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Tags: Biden Administration | Immigration | lindsey graham | henry cuellar | letter | border czar

Sen. Graham, Rep. Cuellar Make Bipartisan Plea for Border Czar Appointment

lindsey graham speaks at press conference
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., during a news conference at the U.S. Captiol on July 21, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 30 July 2021 12:53 PM

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, have asked President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to appoint a person charged with ensuring "sufficient federal resources" are allocated at the southern border.

In a bipartisan letter written "with a sense of urgency" on Friday, Graham and Cuellar said the surge of migrants and the increasing threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant require federal help to assist "overburdened U.S. border communities."

"We request that you immediately create a special executive position vested with the authority to implement federal policies which prioritize the health and safety of U.S. communities at the southern border," Graham and Cuellar said in the letter.

The two lawmakers suggested former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson for the recommended position.

"[Johnson] carries an exceptional bipartisan reputation for pragmatic approaches to complex border security and immigration challenges," the letter read.

"In 2014, he coordinated a thoughtful U.S. response to a migration influx event and prioritized certain eligible cases for immediate removal. He also established innovative public health protocols which minimized risks to Americans from foreign travelers during the largest Ebola epidemic in history.

"We strongly support the appointment of someone with the unique credentials of former Secretary Johnson to this position."

Appointed by former President Barack Obama, Johnson served as DHS secretary from Dec. 23, 2013 to Jan. 20, 2017, when President Donald Trump took office.

The letter by Graham and Cuellar said that DHS facilities and personnel are "overwhelmed" by a border crisis that "is neither seasonal nor temporary."

The two lawmakers pointed out that U.S. Customs and Border Protection in June recorded 188,829 enforcement encounters at the southwest border, the highest monthly total in a decade. That was a 571% year-over-year increase.

The letter also said Border Patrol agents are "testing positive for COVID-19 at alarming rates."

"Widespread reports from U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement {"ICE") have confirmed that they are beyond departmental capacity, requiring the release of approximately 50,000 migrants into U.S. communities without any court order," Graham and Cuellar said.

"The situation on the border will worsen unless we enact policies that will end the surge and fix our broken immigration system."

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Politics
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, have asked President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to appoint a person charged with ensuring "sufficient federal resources" are allocated at the southern border.
lindsey graham, henry cuellar, letter, border czar
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2021-53-30
Friday, 30 July 2021 12:53 PM
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