GOP Rep. Mayra Flores, whose husband is a Border Patrol agent, accused the Biden administration of being indifferent about ending the border crisis as it nears the beginning of a third year of record-high encounters of noncitizens illegally entering the United States from Mexico.
“The Biden administration has stated that he doesn’t care about South Texas. He doesn’t care about the border crisis — that there [are] more important things,” Flores said during a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday. “He is a disgrace. He should be ashamed of himself and resign.”
A day earlier, a Border Patrol agent working less than 10 miles from the edge of Flores’s 34th Congressional District died as the result of an all-terrain vehicle accident. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency that oversees the Border Patrol, said the agent had been in pursuit of a group of suspected illegal immigrants around 1 a.m. local time when the agent crashed into a gate.
“How many more Border Patrol agents do we have to lose?” Flores asked. “For every one of y’all, they’re just Border Patrol agents, but to us they’re friends. They’re my husband’s colleagues. I have never been afraid [for] my husband’s life. He could be next. I have thought about it, ‘What am I going to do?’ I have four kids. I can’t do this alone. I need my husband. We need our husbands. We need our spouses. And we need the Biden administration to care for them.”
Flores won a special election in June for a seat held by Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela but lost in November to incumbent Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D), who left his constituents in a neighboring district to run for one more favorable to Democrats. Flores was the first Mexican-born woman elected to Congress.
As a Mexican-born lawmaker, Flores said Mexicans were also frustrated with the influx of immigrants traversing through the country to reach the U.S. The Mexican cartels that facilitate smuggling in return for thousands of dollars per person smuggled have gained more control of the country as they rake in billions of dollars annually.
“The criminal organizations have completely destroyed Tamaulipas, my home state that I love. My grandparents still live there. These are my families. The Mexican people also want peace. They don’t want this president to continue doing what he’s doing. He’s hurting them as well,” Flores said. “I have family in Tamaulipas that I can’t visit because I am afraid.”
The State Department has posted the highest travel warning for Tamaulipas, citing violent crime and kidnapping. Tamaulipas is directly south of Texas, making it a hub for cartels smuggling immigrants through the state because it is the shortest route from Mexico’s southern border to the U.S.
Flores said despite the dangers that immigrants are fleeing, the U.S. government has actually made it harder for people to legally seek refuge at the nation’s ports of entry. A pandemic public health policy known as Title 42 barred U.S. border officials from allowing asylum-seekers to seek help at the ports, prompting many to go around the port and cross into the U.S. illegally.
“He’s made it harder for migrants to come into the United States legally, but has made it easier for people to come to this country illegally — knowing the dangers, knowing that women and children will be abused and raped,” Flores said.
Flores joined the Texas delegation during an announcement Thursday morning outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, debuting a four-prong plan to reverse the record-high number of people encountered illegally crossing the southern border over the past two years.
“We know this border better than anybody. We live it,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the former House Homeland Security chairman. “When they say every state’s a border state, I don’t think so. We get overrun every day by the cartels, the criminals, the drugs, the fentanyls [sic], the human trafficking.”
“In the new majority, we’re going to fix it once and for all,” McCaul added.