That attention fell on Banks, who chairs the Republican Study Board, and about two dozen Republicans who joined the trip he organized to see the border crossings firsthand. GOP lawmakers walked a path frequently taken by migrants crossing the border in La Joya, Texas on Tuesday night, a new experience for most of them.
Republicans briefly accompanied migrants traveling on a gravel road after crossing the Rio Grande. Some were children joined by their mothers, while others were traveling alone.
At one point, Reps Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) And Mary Miller (R-Ill.) Got out of their vehicles to walk with the migrants, asking them questions which were translated by a Spanish-speaking member of the media who covered the trip. This group said they were from Guatemala and were planning to surrender to border patrol officers.
Republicans should cite their moving moment as they hammer home the Biden administration over policies they say have intensified a dangerous border environment, including strengthening drug cartels and endangering uninvited migrant children. accompanied. But Democrats are not backing down from this fight, harshly pushing back a legacy of immigration from Trump widely ridiculed for his separation from migrant families at the border.
“If Republicans were serious about border issues, they would join President Biden and the Democrats in cleaning up the mess they left behind, creating a safe and humane immigration system and finally enacting government reform. immigration, ”said the Democratic National Committee Rapid Response Director Ammar Moussa said in a statement. “Anything less is political theater.”
This week’s GOP border trip was already in the works when Vice President Kamala Harris announced she would be traveling to El Paso, Texas to observe the situation. Republicans had repeatedly attacked her for not visiting the border after assuming an immigration leadership role for Biden’s White House, and they responded to her trip by claiming that a visit to El Paso was avoiding the most serious problems visible in the McAllen area.
Biden and Harris “have sworn they will protect and defend the Constitution and obey the law and enforce the law,” Representative Brian Babin (R-Texas) told reporters after the GOP group arrived on Tuesday night. opened up our border, encouraging people to migrate here and take an extremely dangerous hike. “
Several migrant children on the hike crossed paths with Republicans on Tuesday evening, holding small backpacks and carrying papers explaining the reason for their trip. The children sat or slept on the wet grass, waiting to be treated and loaded onto a bus.
One child, an 8-year-old lying on the floor, told lawmakers through an interpreter that he crossed the border alone in hopes of reuniting with his mother and brother who were already in the United States .
Miller looked visibly upset as she listened to the boy’s story.
“Since the administration says it is unable to control this, then by definition it has confessed to an invasion,” said Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). “They have been unable to meet their constitutional requirement.”
Issa was one of many outspoken pro-Trump conservatives who joined the trip to Texas hosted by Banks, whose GOP’s largest caucus in the House.
“A lot of members asked if they could join us” after Trump accepted Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) invitation to the border, Banks said of his fellow Republican House members. “We didn’t distribute it widely.”
The former president attended a briefing with Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday afternoon ahead of his scheduled visit to the border barriers.
Trump is using his trip to Texas both to defend his tenure in the White House and to serve as a test for future campaign themes. During the briefing, he touted the symbolic and functional utility of a wall along the US-Mexico border and linked China to the introduction of illegal drugs into the country.
At times Trump has deviated from the subject in his false claims that the presidency was stolen from him and laments that New York City election officials spoiled the Democratic mayor’s primary tally, in addition to criticizing Biden for rolling out numerous Trump-era border and immigration strategies.
“We had all of these good policies going, and they were all done,” Trump said. “It’s almost like they’re done because I did it.”
Trump has put the issues together to prove that the United States is in decline under Democratic rule, arguing that “if you don’t have a good election and if you don’t have a strong border, you don’t have a country “.
Nick Niedzwiadek contributed to this report.