Arizona GOP Rep: Biden 'culpable of child abuse' for fueling border surge with weaker enforcement

"I don't understand why the president of the United States would incentivize people to travel thousands of miles," Rep. Lesko says.

Arizona Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko linked President Biden's reversal of the Trump administration's border enforcement policies to the current surge of illegal immigration at the southern border, arguing Biden is "culpable of child abuse."

"Last time I went down to the border, I talked to the sheriff of Yuma County. We're right by the river, the border between Mexico and the United States, and right there was a date tree farm and he told me, 'You know what, Debbie? We get called here all the time because women, illegal immigrant women, are getting raped,' " Lesko said during a news conference Wednesday about the record number of unaccompanied minors coming to the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. 

"I don't understand why the president of the United States would incentivize people to travel thousands of miles – children, minors, traveling thousands of miles. I believe he is culpable of child abuse because his policies are incentivizing these people to travel at the hands of the dangerous cartel," she also said.

Biden has implemented executive actions that rolled back many Trump-era immigration policies, including the "Remain in Mexico" policy that required asylum seekers encountered at the border to wait for their court hearings in Mexico. 

A total of 25,000 migrants are being transferred in phases into the U.S. after Biden's elimination of the "Stay in Mexico" policy.

According to local media reports, some of the migrants who were transferred to the U.S. and released later tested positive for COVID-19. 

Biden also restored the so-called Obama-era "catch and release" policy that allows illegal immigrants caught at the border to be released into the U.S. to await their court hearings. Biden has also released an immigration reform plan that would offer a path to citizens for illegal immigrants living inside the U.S.

Lesko said the White House is wrong to characterize Republicans as "just critical" and lacking solutions when it comes to immigration policy.

"That is totally false," she said. "We have had legislation. I have had legislation. I've reintroduced it this year; that would help solve this border crisis. But you know what? Democrat (Judiciary Committee) Chairman Jerry Nadler wouldn't hear it last year and I bet he's not going to hear it this year either."

Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy told reporters he was in Laredo on Tuesday and saw 15 apprehensions of illegal immigrants, but border agents could not stop others from crossing illegally into the country. Roy said he encountered one agent who was solely in charge of monitoring a 3-mile open stretch of the border that lacks an existing physical barrier. 

"Americans, listen to me, your border is wide open. It is being exploited by cartels right now," he said. "Today, fentanyl, dangerous narcotics, opioids are getting driven up between the ports of entry, exploiting wide open borders. Border Patrol is outmanned, outgunned. You've got a 70-mile stretch in Laredo with two miles of navigable road."

Roy argued that Biden and Democrats in Congress support weaker enforcement policies at the border and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants as a way to grow the Democratic Party's base.

"The Biden administration doesn't give a wit about the actual immigrants," he said. "They want political benefits for the Democratic Party. That's it and nothing more, because if you actually cared about immigrants, you wouldn't allow them to be abused by cartels on a journey so that you can try to get more voters or say that you're pro-immigrant in the false name of compassion.

"But that is what the Biden administration, that is what Nancy Pelosi, that is what Chuck Schumer is doing today, and real people get hurt. These are human beings, American citizens who are having their ranch's run over, houses broken into, high speed chases, people getting absolutely destroyed along the southern border."

Roy pointed out that the Democratic mayor of Del Rio said they've got a crisis on their hands at the border.

"Where are the Democrats?" Roy asked. "They don't care. They literally do not care about what's happening on our southern border."