Texas Senator John Cornyn takes heat after tweeting quote about President Biden preferring ‘humane’ treatment of migrants to stopping immigration


U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, attends the Texas Boys State youth leadership conference in Austin on June 14, 2019. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn trended nationally on Twitter Monday morning, after tweeting a quote from The New York Times saying that instead of stopping illegal immigration, President Joe Biden has “emphasized the humane treatment of immigrants, regardless of their legal status.”

Cornyn representatives have explained the Senator was merely quoting the article, though it appears many took the tweet at face value.

Cornyn said that while former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama advocated for clamping down on illegal immigration, Biden “incentivizes” it. Many Republicans are pointing the finger at the Biden administration, saying the recent surge of asylum-seeking unaccompanied minors at the border is a result of lax policies.

While some praised the statement, most others seemed to wonder what was wrong with treating anyone humanely.

“Republican is upset that the president treats people humanely,” said MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin.

“That’s insane!! Humane treatment?!? What’s next human rights?!?! Let’s storm the Capitol with some racists!!” Condé Nast Legal Affairs Editor Luke Zaleski responded.

Cornyn claimed that several Democrats are unhappy with Biden’s policies, saying State Rep. Henry Cuellar said the policies send a “terrible message.” Despite this, on March 18, Cuellar announced he would be voting for to approve the Dream Act — bipartisan legislation that allows a path to citizenship.

“I co-sponsored the American Dream and Promise Act to support Dreamers who are American in every way except on paper. Today I am voting on this critical legislation to provide much-needed relief for the millions of undocumented individuals who call the U.S. home,” Cuellar said.

Meanwhile, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has condemned the state’s need for overflow facilities to house the migrants, saying the need for more and more sites would only increase.

He said that for the time being, the state would do what it can to accommodate new arrivals, but that the onus for long-term solutions ultimately belongs to the White House.

“Texas is willing to step up and help out,” Abbott said. “But this is the Biden administration’s responsibility… the Biden administration has made it clear that if you are an unaccompanied child, you will be allowed to come into the United States.”

In the past weeks, two new overflow facilities were announced in the state: the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas and the soon-to-be-opened Target Lodge Pecos North ICF facility in West Texas. The Hutchison Center took in 3,000 teenage boys last week, while the Pecos site’s expected to initially house 500 youths, but may have the ability to house up to 2,000 eventually.

Over the weekend, there were a reported 5,049 unaccompanied minors and a total of 9,830 immigrants of all ages in Border Patrol custody. According to Abbott, 11,000 minors have been apprehended crossing the border into Texas so far this year — he also claimed there had been a 60% increase from January (which was under the Trump administration) to February.

A recent CNN report explained that on the whole, children are spending an average of five days at facilities and at least 500 have been in custody longer than 10 days. That’s despite the law stating unaccompanied minors should be processed and sent to HHS shelters within 72 hours.

The governor also accused President Joe Biden of “importing COVID into our country” via migrants, despite CNN reporting that Texas had not approved a federal grant that would have funded testing for migrants in Border Patrol custody. The governor confirmed the denial of funds, saying Texas would “not aid a program that makes our country a magnet for illegal immigration.”

Are Biden policies to blame?

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN over the weekend that border policies crumbled under the Trump administration and what’s happening now is the result.

“The entire system was dismantled by the prior administration,” Mayorkas said. “There was a system in place in both Republican and Democratic administrations that was torn down during the Trump administration.”

Since taking office, President Biden has reversed several Trump policies, including funding for the US-Mexico border wall and implementing protections for asylum seekers forced to wait in Mexico while awaiting hearings.

But while Biden is taking a softer approach in dealing with migrants, Mayorkas nonetheless says the administration’s stance is: “Do not come.”

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