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Rashida Tlaib: Border surge a crisis that's not 'going to go anywhere'

"Doing nothing has consequences," said the Michigan Democratic representative.

Updated: March 23, 2021 - 10:16pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib said the migrant surge at the U.S.-Mexico border is a "crisis" that's not going anywhere, and "doing nothing has consequences."

Tlaib was asked if she thinks the surge of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border occurring under President Biden is evidence that his handling of the border is not working.

"So as a mother, all I can say is we need to lead with compassion, these are children that are forever, for generations, are going to experience a trauma that none of us would ever want to see a human being go through, let alone a four-, a five-, a six- or seven-year-old child," Tlaib said during a news conference where she announced the reintroduction of her Automatic BOOST to Communities Act (ABC) with Minnesota Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Tlaib, who has supported abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the past, said she plans to go to the border to learn more about the situation and possibly come back with "requests of moving towards" a different direction. 

"This is not an issue or crisis, I think, that's going to go anywhere," she said. "I mean, the last nine months, we continue to see these surges, these increases of these children coming across our border wanting a better life, and that is something that we need to figure out. How do we truly address that? Because doing nothing has consequences.

"When we do nothing about some of the harms that we have done in Central America, and doing nothing about addressing some of the economic hardships that many of the families are going through; addressing a number of things that I think our country could have been a tremendous partner for or, again, a lot of that is result of either doing nothing or doing the wrong thing." 

The number of migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally is on pace to become the largest surge in 20 years.  Many GOP lawmakers have said that Biden's elimination of former President Trump's immigration enforcement policies has fueled the influx of illegal immigration happening now at the border. 

Tlaib argued that the U.S. doesn't have a "humane" immigration system. 

"This is an issue that I've dealt with from the first day of coming into Congress, of not only caging up these children, but also that we haven't been able to have a humane, just immigration system in our country," she said. "It is a nightmare for immigrants, even those that have not come across, that have been living as my neighbors for 20, 30 years now with no pathway. 

"I'm going to lead with compassion. I think that's why it's so important for myself as a child of immigrants and for others like me, to bring our lived experiences as we try to develop policy and approaches that I think will meet the need right now of addressing this issue that I think all of us could be very much proud and very much be able to support. But again, doing nothing is not the answer." 
 

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