Mexico's drug cartels are "looking at America and laughing" during the outcry of children being separated at the United States border, as it can't be taken for granted that all the children are arriving with their real parents, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Friday.
"America understands we have to have a secure border," Patrick told Fox News' "America's Newsroom."
"They're coming in waves. I heard someone from the White House the other day say we can't detain them or separate them or prosecute them or deport them. So, what are we supposed to do? Open the door and that's what the left wants."
Patrick noted that he's been at the border many times, and "these children and teenagers that we're talking about, over 70 percent came here on their own; 40,000 this year by themselves. You can't accept that these are the real parents."
Drug cartels, he continued, "control the border and make as much money or a lot of money by smuggling people as much as they do drugs. So they'll send these families in, extort a lot of money and send these families in to take up a lot of Border Patrol, and they smuggle the drugs in the other direction or through the other people paying them more."
And that, he said, means the cartels are "looking at America and laughing. The president is right on this. No one wanted to separate these kids. He followed the law. [Barack] Obama did the same thing. That's in the past. We need to move forward."
Patrick praised First Lady Melania Trump for her visit to the border on Thursday, saying it shows the first family does care about the immigrants.
"I don't know Melania," he said. "I know the president very well. They care about these kids. I thought it was a powerful message for her to come."
Patrick said that it does bother him when he hears someone from the left saying there are 11 million people in the United States illegally, as those are numbers from 2004.
"We apprehend from Brownsville to San Diego, and Texas has 2/3 of the apprehensions, 400,000 people every year over the last five years, on average," Patrick said.
"We're down this year. The high mark was in 2014. We think -- no one knows for sure. We think we get one out of every five. That means a million to a million-half take the low or high number get in every year. Since 2004, if the number was 11 million then we're somewhere around 25 or 30 million."
Patrick added that he's blamed both parties for a long time over the issue.
"Republicans had a chance around 2005-2006," he said. "Obama had a chance and didn't get it done. Today the Democrats are clearly the obstructionists. [Senate Minority Leader] Charles Schumer says I won't vote on any bill.
"When [House Minority Leader Nancy] Pelosi says I'm not negotiating, well then, we aren't going to make any progress. Now it's up to the Republicans to do it on their own."
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