House

Texas Democrat points to 'severe burdens' from spike in immigrants in appeal for Harris border visit

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) wrote to Vice President Harris on Tuesday saying the spike in immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has created "severe burdens," while calling on her to visit the area.

In his letter, a copy of which was shared with The Hill, Cuellar called on the administration to create a "sustainable system of humanitarian aid" to address the situation.

The letter was first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday.

"The rapid rise in the number of migrants arriving at our Southern Border has placed severe burdens on our communities," Cuellar wrote.

"The situation on the border will only worsen, as more migrants are expected to arrive," he continued. "The Administration needs to take a proactive approach to create a sustainable system of humanitarian aid and relieve everyday Americans of that responsibility."

Cuellar, who represents a border district, further told Harris "it is critical that you meet with local stakeholders and residents, consider their concerns, and use their lived experiences to implement more effective policies."

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

Cuellar, a moderate, told The Hill in a brief interview that all he wants is for the vice president to hear the concerns of border communities.

"All we're asking is for her to sit down with judges, mayors, sheriffs, land owners, small business folks, [non-governmental organizations] on the border, just to hear their perspective, because people are frustrated of what's happening down in the border," Cuellar said.

The Biden administration has faced bipartisan criticism over its handling of the southern border.

According to data released last week, border officials encountered 180,034 people seeking to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in May, the highest number yet this year.

President Biden placed Harris in charge of addressing the root causes of migration to the U.S. border in March. But though she recently visited Central America as part of her work on that issue, Harris has faced growing backlash over not visiting the U.S.-Mexico border itself.

Former President Trump on Tuesday announced plans to visit the border with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) later this month in a bid to call out Biden's handling of immigration.

Cuellar said the pending trip highlights why Harris should visit the border.

"All we're going to hear is just the Republican 'We have open borders, we have open borders. The borders are not safe.' And when you add President Trump, that is going to highlight the message that the Republicans have," he said. "So yes, it puts some accent, exclamation point on why the vice president should come and visit us."

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