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Texas House Republicans release border security plan

House Television via AP
In this image from video, Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, April 23, 2020.

House Republicans in the Texas delegation on Thursday released a framework of proposals to curb the migration surge at the southern border.

The four-pronged plan aims to “Complete Physical Border Infrastructure,” “Fix Border Enforcement Policies,” “Enforce our Laws in the Interior” and “Target Cartels & Criminal Organizations.”

Specifically, measures proposed include resuming the building of a border wall system, boosting retention of Border Patrol agents, barring federal grants from going to non-governmental organizations that support and assist U.S.-bound migrants, reforming the asylum system to “limit asylum to those with actual fear of persecution,” and designating cartels as foreign terrorist organizations. 

“Our Texas delegation is committed to using every tool and authority at our disposal to hold President Biden, [Homeland Security] Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas, and this entire administration accountable for their dereliction of duty to support our state leaders in their efforts to defend Texas in the face of this clear and imminent danger and to put the policies in this framework into place that will protect our citizens and secure our sovereign border,”  Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) said at a press conference on Thursday.

The plan, they said, is a continuation of the House GOP’s “Commitment to America” policy and messaging framework that was released before the midterm elections.

“We know this border better than anybody. We live it,” Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said. “They say, ‘Every state’s a border state.’ I don’t think so. We get overrun every day by the cartels, criminals, drugs, fentanyl, the human trafficking.”

The plan comes as an immigration deal is in the works in the Senate, proposed by Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). That plan aiming to attach a boost in border security funding to a pathway to citizenship for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or “Dreamers.” 

Texas House Republicans shot that deal down.

“People run to go do games and fill in the blank to go cut some deals ahead of time. We need to restore regular order in this place and start with the ways that we can actually solve the problem,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said. “We know we need to deal with immigration issue. But we need to secure the borders right now.”

Rep. Mayra Flores (R-Texas), an outgoing representative who was born in Mexico, blamed the Biden administration and Democrats for not doing more.

“Now you’re remembering about DACA?” Flores said. “Stop using this issue, stop using us to get our vote. And then you toss us aside. I think exactly what the Democratic Party has been doing.”

Arrington said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House GOP leadership may not know all the details of the Texas GOP delegation plan, but that they are generally supportive and “expect Texans to be at the fore of leading these this fight and the policies that need to be put in place.”

Every GOP member and member-elect from Texas signed on to the plan except for Rep. Tony Gonzales.

Tags Biden Jodey Arrington Mike McCaul Thom Tillis
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