuellar said, referring to Vice President Kamala Harris’s recent claim to the contrary.