HARLINGEN, Texas (NewsNation Now) — A delegation of 19 Republican U.S. Senators led by Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn of Texas toured the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday night.
The Senators arrived in the Rio Grande Valley to tour alongside Border Patrol agents. The senators wanted to see for themselves, and show the nation, what agents experience daily, NewsNation affiliate KVEO-TV reported.
“They’ll have cartel members who’ll throw rocks at them, they’ll have cartel members who’ll shoot at them, and that’s a regular occurrence in terms of the dangerous environment these Border Patrol agents are operating in,” Cruz said.
Cornyn spoke to KVEO, who went on the tour with the delegation, on the importance of those wanting to migrate to the United States to do so legally.
“We encourage people to get in line and enter the country legally. We’re the most generous country in the world when it comes to legal immigration, but this is dangerous to the people who turn themselves over, unaccompanied children, and the family members,” Cornyn said.
He added illegal immigration does nothing but “enrich criminal organizations.”
Sens. Cruz and Cornyn were joined by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).
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Their visit comes amid a partisan divide on how the Biden administration is responding to the migrant situation at the southern border.
During a news conference held Wednesday, Cruz said the Biden administration created the border “crisis.”
“He halted construction on the wall, reinstituted ‘catch and release,’ and ended the Remain in Mexico policy. This crisis is getting worse and worse by the day,” said Cruz at the news conference.
President Joe Biden addressed the migrant crisis during his first news conference on Thursday.
He defended his handling of a rise in migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the vast majority are turned back and that some families had been allowed into the country because Mexico would not accept them.
Biden also said the increase in arrivals was part of a seasonal trend and happened under former President Donald Trump.
“All the policies that were underway were not helping at all,” he said.
“If you take a look at the number of people who are coming, the vast majority are being sent back… thousands… tens of thousands,” Biden said. “They should all be going back.”
All except unaccompanied minors, he said.
“The idea that I’m going to say, which I would never do, that if an unaccompanied child comes to the border that we’re just gonna let them starve to death and stay on the other side. No previous administration did that either, except Trump,” he said.
NewsNation affiliate KVEO-TV contributed to this report.