(NewsNation) —Republicans and Democrats’ feud over how to handle the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border has left citizens living there feeling like “political footballs” in a back-and-forth game between lawmakers.
As migrant crossings at the Mexican border have spiked to a two-decade high, politicians on both sides of the aisle have lobbed ideas, and criticisms, at each other over how to solve what some are calling a border crisis.
Migrants were stopped at the border 221,303 times in March, which is a 33% increase from a month earlier.
President Joe Biden’s announcement to end Title 42, which was enacted during the pandemic and allowed the U.S. to turn away some migrants seeking asylum at the border, sparked a policy feud between Biden and Texas Gov. Greg Abbot at the border. Abbott briefly imposed extra inspections for trucks at the border, but ended the program after it caused significant supply delays.
Still as migrants arrive in droves at the border, U.S. citizens living nearby feel caught in the middle of political theatre.
The people who talked to NewsNation want to see lawmakers come to an agreement on serious immigration reform to curb some of the issues they’ve been seeing in their towns because of the influx in migrants.
“To provide an orderly, legal way for immigrants to come here legally that our economy needs and our economy wants,” said Hidalgo County, Texas Judge Richard Cortez.
Jeanette Martinez of La Joya, Texas said migrants have knocked on the door of her home asking for water. She says she and her family no longer stay out too late.
Governors from 26 states announced the creation of a “strike force” which aims to end crime at the border by targeting cartels, in an effort to show people they’re paying attention.
The coalition includes border states like Texas and Arizona, but also states distant from the Mexican border like Montana, West Virginia and Alaska.
West Virginia’s Republican Gov. Jim Justice said on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” the coalition began with Abbot and is an attempt to “coordinate ideas” between leaders. He said the topic has become a “political food fight” between lawmakers in Washington D.C.
“Logic and reason just tell us, it’s already a disaster beyond belief, but what is going to happen here is a disaster that none of us can imagine,” Justice said.
Justice said the border crisis was bringing crime and “drugs upon drugs” to the United States and specifically blamed an increase in fentanyl deaths in his state to Mexican border crossings.
“It is all coming from the Southern border, we know where it’s coming from,” Justice said. “There’s drug lords beyond belief that are making money like you can’t imagine off of China. China brining this terrible killer right to us.”
The Drug Enforcement Agency was able to link fentanyl influxes to laboratories in China run by organized crime groups in the country. The Chinese government has cracked down on this in the past and U.S. officials are once again hoping to work with the Chinese on this issue, according to Newsweek.
Justice said America was facing an “avalanche of a problem” if the border wasn’t addressed. He said he joined the coalition to do everything he could to “save America.”
Justice and Cortez were both critical of the idea that Title 42 could come to an end soon.
“I think removing Title 42 is going to encourage other immigrants to come because the fear of them being sent back is gone,” said Hidalgo County, Texas judge Richard Cortez.