Border crisis will only get worse in coming months: Texas Rep. McCaul

Rep. Michael McCaul on "This Week."

March 21, 2021, 12:32 PM

The surge of migrants at the southern border will get more dire in the coming months, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said Sunday on ABC's "This Week," adding that he predicts 1 million people could try to cross the border by the summer.

"I was chairman of Homeland Security, and as a federal prosecutor down here -- it's going to get worse. It's going to get a lot worse. Springtime, summer, more and more come over," McCaul told "This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz. "I predict a million people trying to get into this country by the summertime."

McCaul told Raddatz that the Biden administration created the crisis at the border.

"I think they've created the crisis," McCaul said to Raddatz. "He says he has a plan. I haven't seen a plan."

PHOTO: Rep. Michael McCaul attends a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, Dec. 9, 2020.
Rep. Michael McCaul attends a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, Dec. 9, 2020.
CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, FILE

"This is a humanitarian crisis. We see the children and the babies. We're going back to separation of families, and the traffickers are separating the children from the families, and we're going back to catch-and-release, and we're going back to kids in cages all over again," he added.

McCaul said the rhetoric coming from the Biden administration, namely Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, is irresponsible, pointing to Raddatz's interview with Mayorkas earlier in the program.

"And the reason why they are coming, is because he says words do matter," McCaul said of Biden. "And they do. The messaging is that, 'if you want to come, you can stay.' When Mayorkas says, 'We're not saying don't come at all. It's don't come now,' very irresponsible rhetoric for Secretary of Homeland Security to say."

Mayorkas told Raddatz that the Biden administration is working to reverse damage done by former President Donald Trump.

"Why is it especially challenging and difficult now? Because the entire system under United States law that has been place throughout administrations of both parties was dismantled in its entirety by the Trump administration," Mayorkas told Raddatz. "So, we are rebuilding the system as we address the needs of vulnerable children who arrived at our borders. And that is what it is all about. It’s about vulnerable children."

Raddatz asked McCaul about what the Biden administration needs to change regarding messaging in order to try and slow the surge at the border.

"I think it's too little too late," McCaul said. "So until this policy changes, I would urge the administration revisit the migrant protection protocols, this worked and was very effective."

Raddatz pressed McCaul on the ramifications of those protocols. A Human Rights Watch report on the policy, which sent asylum seekers to Mexico while the United States processed asylum requests, had "serious human rights consequences."

"Human Rights Watch says because of that policy, they have consistently found that migrants in Mexico are exposed to rape, kidnapping, extortion, assault, and psychological trauma. Nearly half of those interviewed said Mexican police immigration agents or criminal groups targeted them for extortion. How is that a good policy?" Raddatz asked.

"Well it's a good policy because it deterred. Deterrence is a key here," McCaul said.

"We want to work on private investments in Central America to get to the root cause," he added.

Raddatz challenged McCaul on his "no" votes in the House on pieces of legislation that would provide pathways to citizenship for undocumented children. The House took up the legislation last week, and passed it nearly along party lines, with nine Republicans crossing the aisle to vote in favor of the legislation. McCaul, who voted against its passage, said when pressed on his votes the bills didn't address some of his chief concerns.

"Why shouldn't undocumented children, who were brought to this country as children, no fault of their own, be given some rights toward citizenship?" she asked.

McCaul said those pieces of legislation don't address some parts of the problem and would continue to send the wrong message, if passed.

"We had -- the majority had -- a legalization for the DACA kids, a legal path. We had a guest worker program as well. And unfortunately, immigration is obviously a very difficult topic, but the point is Martha, neither one of those bills addressed this problem," McCaul said. "They have nothing to do with this, and they won't solve this problem. In fact, again going back to deterrence and messaging, it sends the exact wrong message," McCaul said.

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