House Republicans are increasing their calls for Congress to take up border security legislation ahead of the midterm elections, arguing that the Biden administration’s policies have led to an uptick in illegal immigration and fentanyl being brought into the country through Mexico.
GOP lawmakers emerged from their House conference meeting Wednesday urging action to prevent President Joe Biden's administration from lifting the Title 42 public health order, which has allowed for the swift removal of migrants during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the surge at the border being a key issue as election season begins to heat up, GOP lawmakers have hammered Democrats on the policies they allege are responsible for the uptick in individuals attempting to enter the country illegally. While a handful of centrist Democrats have suggested that the policy be left in place until 60 days after the federal COVID-19 health emergency is lifted, conservatives have argued that it does not go far enough to address the problem fully.
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Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who is leading the efforts on a discharge petition in an effort to force a vote to keep the policy in place, accused Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas of “brazenly” lying “under oath to the American people saying that he and this administration have operational control of the border in the House Judiciary Committee.”
“He's telling the American people a lie, and they are supposed to detain under the law. And he has no excuse for nondetention, and as a result of his actions and the president's actions, people are dying, including American citizens and migrants," Roy said. "We're here to stand up for the forgotten Americans right now.”
“We're taking it on the chin, and we're actually standing up for migrants who are being abused in the policy of compassion. We're not going to continue to stand by while this country is invaded," he continued. "And that is what is occurring — empowering cartels harming Americans and harming migrants because of this administration's purposeful actions.”
Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-TX) argued that Democrats should be put on the record on the issue, adding that the conditions in which migrants have been seen attempting to enter the country are a humanitarian problem.
“You know Congress has an equal branch of government, and we have a plan. This isn't a Republican issue, [and] it isn't a Democrat issue. It's an American issue, and it starts right here in Congress," Gonzalez said. "It starts right here in the House of Representatives. And I think it starts by keeping Title 42 around. We're going see how committed are the Democrats to ensuring Title 42 stays around.”
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While Republicans are calling for action to keep Title 42 in place, the GOP faces an uphill battle in securing the 218 signatures needed to bypass Democratic leadership to bring the bill to the floor.