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Monday, October 3, 2022
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Texas Congressman Gonzales Says Border is ‘Furthest Thing from Secure’

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U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales | Image by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

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U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District appeared on Fox News on Sunday to discuss the ongoing influx of asylum seekers and unlawful migrants at the border.

Gonzales refuted a statement made last week by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that the border is “secure.”

“It’s the furthest thing from secure,” Gonzales said. “I represent 42% of the southern border. There’s certainly no one in my district who thinks it’s secure.”

Secretary Mayorkas made his statement while speaking at the Aspen Security Forum, where he was asked about the situation at the southern border.

The secretary acknowledged that the situation is a “historic challenge” but still affirmed that the border is “secure.”

“Look, the border is secure,” he said. “We are working to make the border more secure.”

Mayorkas questioned why Congress is not working to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package.

“I have said to a number of legislators who expressed to me that we need to address the challenge at the border before they pass legislation and I take issue with the math of holding the solution hostage until the problem is resolved,” he said.

“There is work to be done,” he said before clarifying that “safe and secure are two different words.”

“There are smugglers that operate on the Mexican side of the border and placing one’s life in their hands is not safe,” he said.

Despite the disagreeing viewpoints between Gonzales and Mayorkas, the two previously held a meeting to discuss strategies to improve the border situation.

“About three weeks ago, Secretary Mayorkas came to my office in D.C., we sat, and we spoke about a few things. I asked him for one thing in particular: to help with this crisis. That’s repatriation of flights out of Del Rio, Texas. Those are essentially flights for folks that do not qualify [for] asylum, which are about 95% of migrants coming over. They get put on a plane, and instead of getting sent to another I.C.E. detention in the United States, they get sent back to their country of origin. It’s the only way this goes away,” Gonzales told Fox News host Trey Gowdy.

Gowdy then asked about the struggles acknowledged by Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser regarding migrants being bused into the nation’s capital from Texas and Arizona and allegedly straining local social services and budgets.

Gonzales responded that Democrats have no one to blame but themselves.

“Of course, we’d seen these Democrat mayors and other folks complain about it, because it’s pure chaos. What you are seeing is Democrats control the House, they control Senate, and they control the White House. They created this problem,” Gonzales said.

The congressman lamented the lack of bipartisanship in addressing the border crisis.

“It’s a one-off. You will never see Nancy Pelosi here. You will never see AOC and some of these others, but I think that is what it takes to say, ‘How do we put our politics aside and roll up our sleeves for [the] betterment of everyone?’ I think it can happen, but you know better than anybody else how difficult it is to work in that lane,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales was asked how it would look if Republicans had control of one chamber of Congress or even both.

“I think it starts with us earning the trust of Americans. We saw a little taste of that, especially Hispanic-Americans are coming over in droves to Republican Party. I’m thinking we have an opportunity to change the scope of the party and politics, not for just this year but decades to come,” Gonzales said.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released its June monthly report last week, revealing that there were 207,000 unlawful migrant encounters at the border in the month, compared to just over 189,000 in June last year. The report shows there were 105,161 unlawful migrants removed from the U.S. last month, including 92,273 expelled under the CDC’s Title 42 order. Another 79,652 migrants were processed and released into the U.S.

With June’s numbers, there have now been 1,746,119 encounters at the southern border in the 2022 fiscal year, surpassing the 1,734,686 encounters during the 2021 fiscal year with still three months remaining for the year.

DHS Secretary Mayorkas Mayorkas has repeatedly defended his agency’s handling of the border crisis. In April, he told lawmakers that he inherited a broken and dismantled DHS already under strain and that “only Congress can fix” the situation at the border.      

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