Chad Wolf leads ex-Trump officials in attacking Biden for firing 32 members of DHS Security Council

Former DHS Secretary Chad Wolf has joined a chorus of ex-Trump officials in slamming the Biden administration for firing nearly every member of the agency’s advisory council in what appears to be a ‘purge’ of Trump-era appointees amid the ongoing border crisis. 

In a letter to the ousted members Friday, DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas announced his plans to ‘reconstitute’ the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) telling them that their roles had ended effective immediately, with only three members keeping their position.  

In the wake of the news, Wolf, who was Trump’s DHS secretary and appointed some of the ousted members during his tenure, hit out at the move saying it would halt ‘important work’ already underway by the council.  

‘While I respect the right for a DHS Secretary to alter the HSAC to address their needs, dismissing the entire council outright and stopping a lot of important work (that was underway) is not the right approach,’ Wolf tweeted Friday.  

The statement comes after Wolf, who had been serving in an acting capacity since November 2019 and was never confirmed by the Senate, resigned in January, just 10 days before Biden’s inauguration. 

He stepped down a day before Trump had planned to tour wall construction on the US-Mexico border – a trip the DHS head would normally take. 

Former DHS Secretary Chad Wolf has joined a chorus of ex-Trump officials in slamming the Biden administration for firing nearly every member of the agency's advisory council

DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas (pictured) announced the mass firing amid the growing border crisis

Former DHS Secretary Chad Wolf (left) has joined a chorus of ex-Trump officials in slamming the Biden administration for firing nearly every member of the agency’s advisory council Friday. DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas (pictured right) announced the mass firing amid the growing border crisis

Ken Cuccinelli, who was among the fired Trump-appointees, said the 'purge' is a sign the Biden administration 'simply won¿t brook any dissent' in their immigration policies. Pictured: Asylum seekers demonstrate at the San Ysidro border crossing on Saturday

Ken Cuccinelli, who was among the fired Trump-appointees, said the ‘purge’ is a sign the Biden administration ‘simply won’t brook any dissent’ in their immigration policies. Pictured: Asylum seekers demonstrate at the San Ysidro border crossing on Saturday

Friday’s mass firing included all Trump appointees including Ken Cuccinelli, the former Virginia attorney general who is a staunch supporter of the ex-president’s hardline immigration policies.  

Cuccinelli on Saturday described the shake up as ‘a good old fashioned purge’ which he claims is part of the Biden administration’s effort to keep information related to the migrants at the border under wraps amid mounting scrutiny from Republicans.

‘It’s a sign they simply won’t brook any dissent. It’s consistent with other things they’re doing like supporting H.R.1 which has free speech limitations, it’s consistent with them not letting media into border facilities,’ he told Fox News.  

‘This is a part of a broader pattern and practice by Biden’s administration of being the most Stalinistic in my adult lifetime.’ 

Cuccinelli added that part of the council’s ‘value’ was that it wasn’t so closely aligned with the Trump administration. ‘But our secretaries did not fire them for that,’ he said. 

Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Thomas Homan, who was among those fired, said his removal did not come as a shock due to his opposing views on the Biden administration’s immigration policies. 

Friday's mass firing included all Trump appointees including Ken Cuccinelli, the former Virginia attorney general who is a staunch supporter of the ex-president's hardline immigration policies.

Thomas Homan, the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Friday’s mass firing included all Trump appointees including Ken Cuccinelli (left) the former Virginia attorney general who is a staunch supporter of the ex-president’s hardline immigration policies. Thomas Homan, the former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (right) claimed the move is an attempt by the Biden administration to suppress border-related information

It comes as the Biden administration - and the DHS - continue to come under scrutiny over their handling of the migrant crisis while thousands continue to make the journey from Guatemala into Mexico and up north to the US each day. Pictured migrants camp out in a park in the Mexican border city of Reynosa, Saturday

It comes as the Biden administration – and the DHS – continue to come under scrutiny over their handling of the migrant crisis while thousands continue to make the journey from Guatemala into Mexico and up north to the US each day. Pictured migrants camp out in a park in the Mexican border city of Reynosa, Saturday 

Migrants disembark in Mexico after crossing the Usumacinta River where it borders with Guatemala

Migrants disembark in Mexico after crossing the Usumacinta River where it borders with Guatemala

Members of the National Guard and agents of the National Migration Institute stand in formation in Tapachula, Mexico, as security forces are deployed at the Mexican border with Guatemala by the Mexican government. The move is part of efforts to cut the flow of US-bound migrants illegally cross its border with Guatemala

Members of the National Guard and agents of the National Migration Institute stand in formation in Tapachula, Mexico, as security forces are deployed at the Mexican border with Guatemala by the Mexican government. The move is part of efforts to cut the flow of US-bound migrants illegally cross its border with Guatemala

‘Border Patrol agents are turning into welcome agents so my role on HSAC would be null because I’m an enforcement guy,’ he told the station. 

‘But yeah I’m surprised that in the middle of this crisis that you get rid of the whole HSAC, because HSAC is supposed to be bringing different ideas from all sides, left and the right and thinking out the box and I’m surprised because the administration needs all the help it can get right now.’

The panel of unpaid members typically works on several projects and offers independent advice to the DHS secretary relating to various issues including domestic violent extremism. 

‘I am considering how the HSAC can bring the greatest value to the Department and how the expertise, judgment, and counsel of its members can be harnessed most effectively to advance the Department’s mission,’ Mayorkas wrote in his letter.

‘I expect to work closely with the HSAC and to rely on its members to help guide the Department through a period of change.’  

It comes as the Biden administration – and the DHS – continue to come under scrutiny over their handling of the migrant crisis while thousands continue to make the journey from Guatemala into Mexico and up north to the US each day.

The only three members remaining following the drastic purge: Chairman William Bratton, Vice Chair Karen Tandy and Chair Emeritus William Webster. 

Former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration Tandy was initially appointed by Secretary Jeh Johnson in May 2016.

Former NYPD commissioner Bratton was appointed by the Obama administration while ex-FBI and CIA director Webster is a George W. Bush-era member appointed in 2003.  

Mayorkas said in the letter, first reported by Politico, he will create a new advisory council in the next few weeks.  

‘In the service of an orderly transition to a new model for the HSAC, I have ended the term of current HSAC members effective March 26, 2021,’ he wrote.  

‘I will reconstitute the HSAC in the next few weeks, once the new model has been developed.’

Mayorkas did not rule out the possibility that some of the fired members could be reappointed to the newly-formed council. 

‘I look forward to working with you in the future, whether as a member of a redesigned and reconstituted HSAC or in a different capacity, as we together seek to advance the Department’s noble mission,’ he wrote.  

A spokesperson for the DHS told Politico the agency is aiming to create a council, which was largely made up of white men, that better reflects the diversity of American citizens including more women, people of color and other underrepresented groups.

The new HSAC will be launched with a ‘diverse membership representative of America and the communities DHS serves’ and will continue to be bipartisan, they said.  

The HSAC website was already updated Friday to display just the three remaining council members and their bios. 

Mayorkas announced the shock move to 'reconstitute' the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) in a letter to the ousted members Friday telling them that their place on the council had ended effective immediately, with only three members kept on in their roles

Mayorkas announced the shock move to ‘reconstitute’ the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) in a letter to the ousted members Friday telling them that their place on the council had ended effective immediately, with only three members kept on in their roles

According to the latest council meeting notes from November, the council had included: Art Acevedo, Steve Adegbite, Jayson Ahern, Stewart Baker, Robert Bonner, James Carafano, Frank Cilluffo, John F. Clark, Sharon Cooper, Mark Dannels, Leon Fresco, James Fuller, Paul Goldenberg, Michael P. Jackson, Tom Jenkins, Jim Jones, Daniel Kaniewski, Cathy Lanier, Carie A. Lemack, John Magaw, Hans C. Miller, Jeffery Miller, Jeff Moss, Chris Nocco, Cynthia Renaud, Robert Rose, Ali H. Soufan, Paul Stockton, Chad Sweet, Mark Weatherford and Brian White. 

A total of 32 members have lost their positions including all Trump-era appointees – as well as more longstanding members from earlier administrations.

Among those now gone are Cuccinelli and fellow Trump ally Thomas Homan – the ex-president’s hardline Immigration and Customs Enforcement director from 2017 to 2018 – in a clear sign the Biden administration is plowing on with its overhaul of the last office’s anti-immigration stance.  

Also gone are at least seven new members appointed in Trump’s final months in office. 

Trump’s Acting DHS Secretary Wolf added Carafano, Fuller, Miller, Nocco, Renaud, Weatherford, and White to the council last May. 

Carafano, a foreign policy expert for the Heritage Foundation and Trump-era appointee, told CBS News the purge came as a shock to many members.    

‘I thought it was the best board we’d ever had,’ he said.

‘It had a lot of strong expertise across the department’s portfolios and competencies. So I’m disappointed.’ 

The purge includes a number of members appointed under Trump including Ken Cuccinelli (pictured), the former Virginia attorney general who is a staunch supporter of the ex-president's hardline immigration policies

The purge includes a number of members appointed under Trump including Ken Cuccinelli (pictured), the former Virginia attorney general who is a staunch supporter of the ex-president’s hardline immigration policies

Also gone is Trump ally Thomas Homan (right) - the ex-president's hardline Immigration and Customs Enforcement director from 2017 to 2018 - in a clear sign the Biden administration is plowing on with its overhaul of the last office's anti-immigration stance

Also gone is Trump ally Thomas Homan (right) – the ex-president’s hardline Immigration and Customs Enforcement director from 2017 to 2018 – in a clear sign the Biden administration is plowing on with its overhaul of the last office’s anti-immigration stance

He warned that ‘politicization’ of the council is ‘the biggest threat to Homeland Security’ as it has typically been made up of both Republican and Democrat appointees. 

‘It has always been a non-partisan board. All of the boards deliberations — everybody left their politics at the door,’ he said.

‘Every day, they just came in and worked on behalf of the department. That’s what I loved so much about it. It was this safe little garden where experts could just focus on the mission.’ 

Former DHS officials and advisory board members told the Washington Post they did not know of any other time where so many members have been dismissed all at once.

Typically, appointees are allowed to serve out their one- to three-year terms when a new administration or DHS chief comes in, and will then be considered for reappointment when the term ends.  

The shock move was slammed by New York Republican Rep. John Katko who said it shows the Biden administration has ‘no intention of upholding a bipartisan, unifying approach to securing our homeland.’ 

‘While these members serve at the pleasure of the Secretary, today’s action sends the message that this Administration has no intention of upholding a bipartisan, unifying approach to securing our homeland,’ Katko, ranking Republican of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement. 

‘The HSAC is not intended to be an echo chamber for what the current DHS Secretary wants to hear. Its mission is to provide a knowledgeable, diverse set of perspectives to combat the evolving threats of today and tomorrow.’   

Chairman William Bratton

Chair Emeritus William Webster

The only three members remaining following the drastic purge: Chairman William Bratton (left), Vice Chair Karen Tandy and Chair Emeritus William Webster (right)

Former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration Tandy (left) is one of the three remaining after she was initially appointed by Secretary Jeh Johnson in May 2016

Former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration Tandy (left) is one of the three remaining after she was initially appointed by Secretary Jeh Johnson in May 2016

Wolf, who was Trump’s DHS secretary and appointed some of the ousted members during his tenure, also hit out at the move saying it would halt ‘important work’ already underway by the council.  

‘While I respect the right for a DHS Secretary to alter the HSAC to address their needs, dismissing the entire council outright and stopping a lot of important work (that was underway) is not the right approach,’ Wolf tweeted. 

The panel of unpaid members typically works on several projects and offers independent advice to the DHS secretary relating to various issues including domestic violent extremism.

In 2019, the HSAC released an emergency report on families and children being held in Customs and Border Protection facilities and recommended how to tackle the crisis at the time. 

Most recently, the council worked on research into Chinese influence on American universities.

The overhaul marks the latest sign the Biden administration will continue to reverse Trump-era hardline tactics in the DHS’s ICE department after the new president signed a sweep of immigration-related executive orders within hours of taking office.  

However the administration – and specifically the DHS – is increasingly coming under fire over the escalating migrant crisis at the US-Mexico border.  

Since Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, the US has seen a dramatic spike in the number of people crossing the border.

There were around 18,000 unaccompanied migrant children held in US federal custody Friday morning, with almost 5,500 in CBP facilities designed for adults.  

New York Republican Rep. John Katko who said it shows the Biden administration has 'no intention of upholding a bipartisan, unifying approach to securing our homeland'

 New York Republican Rep. John Katko who said it shows the Biden administration has ‘no intention of upholding a bipartisan, unifying approach to securing our homeland’

Former acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf (pictured with Trump) blasting it as 'not the right approach'

Former acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf (pictured with Trump) blasting it as ‘not the right approach’

On average, around 523 unaccompanied minors have been apprehended along the border each day over the last three weeks.  

After taking office, Biden lifted the Remain in Mexico policy, which kept migrants south of the border while waiting for their hearings, effectively allowing migrants who have applied for asylum to cross into the UD and begin their legal proceedings.

He also narrowed the ICE’s criteria for arrests and deportations and stopped the building of Trump’s border wall.   

These moves have led thousands upon thousands of migrants pouring into America leaving the border’s children’s centers so full that kids are being forced to spend up to 10 days in cramped detention centers meant for adults and sparking a backlog and logistical nightmare in processing the new entrants.  

On Thursday alone, approximately 6,000 adults and children were apprehended along the southern border, according to a senior official. 

The Biden administration has been slammed for its handling of the issue as officials refuse to call it a ‘crisis’ and have repeatedly denied the media all access to CBP detention centers.   

Republican Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro held dueling tours of lawmakers at the border Friday. 

Senator Ted Cruz and 18 of his Republican colleagues visited the border Friday and released photos and video showing children packed in the cramped conditions.

The Biden administration has been slammed for its handling of the issue as officials refuse to call it a 'crisis' and have repeatedly denied the media all access to CBP detention centers. Migrants line up to be transported by CBP officials to centers

The Biden administration has been slammed for its handling of the issue as officials refuse to call it a ‘crisis’ and have repeatedly denied the media all access to CBP detention centers. Migrants line up to be transported by CBP officials to centers

Republican Senators Ted Cruz held a tour of facilities Friday and said that 'pods' at the Donna center in Texas (above) designed to hold 80 children are packed with more than 700

Republican Senators Ted Cruz held a tour of facilities Friday and said that ‘pods’ at the Donna center in Texas (above) designed to hold 80 children are packed with more than 700

Cruz, Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma and others shared images of a severely overcrowded holding facility in Donna, Texas, where Lankford said ‘pods’ designed to hold 80 children are packed with more than 700. 

‘This is inhumane, it is wrong and it is the direct consequence of policy decisions by the Biden administration to stop building the wall, to return to catch-and-release, and to end the stay-in-Mexico policy,’ Cruz said at a press conference on Friday. 

The night before Cruz led the delegation on a midnight border tour, where he claimed he could hear human smugglers ‘taunting’ Border Patrol from across the Rio Grande.

Meanwhile, Castro led a group of six Democratic House members to a Health and Human Services facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, to ensure children were being ‘treated humanely.’

Castro said ‘nobody should be kept in those conditions,’ but blamed the Trump administration.

‘We need to be clear about something: President Biden inherited a situation where the previous administration had sought to dismantle the infrastructure for processing asylum seekers and settling asylum seekers in the United States,’ he said.   

People travel across the Suchiate River, the natural border between Guatemala and Mexico Sunday

People travel across the Suchiate River, the natural border between Guatemala and Mexico Sunday 

Thousands of migrants continue to cross the southern border of Mexico each day, as entire communities make a living off the passing migrants heading north to its northern border with the US. Migrants disembark on the Mexican side of the border after crossing the Usumacinta River from Guatemala, in Frontera Corozal, Chiapas state, Mexico

Thousands of migrants continue to cross the southern border of Mexico each day, as entire communities make a living off the passing migrants heading north to its northern border with the US. Migrants disembark on the Mexican side of the border after crossing the Usumacinta River from Guatemala, in Frontera Corozal, Chiapas state, Mexico

Migrants cross the Suchiate River from Guatemala and Mexico, as Mexican immigration agents enforce limits on all but essential travel

Migrants cross the Suchiate River from Guatemala and Mexico, as Mexican immigration agents enforce limits on all but essential travel

Mexican immigration agents stop people who crossed the Suchiate River Monday as anyone not permitted to enter is sent back to Guatemala

Mexican immigration agents stop people who crossed the Suchiate River Monday as anyone not permitted to enter is sent back to Guatemala  

On Sunday, the same day Mexico imposed new measures to shut down migrant crossings at its border with Guatemala, 1,200 people made the boat ride at a single remote jungle outpost without showing a document to anyone. Migrants land in Frontera Corozal, Chiapas state, Mexico

On Sunday, the same day Mexico imposed new measures to shut down migrant crossings at its border with Guatemala, 1,200 people made the boat ride at a single remote jungle outpost without showing a document to anyone. Migrants land in Frontera Corozal, Chiapas state, Mexico

Migrants near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, after crossing the border with Guatemala. Mexico wants to again appear cooperative with the US, as in 2019 when, faced with tariffs from Trump, it deployed its newly created National Guard to slow the flow of migrants from Central America

Migrants near Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico, after crossing the border with Guatemala. Mexico wants to again appear cooperative with the US, as in 2019 when, faced with tariffs from Trump, it deployed its newly created National Guard to slow the flow of migrants from Central America

Guatemalan travelers return to Tecun Uman, Guatemala as they wade across the Suchiate River, the natural border between Guatemala and Mexico

Guatemalan travelers return to Tecun Uman, Guatemala as they wade across the Suchiate River, the natural border between Guatemala and Mexico

Thousands of migrants continue to cross the southern border of Mexico each day, before heading north through the country toward its northern border with the US. 

The Mexican government on Sunday announced it was limiting nonessential travel on the Guatemala border, shutting down migrant crossings and deploying security forces to enforce the clampdown in order to cut the flow of migrants. 

But, the same day, 1,200 people made the boat ride at a single remote jungle outpost without showing a document to anyone.

Mexico wants to again appear cooperative, as in 2019 when, faced with tariffs from Trump, it deployed its newly created National Guard to slow the flow of migrants from Central America.

But the reality is it’s business as usual as entire communities make a living off the passing migrants heading north to the US.

Among those crossing Sunday was Yuri Gabriela Ponce, a 30-year-old mother who left Tegucigalpa, Honduras, with her three children, ages 2, 5 and 9, and husband after he lost his construction job and was unable to find another. 

Ponce said Wednesday they were uncertain where to head now that they have reached Mexico.

‘They told us that farther ahead there is a checkpoint and we don’t know what to do,’ Ponce said. ‘I hope that with the children they help us.’

The family left two older children with relatives and were planning to cross into Mexico much farther south, but heard a rumor that criminals were stealing children and killing parents there. 

Migrants sleep under a gazebo at a park in the Mexican border city of Reynosa, Saturday, after being expelled from the US

Migrants sleep under a gazebo at a park in the Mexican border city of Reynosa, Saturday, after being expelled from the US

A park camp in Reynosa, Mexico. Dozens of migrants who earlier tried to cross into the US in order to seek asylum have turned this park into an encampment for those expelled from the US

A park camp in Reynosa, Mexico. Dozens of migrants who earlier tried to cross into the US in order to seek asylum have turned this park into an encampment for those expelled from the US

Central American migrants who managed to cross illegally into the US in order to seek asylum sleep in a park in Mexico after being sent back to the country. A park camp in Reynosa, Mexico

Central American migrants who managed to cross illegally into the US in order to seek asylum sleep in a park in Mexico after being sent back to the country. A park camp in Reynosa, Mexico

Mexico relies heavily on highway checkpoints transiting its narrow southern isthmus to prevent migrants heading north. It stepped up those efforts this week, as well as at airports in the region. A park camp in Reynosa, Mexico

 Mexico relies heavily on highway checkpoints transiting its narrow southern isthmus to prevent migrants heading north. It stepped up those efforts this week, as well as at airports in the region. A park camp in Reynosa, Mexico

Members of the National Guard salute in Tapachula, Mexico during the announcement of the deployment of security forces at the border as part of the new efforts by the Mexican government to cut the flow of migrants north

Members of the National Guard salute in Tapachula, Mexico during the announcement of the deployment of security forces at the border as part of the new efforts by the Mexican government to cut the flow of migrants north 

So they reversed course and came to the remote jungle outpost instead.

Mexico relies heavily on highway checkpoints transiting its narrow southern isthmus to prevent migrants heading north. It stepped up those efforts this week, as well as at airports in the region.

The more than 31,000 migrants the government has tallied so far this year roughly mirror the numbers from early 2019, before Trump forced Mexico to act. 

But Mexico’s migrant detention numbers are more a sign of the government’s effort than a reliable representation of the overall migration flow.

Much of that traffic becomes clandestine in Mexico as smugglers pack migrants into semi-trailers and vans or put them on buses or airplanes with fake documents. Often they only reappear at the US border.

‘The migrants are visible on the Guatemala side, but become invisible crossing into Mexico,’ said the Rev. René Sop Xivir of Jesuit Immigrant Services at the southern border.

On Sunday, dozens of Mexican immigration officials waited on the banks of the Suchiate River 300 miles away, facing news cameras as they turned back mostly Guatemalan shoppers with no intention of migrating.

That show of purpose came days before a visit Tuesday by Biden’s top immigration advisers, seeking to address the growing problem at the border.

‘They want to pretend they are doing operations, for the press,’ Sop Xivir said. ‘In practice there isn’t much control.’ 

————————————————————————————————————————————————————– 

Biden officials tried to muzzle the 18 Republican Senators on Ted Cruz’s border trip by ordering them to DELETE photos of children crammed into overcrowded facilities – but they refused  

Republican senators say a Biden official urged them to delete photos they took of an overcrowded migrant facility they toured at the southern border on Friday. 

Sen. Ted Cruz and 18 of his GOP colleagues inspected a shelter in Donna, Texas, which is at more than 700 percent capacity amid a surge of illegal crossings into the United States. 

Indiana Sen. Mike Braun told The Washington Examiner that the direction came from a Biden aide who accompanied the group on the tour. 

‘There was one of Biden’s representatives. I felt sorry for the lady because she actually talked to me about deleting a picture, but by the time she got to me, all those other pictures were taken, and that shows you the hypocrisy,’ Braun said Saturday. 

He added that Border Patrol officials inside the shelter also urged the Republicans not to snap any images. 

‘They were telling us that because they had to,’ Braun claimed. 

Despite promising ‘transparency’, Biden officials have refused to let journalists into the overcrowded Donna facility -as criticism surrounding the border crisis continues to grow. 

However, the Republicans refused to abide by the requests, instead sharing their images to social media.  

‘None of us would have gone down there if we were going to be muzzled,’Braun claimed.  

Republican senators say Biden officials urged them to delete photos they took of an overcrowded migrant facility they toured at the southern border on Friday. Members of the group are seen in Texas on Friday

Republican senators say Biden officials urged them to delete photos they took of an overcrowded migrant facility they toured at the southern border on Friday. Members of the group are seen in Texas on Friday 

the Republicans refused to abide by the requests, instead sharing their images to social media.

the Republicans refused to abide by the requests, instead sharing their images to social media.

Despite promising 'transparency', Biden officials have refused to let journalists into the overcrowded Donna facility - particularly as criticism surrounding the border crisis continues to grow

Despite promising ‘transparency’, Biden officials have refused to let journalists into the overcrowded Donna facility – particularly as criticism surrounding the border crisis continues to grow

The senators said that 'pods' at Donna designed to hold 80 children are packed with more than 700

The senators said that ‘pods’ at Donna designed to hold 80 children are packed with more than 700

Ted Cruz tweeted photos from his tour of an overcrowded shelter for migrant teens in Donna, Texas; he toured the shelter with fellow Republican senators

Ted Cruz tweeted photos from his tour of an overcrowded shelter for migrant teens in Donna, Texas; he toured the shelter with fellow Republican senators

Cruz posted another pic from his tour; he's blasted the Biden administration for its border policy, saying it's led to a surge in migrants

Cruz posted another pic from his tour; he’s blasted the Biden administration for its border policy, saying it’s led to a surge in migrants

Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma and others shared heartbreaking images of a severely overcrowded holding facility in Donna, Texas, where Lankford said that ‘pods’ designed to hold 80 children are packed with more than 700.

‘I know why President Biden doesn’t want the media to be here — because we do have an open border,’Lankford stated on Friday.  

‘If you were an unaccompanied minor, you were sent over to the Donna facility, which we went over and visited. That facility is designed for 80 people in a pod, and they had 709 people… literally wall to wall in every one of the little plexiglass cells that they have, and people flooding out into the hallway,’ Lankford said. 

On Thursday alone, approximately 6,000 adults and children were apprehended along the southern border, according to a senior official — far more than during the busiest months of the Trump administration in 2019.

Biden has insisted that his policies are not responsible for the huge surge of illegal crossings at the border, and said that he is planning to open huge new facilities to house and process migrants.

‘I’ve been working from the moment this started to happen to try to find additional access for children to be able to safely — not just children, but particularly children — to be able to safely be housed while we follow through on the rest of what’s happening,’ Biden said at a press conference on Thursday.

'That facility is designed for 80 people in a pod, and they had 709 people... literally wall to wall in every one of the little plexiglass cells that they have, and people flooding out into the hallway,' Senator Lankford said

‘That facility is designed for 80 people in a pod, and they had 709 people… literally wall to wall in every one of the little plexiglass cells that they have, and people flooding out into the hallway,’ Senator Lankford said

The Biden administration has not let reporters in the facility in Donna, Texas, but has let in lawmakers like Ted Cruz, who shared images such as the one above of children being held there

The Biden administration has not let reporters in the facility in Donna, Texas, but has let in lawmakers like Ted Cruz, who shared images such as the one above of children being held there

But Cruz and the other Republicans slammed conditions at the Donna facility as ‘inhumane’ and said the crisis would not end without stronger enforcement at the border and swift removal of those who cross illegally.

‘All of us today witnessed the Biden cages. What is occurring here on the border is heartbreaking, and it is a tragedy,’ Cruz said. 

‘The Biden administration is taking people who are testing positive for COVID-19 and locking them in cages side by side. This is inhumane,’ Cruz said. ‘There was no six foot space, there was no three foot space, there wasn’t even a three inch space between children lined up one, after the other, after the other.’

Cruz said that 10 percent of the current population of the Donna facility currently tests positive for COVID-19. 

‘It is wrong, and it is the direct consequence of policy decisions by the Biden administration to stop building the wall, to return to catch-and-release and to end the stay in Mexico policy.’ 

Cruz said that the Biden administration had rejected his request to allow press representatives to accompany the delegation in the Donna facility — and pointed out that both the Trump and Obama administrations had allowed such media access. 

‘The Biden administration wants to hide what is going on here,’ Cruz said. ‘The American people have a right to know what is happening here.’ 

‘This is a man-made crisis. It was avoidable, it was preventable, and regardless of your party if you’re a Republican or a Democrat you should look at what is going on here and say enough is enough, this must stop,’ he added.

The White House has said media will be allowed facilities being run by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol but has not said when. A TV camera crew was allowed in a different facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas, where children are being held in better conditions.

‘I will commit to transparency, and — as soon as I am in a position to be able to implement what we are doing right now,’ Biden said Thursday. Asked when that would be, he responded: ‘I don’t know, to be clear.’ 

Illegal border crossing is on pace to surpass recent records and could reach a 20 year high, officials said

Illegal border crossing is on pace to surpass recent records and could reach a 20 year high, officials said

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (red shirt) stand aboard a Texas Department of Public Safety boat for a tour of part of the Rio Grande on Friday. Local agencies such as DPS are assisting overwhelmed Border Patrol

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (red shirt) stand aboard a Texas Department of Public Safety boat for a tour of part of the Rio Grande on Friday. Local agencies such as DPS are assisting overwhelmed Border Patrol

On Thursday night, Cruz posted videos showing him on the bank of the Rio Grande in the dark, surrounded by tall grass or weeds, watching what he claims were smugglers trying to get migrants across the water and into the U.S.

The 19 Republican Senators on Tour

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas 

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.

Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La.

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.

‘That’s Mexico right over there, and you can see there are three smugglers right there,’ Cruz is heard saying in the video, ‘standing on the Mexico side looking at us.’

He also said those smugglers were taunting the senators on the U.S. side. The footage is hard to see, showing grass and the dark river with a few flashes of light. Cruz said those were the smugglers’ flashlights.

He posted another dramatic video, describing it as ‘live footage from the banks of the Rio Grande,’ that showed him standing on the river’s edge, giving a report on what he and the Republicans saw on their midnight march. 

‘So it’s past midnight and I’m  standing on the shore of the Rio Grande, the water is right behind me down. I’m down on the Texas border along with 18 senators, we made the trip to see the crisis that is playing out,’ Cruz said as he stood in the weeds on the shoreline.

Dogs could be heard barking in the background as he spoke. 

‘On the other side of the river is Mexico,’ Cruz noted. ‘The other side of the river we have been listening to and seeing cartel members, human traffickers right on the other side of the river, waving flashlights yelling and taunting Americans, taunting the Border Patrol, because they know that under the current policy the Biden administration, they can flood over here.’ 

Cruz was joined by fellow Texas Senator John Cornyn, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, Maine Senator Susan Collins, and others in his travels. 

Cornyn posted a photo of the group of lawmakers after their tour, writing ‘Before we began our full day of touring critical areas around the southern border, the Senators I brought down to Texas wanted to thank the @CBPRGV midnight patrol for all the hard work they are doing to keep our nation safe amidst this crisis.’

And the Senate Republicans official Twitter account posted photos and an update from the expedition: ‘1:00AM on our southern border. 18 Senators are here with Border Patrol on their night shift. We saw the massive influx of migrant crossings. Countless women + children. We were heckled by cartels. This is a humanitarian crisis. And Joe Biden needs to address it immediately.’

Beto O’Rourke, the former Democratic congressman who lives in El Paso and lost his bid to unseat Cruz, retweeted it with a mocking reply: ‘THANK GOD YOU SURVIVED THE HECKLING!’ 

Democrats, who have blamed the Trump administration for problems at the border, blasted the trip as a ‘political stunt.’

‘In a desperate attempt to mislead the country, world-renowned political clown Ted Cruz and his hapless sidekick John Cornyn are bringing their show on the road with their latest political stunt,’ the Democratic National Committee said in a statement on Friday.

‘If there’s one thing Ted Cruz knows how to do, it is to disingenuously grandstand for TV cameras. President Biden took more action to address immigration issues in one day than Senate Republicans have in the last four years. If Senator Cruz and his colleagues were serious, they’d be in Washington working with President Biden to be a part of the solution,’ said DNC spokesperson Eduardo Silva. 

source: dailymail.co.uk