Democrat Henry Cuellar: 'No, the Border Is Not Secure'; 'Over 5 Million Individuals in Just 2 Years'

Susan Jones | October 24, 2022 | 5:44am EDT
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The feet of migrants are covered in dirt after they illegally crossed the US southern border with Mexico on October 9, 2022 in Eagle Pass, Texas. (Photo by ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images)
The feet of migrants are covered in dirt after they illegally crossed the US southern border with Mexico on October 9, 2022 in Eagle Pass, Texas. (Photo by ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, says the border is not secure, and he says he warned the Biden administration that this could happen.

"You know, first of all, no, the border is not secure," Cuellar told "Fox News Sunday."

"When you have 1.7 million individuals last year, and now another 2.7 (million), that's over 4.5 million individuals encountered at the border, plus the - if you add the getaways, that's going to be over 5 million individuals in just two years. No, the border is secure -- it's not secured, and we've got to make sure that we have repercussions there.

"Look, I - I've talked to the administration a week before the December -- this was in December of 2020, and I started telling the transition team in December of 2020, this is what's going to be happening. You all have to be ready.

"And if we don't have repercussion -- we can be compassionate at the border, but you've got to enforce the law. And if you don't return people, then this is what you're going to have.

"I saw the numbers from the Venezuelans that have dropped...I actually want them to do that to every country. If we do that to every country (send illegal border-crossers back), the numbers will go down. We will be able to control our borders. And that's important to us that live along the border."

Since Joe Biden became president, there have been 3,817,230 attempted illegal crossings at the southwest border, according to Customs and Border protection data, as the chart below shows. (Biden took office in January 2021, so the Biden tally starts in February 2021 and runs through September 2022.)

(Data source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
(Data source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Host Shannon Bream said it looks like the Biden administration is doing what President Donald Trump was criticized for -- that is, requiring Venezuelans to enter the country through a new legal pathway -- or be deported.

Cuellar agreed:

"And if you look at what they're doing with the Venezuelans, doesn't that sound familiar, like the MPP; that is, you wait outside before you come in, or you go through a port of entry. And notice that it's the same thing in many ways, it's the same concept.

"And I've always said that, look, we can spend all the defense on the one yard line called the U.S./Mexico border, but if we don't go to their 20-yard line, work with Guatemala, work with Mexico and -- and get them engaged so they can stop those folks from coming in, then they're just going to be at our door steps and we've got to make sure that we understand the importance of securing our border."

Cuellar describes himself as a "conservative Democrat."

Unlike some in his party, he supports domestic oil and gas drilling as a way to curb inflation:

"To help reduce the prices that we have right now, we got to focus on one of the biggest drivers, and that's oil and gas.

"I support the oil and gas industry because, in - in - in my place, my district, there is 40,000 jobs. We lower the prices of - of oil and gas. I was the one that passed -- helped pass the ban on oil exports. So, we created more jobs here. We want to see domestic drilling here in the United States. You lower the price of petroleum, it lowers the price of fertilizer, it lowers the price of so many things that has an impact on our goods.

"So, that's what I've been focused on, what I can control. And that is having domestic drilling here in the state of Texas or in the United States."

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