WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) visited the southern border to get a firsthand look at the humanitarian and national security crisis created by the Biden administration’s open border policies.
Sen. Blackburn tours border, says crisis ‘cannot continue’ as she calls on Biden admin to step up
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., saw firsthand the situation on the southern border on Friday, and called on the Biden administration to take action.
"That this cannot continue" Blackburn told Fox News during a night tour of the border, when asked what her takeaway was from what she had seen. "That you have to find a way to secure this southern border, our nation’s security and our sovereignty depends on getting this issue solved."
The Tennessee lawmaker said that the crisis at the border was the number one issue for her constituents, particularly the human trafficking, sex trafficking, drug trafficking and other effects that it has on non-border states.
"Because [President] Biden will not secure this border, every town is a border town, every state is a border state and Tennesseans are very concerned about this," she told Fox, as gunshots rang out behind her from the Mexican side of the border.
Earlier in the day, Blackburn received a briefing from Texas Department of Public Safety officials, who have seen pursuits of vehicles filled with illegal immigrants increase by as much as 1,000% in some areas over the same period last year, as well as a significant haul of illegal drugs coming across the border. Border Patrol has apprehended 1.1 million illegal migrants in the state of Texas alone, DPS officials said.
Blackburn also toured a riverine in South Texas, viewed unfinished parts of the border wall and met with sheriffs, as well as ranchers who had been affected by the surge of illegal migrants coming across the border.
Ranchers showed the senator how their fences had been destroyed and outlined the enormous costs of repairing them left up to them, along with the cost of rounding their cattle back up and losing crops.
"This is something they have to deal with, they've done nothing wrong, it is just that their ranches and farms are close to the border," she said.
While the Biden administration has sought to put the blame for the surge on the Trump administration and root causes like poverty, corruption and violence in Central America, the ranchers and others pinned the blame on the Biden administration's policies -- and asked why they have not heard from top officials like Vice President Kamala Harris.
"Where’s Kamala? Where in the hell is she?" one rancher asked. "How come she didn’t come down here?"
Blackburn also spent time talking to Border Patrol members, a number of whom said that finishing the border wall, re-instating the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and ending "catch-and-release" are key moves that would stop the surge that has seen more than 200,000 encounters in July and August.
"They also want to make certain Title 42 stays," she said, referring to the Trump-era order that allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "They are very concerned about the healthcare implications."
However, any hope that the Biden administration would change course on the wall was snuffed out as the Department of Homeland Security announced Friday that it was canceling even more border wall contracts in Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley.
Blackburn told Fox how, in addition to the restoration of Trump-era border policies, she also backed stiffer penalties for smugglers and drug traffickers, including that those who engage in such activities be barred from receiving taxpayer-funded welfare.
"One thing that was quite remarkable to me was how many of these smugglers and drug runners live in government housing, they get government benefits, and their side hustle is working as a smuggler, drug mule or a trafficker -- and when you apprehend someone they should immediately lose all those benefits," she said.
But on the night tour of the border, which Fox News also attended, Border Patrol agents encountered a number of groups of migrant family units making their way to the nearest border station, some with very small children. Border Patrol have put up laminated signs pointing toward the processing stations so migrants don't get lost.
Those migrants, agents warned, could be released into the U.S. interior as soon as that night or the following morning if they were not eligible to be removed under Title 42.
- Blackburn Visits Southern Border Amid Heightened Crisis
- View Photos Of Senator Blackburn’s Border Trip HERE
- View B-Roll Of Senator Blackburn’s Border Trip HERE