Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sent a letter to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Thursday, urging him to consider a proposal from Texas’ attorney general to aid the staggering humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.
In the letter, Cruz said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson should examine the proposal from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Cruz argued the proposal would allow Texas to take “decisive action” to help prevent thousands of unaccompanied minors from flowing over the border.
Abbott, a Republican who is currently running for governor, asked Johnson for $US30 million in border-security resources last week. Border Patrol in Texas has recently reported a 92% increase in minors being apprehended at the border.
“Preventing people from illegally immigrating to the United States should be the primary purpose of Customs and Border Protection,” Cruz wrote in his letter. “And, although this critical task is primarily a federal responsibility, Texas is prepared to take action to gain control of our borders.”
Every day, hundreds of children are crossing the border, mostly making their way from violence-stricken areas in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The causes for this influx are many, but a large portion are children fleeing increased drug and gang violence.
In his letter, Cruz attributed the flood of people illegally crossing the border to the Obama administration’s immigration policies, which he characterised as an “outright refusal to enforce the law.”
“The Obama Administration’s outright refusal to enforce the law is causing chaos for those of us who live and work in border states that must deal with the surge of immigrants who are illegally arriving each day,” Cruz wrote.
The influx of immigrants have overwhelmed Border Patrol resources in the Rio Grande area, causing many migrants to be sent to processing facilities in Texas and Arizona. However, most of the detention facilities are not designed for long-term residency, creating a nightmare situation for officials trying to relieve the backlog — and for the immigrants who find themselves living in overcrowded, run-down conditions
The full text of Cruz’s letter is below:
Dear Secretary Johnson:
Each day, hundreds of unaccompanied children enter the United States after being handed to dangerous human smugglers. Along the way, those children are sometimes abused, sometimes sold into prostitution, sometimes recruited by drug cartels, and sometimes even killed. Those who make it are now being housed in United States military installations in Texas, California, and Oklahoma.
While we are obligated to keep those children safe, we are also obligated to stop more children from risking their own safety and being forced into such a terrible situation.
Without a doubt, the growing humanitarian crisis at our border is a direct consequence of the Obama Administration’s refusal to secure the border. Children are pushed into the hands of criminals because the Obama Administration has made it clear to the world that any child who arrives, regardless of whether they are granted formal legal status, will be permitted to stay in the United States.
The Obama Administration’s outright refusal to enforce the law is causing chaos for those of us who live and work in border states that must deal with the surge of immigrants who are illegally arriving each day. When last we spoke at the Senate Judiciary Committee in June, I was disappointed that you were unwilling to acknowledge how the Administration’s policies have contributed to the crisis.
For decades now, Congress has mandated that the federal government secure the border, and yet the number of persons arriving illegally in the United States has grown from around 8.5 million in 2000 to around 11.5 million today.
Increasingly alarming statistics demonstrate how our porous borders are leaving Americans vulnerable to crime and even terrorism.
As the Department of Homeland Security is aware, 1,918 individuals from special interest countries were apprehended on the southwest border between FY2006 and FY2011, and according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, six of the eight major Mexican drug cartels have command and control networks operating in the state.
We have seen the rise of drug cartels that make between $US19 billion and $US29 billion annually from U.S. drug sales, and one study has estimated that some 10,000 women from southern and central Mexico are trafficked to the northern border region annually to be sexually exploited.
Last year Border Patrol rescued 2,346 people in danger, encountered 461 assaults, and sifted the rubble of 445 senseless deaths.
I am writing to urge your full consideration of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s letter of June 12, 2014, in which he proposed the State of Texas be empowered to take decisive action to secure the southwest border during the present crisis brought on by the arrival of roughly 50,000 unaccompanied minor children.
Preventing people from illegally immigrating to the United States should be the primary purpose of Customs and Border Protection. And, although this critical task is primarily a federal responsibility, Texas is prepared to take action to gain control of our borders.
Should it be determined that implementation of this proposal would require action by Congress, I stand ready and willing to do my part to protect our citizens and prevent any more children from falling into the hands of notorious human smugglers who often kidnap, rape, abuse, and murder them.
To that end, I request a prompt response detailing your thoughts on Attorney General Abbott’s proposal.
All the best,
United States Senator
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