Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn will lead a Senate delegation to the border next week, as Republicans are ramping up the pressure on the Biden administration for what they say is a crisis fueled by the administration's own immigration policies.
"The crisis at the border is the direct result of the Biden administration's failed immigration policy," Cruz tweeted Tuesday.
The lawmakers will lead a delegation to tour the Texas-Mexico border, and will include a roundtable with local stakeholders, their offices said.
Migrant numbers have been escalating dramatically in recent weeks. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered more than 100,000 migrants in February, and numbers of unaccompanied children in custody have tripled.
The administration has been increasing facility space, both by opening more facilities and removing COVID-19 capacity restrictions, but Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday said the situation was "difficult" as he warned that the U.S. was on track to encounter more migrants than in the last 20 years.
Republicans have pointed to Biden moves to rollback the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) – which kept migrants in Mexico for their immigration hearings – the stopping of wall construction and reduction of interior enforcement for encouraging the surge.
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., announced he would be going on the tour "to see firsthand the damage of @JoeBiden's open border policies."
Republicans have called for hearings into the crisis, while border states have sued the administration for its guidance that limits Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) priorities for arrest and deportation.
Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee visited the border over the weekend – ahead of Mayorkas testifying before the Committee on Wednesday.
"The bottom line is what they're doing isn't working. And I think we should sit down together and figure out a way to fix this. But to just unilaterally get rid of all this stuff has caused a huge crisis on the southern border," Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., said. "You have kids, but you have unaccompanied minors coming across some numbers we haven't seen. And by their own admissions, it's going to be a 20-year high. It's a crisis. And they created this crisis and they should roll it back."
Mayorkas released a lengthy statement on Tuesday defending the administration’s policies and suggesting it would not be changing course any time soon.
"The situation at the southwest border is difficult," Mayorkas said. "We are working around the clock to manage it and we will continue to do so. That is our job. We are making progress and we are executing on our plan. It will take time and we will not waver in our commitment to succeed."