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GOP senators blast Biden Administration during partisan immigration discussion

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:50 PM MST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Congressional Republicans continue to blast the Biden Administration on immigration policy. GOP senators held a roundtable discussion Wednesday on the situation at the southern border.

For three hours Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) lambasted the Biden Administration’s policies at the Southwest border which has seen a surge in migrants in recent months. Johnson invited eight panelists to give testimony, ranging from former border officials to parents to elected leaders.

“These are real impacts. This is a federal issue, not a local issue,” said Yuma, AZ Mayor Douglas Nicholls.

Nicholls says his border city is handling a historic volume of people flowing through the area. He says the uptick is hurting his community financially.

“The brunt of the cost of illegal immigration needs to be carried by all the communities across the nation, not just small local border communities,” said Nicholls.

Johnson and his GOP colleagues accuse the administration of lying about the severity of the situation, which the Republicans argue was better under President Trump despite the former president facing his own immigration surge in 2019.

“This was under control. This didn’t have to happen,” said Johnson.

The White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Nanci Palacios, an immigration advocate from Faith in Action says there is not a crisis at the border and those who say there is are focusing on the wrong issues.

“Until we can fix the issues of why people need to flee their countries and leave into another country to seek refuge then I think people are going to continue to come,” said Palacios.

Palacios argues people are fleeing dire situations in their home countries regardless of administration, like Haitians dealing with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. Palacios says these asylum-seekers deserve to plead their case, work their way through the immigration system, and potentially earn a pathway to citizenship.

“Immigrants coming here are not coming to ask for anything different than they have been coming to ask in the past,” said Palacios.

While Johnson’s office put on this event, it wasn’t officially sanctioned by a Senate Committee. He says he would like an official hearing on the situation at the border.

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