Cuellar says US should show deportations to get people to stop coming
Rep. Henry Cuellar said Wednesday he's been releasing videos and photos from the detention centers where migrant children are being held at the border because the public should know what's happening, but he thinks images of people being deported should be shown through the Biden administration in an effort to warn migrants away.
"I'm not talking about the kids, but you know, most of the people that are coming in, we return them under Title 42," said the Texas Democrat said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "Under the Obama administration, I worked with (Homeland Security Secretary) Jeh Johnson. We returned families safely, safely to Honduras, and we had safe centers where they would be returned. If you don't show a message that people are going to face consequences, of course, they're going to come over...we would take this risk also if we knew we were going to get across and it was only a speed bump to come across the border."
But when potential migrants see that people are being released, which happened this weekend, "that just incites them to come over," said Cuellar.
Meanwhile, he said he also shared images of overcrowding in 2014, and he is "doing it again because people need to know how the kids are being treated," said Cuellar.
He refused to blame agents with Customs and Border Patrol for the overcrowded conditions because they are "not assigned" to take on the role of caring for children.
He does, however, think the media should be allowed to enter the facilities.
The Biden administration, which is sending administration leaders and members of Congress to one of the border sites for a tour this week, has said the media will have limited access during that tour.
Cuellar said that he was at one of the shelters where teenagers are being held, and he was told that back home, they see images on television about migrating, and have been subjected to "very aggressive messaging" from drug cartels and criminal operations pushing them to head north.
"Every time they bring somebody, they make $6,000, average," Cuellar said of the traffickers. "So imagine we had about 100,000 people in February. That's $600 million for one month. That's a lot of money, and that's the profit."
He added that it is harder for him to get information from the U.S. government on the immigration situation than it is from his sources in Mexico, and "I sit on the Homeland Appropriations (Committee). "
But if the United States starts to "play defense on their 20-yard line, work with Mexico, Guatemala, and Central America, to work with them to keep people from coming over here, we are going to stem this," said Cuellar.
"They need to be direct and say don't come, and then they have to show images, images of people being returned," said Cuellar. "I'm not talking about the kids. Once the kids are in our custody, we take care of the kids like they're our own kids. But again, we have to stem the tide of people coming in." (Emphasis added.)
That would be a more effective message than what Biden has been doing. I suspect Biden fears doing that would be an admission of his screw-up on the border. Here is more from Cuellar.