Rep. Banks calls on Biden administration to combat ‘humanitarian crisis’ at southern border


Young minors lie inside a pod at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley run by the US Customs and Border Protection, (CBP), in Donna, Texas on March 30, 2021. – The minors are housed by the hundreds in eight pods that are about 3,200 square feet in size. Many of the pods had more than 500 children in them. The Biden administration on Tuesday for the first time allowed journalists inside its main detention facility at the border for migrant children, revealing a severely overcrowded tent structure where more than 4,000 kids and families were crammed into pods and the youngest kept in a large play pen with mats on the floor for sleeping. (Photo by Dario Lopez-Mills / POOL / AFP) (Photo by DARIO LOPEZ-MILLS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – “A humanitarian crisis” is what Congressman Jim Banks (IN-3rd) said he witnessed during his visit at the US-Mexico border.

Rep. Banks told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that President Joe Biden is directly responsible for what’s happening at the border.

The chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) went to Texas with eight of his collogues from the RSC on what he called a “fact-finding mission.” While he was there, he spoke with Border Patrol agents, sheriffs, local law enforcement, mayors and judges to find out what policies are creating this “humanitarian crisis” and how can he fix it.

“Almost every single person that we talk to told us that the border was under control before Joe Biden took office, under Donald Trump’s watch,” Banks said. “Bre, as I was touring the detention facility in the Del Rio region in southern Texas at the border. I saw young kids who were around the age of my daughters. They were scared. I saw a family, a pregnant mom, a husband, and two little kids… seeing the fear in the eyes of those little kids in this detention facility is just…it’s an absolute shame.”

President Joe Biden and his administration have been under attack due to the massive increase of migrants at the border seeking refuge. According to the official statistics released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), in the month of March, the CBP stated it has encountered a 71% increase of migrants trying to enter the southwest border compared to February 2021. Based on the study, the numbers have been rising since April 2020 due to reasons which include violence, natural disasters, food insecurity and poverty in Mexico and the Northern Triangle countries of Central America.

However, Rep. Banks said this is a result from President Biden of reinstituting “the catch and release policy.” This is when migrants are released back into the United States while awaiting a hearing in immigration court, opposed to being held in an immigration detention center or sending them back to their native country.

This is not the first time the Navy Reserved Veteran visited the border. Last year he traveled to part of the border in Arizona. He said what was astonishing about the trip to Texas was “the number of illegals” coming across the border.

“When I asked the question in a roundtable discussion with sheriffs, mayors and judges about what can Congress do to fix this, a judge turned to me and said, ‘with all due respect Congressman, we don’t have time for members of Congress to go back and argue about this and pass laws in Washington. This is a crisis that we’re dealing with right now, and we need the resources to deal with it,'” Banks reflected. “That was an important moment for me to recognize just how bad this is.”

Rep. Banks gave credit to the Republicans and Democrats who visited the border but believes it is alarming that President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have not made the trip.

“Vice President Harris, who President Biden appointed to confront this crisis, she has not been to the border, even though it’s her job. She was appointed over a couple of weeks ago to be in charge of coming up with a plan to fix what’s going on at the border,” Banks said. “I’m calling on all three of them, President Biden, Vice President Harris and Speaker Pelosi, to get down to the border right now to see how bad this is.”

Banks believes that the people in Fort Wayne should care about what is happening at the border because illegal drug are coming to communities in northeast Indiana, leaving a devastating impact.

He added that since Congress is back in session, he will be working with his colleagues to focus on policies that can introduce legislation to secure the border and give border patrol agents and local law enforcement officials the resources that they need to combat this crisis.

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